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Biographical entry Stening, Malcolm James Lees (1912 - 2014)

OAM 2009; MB BS Sydney 1935; FRCS 1940; FRACS 1943; VRD 1946; FRCOG 1950; MD.

17 August 1912
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
28 July 2014
Obstetric and gynaecological surgeon


Malcolm Stening was an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Sydney, Australia. He was born in Sydney on 17 August 1912, the third son of George Smith Stening, a dairy expert, and Muriel Grafton Stening née Lees, the daughter of a printer who was also mayor of Sydney. Stening was educated at Sydney Boys' High School and then studied medicine at Sydney University, qualifying in 1935 with the Harry J Clayton memorial prize for medicine and clinical medicine. While a medical student, he played hockey for Australia on a 1934 tour of New Zealand.

When the Second World War broke out, Stening was studying in London. He gained his FRCS in 1940 and joined the Royal Navy. He served in hospitals in Portsmouth and Devon, and was then a surgeon lieutenant on the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and later a senior medical officer on the British battleship HMS Howe. He saw action in many sea battles, including the Battle of the Coral Sea in the Pacific. After the war, he continued in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve and was promoted to surgeon commander.

On his return to Sydney, he became a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at King George V Memorial Hospital. He retired in 1971. He was a member of the court of examiners of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In 2009, he was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia.

He wrote Cancer and related lesions of the vulva (Lancaster, MTP Press, 1980) and several books about his wartime experiences, including The class of 35 at war (Naval Historical Society of Australia, Garden Island, New South Wales, 2002) and Doctors at war (2010), revised as Memoirs of doctors at war in 2012.

In 1943, he married Winifred (Winsome) Roche. They had a son, Malcolm, who predeceased his father in 2002. After his first wife's death, in 1960 he married Yvonne Wise and adopted her daughter, Wendie-Sue. Stening died on 28 July 2014 aged 101. He was survived by his daughter and five grandchildren.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Sydney Morning Herald 9 March 2015 - accessed 28 February 2018; The Royal Australasian Army Medical Corps' official quarterly magazine summer 2014 - accessed 28 February 2018].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England