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Biographical entry Hirschfeld, Franz Konrad Saddler (1904 - 1987)

CBE 1978; MRCS 1929; FRCS 1932; BA Oxford 1930; MA 1949; FRACS 1948; LRCP 1929.

26 April 1904
Brisbane, Australia
10 March 1987
General surgeon and Thoracic surgeon


Franz Konrad Saddler Hirschfeld was born on 26 April 1904 in Brisbane, son of Dr Eugen Hirschfeld, a graduate of Strasbourg University, who emigrated to Australia in 1890, to become the first honorary bacteriologist to the Royal Brisbane Hospital and later honorary physician. Konrad was educated at Normal School and then at Brisbane Grammar School. He went to the University of Queensland with an open scholarship, then to Melbourne where he obtained first class honours in anatomy in 1926 and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in the following year. He graduated from Oxford in 1930 with first class honours in physiology and the Gotch Memorial Prize.

In 1931 he was house surgeon at the London Hospital and obtained his FRCS in 1932. He was surgical registrar and first assistant at the London, working with Henry Souttar, James Walton and Hugh Cairns. He went on to spend 18 months at the Brompton Hospital with Tudor Edwards and Price Thomas. He was appointed junior surgeon to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1938 with special interest in thoracic surgery and continued there until his retirement in 1964. Between 1941 and 1946 he served as specialist in the Australian Imperial Force.

He was a formidable and colourful character and a hard taskmaster. He pioneered thoracic surgery in Queensland and performed the first successful pneumonectomy and oesophagectomy in the State. He held many posts in the University and the Australian Thoracic Society. He was active in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and in examining. In recognition of these services he was made a Life Governor of the Australian Postgraduate Medical Federation, Fellow of the Australian Medical Association, CBE (1978) and honorary doctorate of surgery (1982).

His other interests included rowing - for the Universities of Queensland, Melbourne and New College, Oxford. He was a keen student of medical history and the Medical History Museum at Queensland Medical School, of which he was curator, housed one of the finest collections of old surgical instruments and medical equipment in Australia. While in the Army he became an expert on military footwear and from 1958 to 1962 he was the official advisor on footwear to the Pacific Island Regiment. He listed his hobbies as chutney-making (for which he won prizes) and reading. He was unpretentious, with an enquiring mind and an utterly honourable man. In 1939 he married Brigid Cooney and they had four daughters, Mary, Geraldine, Brigid and Roisin. The eldest, Mary, is a medical practitioner. He died on 10 March 1987 aged 82.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1987, 147, 516-7].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England