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Biographical entry McNamara, John William (1912 - 1986)

OBE 1980; MRCS and FRCS 1946; MB,BS Sydney 1936; FRACS 1948.

29 October 1912
15 February 1986


John McNamara was born in Melbourne, Australia, on 29 October 1912, a son of Mathew, an accountant, and Alice (née Gunning). His brother Matthew, also a doctor, died in 1942 while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. John was educated at the Jesuit Colleges of St Patrick and Xavier and at St Vincent's Hospital, University of Sydney, qualifying in 1936. After house posts at St Vincent's he served (1940-1947) as Captain AAMC in the Libyan campaign at Tobruk and Benghazi before going to Greece. He volunteered to remain with the wounded and so was taken prisoner and was in various prison camps until liberated by the Russians in 1945. On leave in the UK he studied for and passed FRCS 1946 and then returned to the resumption of his long and devoted association with St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, as urologist until 1986, and he was also urologist to Prince Henry Hospital from 1962. He was a St Vincent's man through and through, and served the board from its inception by the Sisters of Charity in 1954; he was intimately involved in many of the appeals and developments there and in the Sacred Heart Hospice, Sydney. He was awarded the OBE in 1980. He had a range of interests including horseracing and farming, buying a 600 acre sheep and cattle farm at Oberon, NSW in 1969 with the help of his two sons.

On 29 October 1949 he married Molly McDonald, a social worker, and in doing so acquired a father-in-law who was one-time Chancellor, University of Sydney and President RACP, and two brothers-in-law, a consultant physician and a paediatrician in Sydney. He had two sons, Matthew Joseph and John Gerard, both qualified in medicine, and four daughters, Frances, Jane, Mary Dympna and Elizabeth, a nurse.

He died on 15 February 1986 after a long illness which he bore with much fortitude.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1986, 145, 478].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England