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Biographical entry Rowlands, Eustace Alwynne (1905 - 1986)

OBE; VRD; MRCS and FRCS 1934; MB BS Melbourne; FRACS 1938.

19 July 1905
Launceston, Tasmania
8 February 1986
Anatomist and General surgeon


Alwynne Rowlands was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 19 July 1905 and after attending the Launceston Church of England Grammer School he entered Melbourne University from which he graduated MB, BS in 1930. After resident posts at the Alfred Hospital he came to England where he was resident surgical officer at the Salford Royal Hospital, the Royal Masonic Hospital and St Mary's Hospital, London. He was registrar to Sir Geoffrey Jefferson and to Victor Bonney.

On his return he was appointed senior lecturer in histology and embryology in the University of Melbourne and in 1938 obtained the FRACS. In 1938 and 1939 he was acting Professor of Anatomy. In 1923 he had joined the Royal Australian Naval Reserve as a Midshipman and was promoted Lieutenant in 1927 and in 1934 as Surgeon Lieutenant. He was mobilised on the outbreak of war and saw service in HMAS Perth in the Mediterranean at the battle of Cape Matapan and in the evacuations of Greece and Crete. He was transferred to the Pacific, being appointed as the medical equipment officer to the Australian, British and Dutch Pacific Fleets. He was demobilised as a Surgeon Commander but continued in the RANR until retirement as Surgeon Captain. For his services to the navy he was awarded the OBE and the VRD.

In 1946 he was appointed inpatient surgeon to the Alfred Hospital and consultant surgeon to the Repatriation Hospital. He was known as a dextrous and gentle surgeon making full use of his pre-war experience when Professor of Anatomy. He was renowned for his loyalty to his junior staff whom he asssisted and encouraged in every way possible.

In 1964 he was elected to Melbourne City Council and from 1971 to 1972 was Lord Mayor of Melbourne. He was a member of the Council of the University from 1965 to 1975. He also served on the boards of many hospitals and medical and dental institutes in and around the city in addition being a director of several companies.

He first met his wife "in bed" - she was one of the sisters who nursed him after an operation! They were married in 1928 and Nell was not only a wonderful wife and mother to his son and two daughters but a magnificent theatre sister who assisted him in all his private operations.

He died on 8 February 1986, survived by his wife and children.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England