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Biographical entry Miller, Sir Ian Douglas (1900 - 1996)

Kt 1961; MRCS and FRCS 1929; MB Sydney 1924; FRACS 1930.

20 July 1900
Sydney, Australia
January 1996


Ian Douglas Miller was born on 20 July 1900 in Sydney, the son of Joseph Jolin Miller, a doctor, and Ann Clare, née Doolan. He was educated at Xavier College in Melbourne, before entering Sydney University for his medical training. After graduating with honours he was appointed resident medical officer at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney and was greatly influenced by Sir Alexander MacCormick when he became his first assistant from 1925 until 1931.

He travelled to London in 1926 for further surgical training at Guy's Hospital, and became resident surgical officer at Woolwich War Memorial Hospital. He obtained the FRCS in 1929 and returned to Sydney, where he developed a reputation for teaching and was asked to become the dean of the clinical school in 1930, a post he held for the next thirty-three years.

In 1930 he became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, but returned to England in 1934 because he had decided to specialize in neurosurgery and was appointed to work with Sir Hugh Cairns in Oxford. On his return to Sydney he soon became a leading light in neurosurgery not only in that city, but in the whole of Australia. His reputation continued to impress many surgeons throughout Asia, and soon he was appointed to other hospitals in Sydney, and became a lecturer in the surgical and anatomy departments of Sydney University.

He saw war service in the Allied Invasion Front in the Western Desert and developed a strong team with R S Lawson. On his return to Sydney he proceeded on lecture tours to India, Singapore and Malaysia. He was much in demand, and undertook to support the teaching role in those countries to the extent of being an external examiner. He had a natural gift for speaking in public, and was much admired for his conscientious attitude and superb skills as a neurosurgeon. He was awarded a Knighthood in 1961 and an Honorary D Litt of the University of Singapore in 1973. He was President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons from 1957 to 1959, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1980. He was also on the editorial committee of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery.

In 1938 he married Phyllis, née Mort, and they had three sons, one of whom became a doctor, and two daughters. He died in January 1996.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Aust N Z Surg 1974 44 211-214].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England