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Biographical entry McEachern, Alistair Campbell (1904 - 1989)

MRCS and FRCS 1935; MB BS Adelaide 1926; MS 1948; FRCS Ed 1930; FRACS 1939; Hon FFARACS 1976.

30 June 1904
Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia
6 May 1989
General surgeon and Urologist


Alistair Campbell McEachern was born on 30 June 1904 at Mt Gambier, South Australia. He was the son of Alexander McLean McEachern, a grazier and his wife, Catherine Jane, née McFarlane. He was educated at Mt Gambier High School and entered the Adelaide High School with the Thomas Price Scholarship in 1920.

At the Adelaide School of Medicine he won the Davies Thomas Prize and the Everard Scholarship and qualified MB, BS in 1926. There he fell under the spell of Frederic Wood Jones. He came to England to read for the FRCS and was resident medical officer at King George Hospital, Ilford, from 1930 to 1933.

On return to Adelaide he became assistant surgeon to the Adelaide Children's Hospital from 1937 to 1947 - an appointment which was interrupted by the war. He served with the 2nd AIF from 1941 to 1946 as Lieutenant-Colonel, RAAMC, and was Officer-in-Charge Surgical Division in three general hospitals. He was posted to Ceylon and North Queensland. He was appointed to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 1946 where he served on the Board of Governors, and was active in the affairs of the RACS, as a member of Council 1961-1973, Senior Vice-President 1971-3; on their Court of Examiners (1954-1971) and Chairman (1963-1971). He was the Anstey Giles lecturer in 1974. The Royal College of Surgeons appointed him Hunterian Professor in 1957 when he was invited to become a member of the Court of Examiners.

He wrote extensively on general surgery and urology and was on the editorial committees of the British journal of surgery and the Australian and New Zealand journal of surgery. Perhaps it was his Hunterian lecture entitled "Towards Safety in Prostatectomy" which made him most known to his contemporaries and juniors: in its day it was a landmark. His hobbies were photography, painting and ornithology.

He married Dr Rita Margaret McAnaney in 1930 and they had three daughters, Heather, who became a social worker, and Jean and Margaret who were physiotherapists.

He died on 6 May 1989 at the age of 85 survived by his family which by then included a grandson Dr Michael Eaton who was studying to become a surgeon and a granddaughter Dr Susanna Proudman who was attending a physician training programme.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from his daughter Mrs Heather Eaton].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England