Royal Reels: Gambling


Balcombe Quick was a general and plastic surgeon associated with the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne for 57 years. He was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 12 May 1883 and died 5 September 1969. This one penny red swan postcard was sent to him when he was a medical student at Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Victoria, from which he graduated MB (Medicine) in 1904 and BS (Surgery) in 1905. Although the duplex postmark on the stamp is illegible, the fine SHIP MAIL ROOM/ 1/ AP 18/ 01/ PERTH.WA clearly shows it was sent in 1901(Figure 1).

After graduation he was a resident medical officer at the Alfred Hospital, and he left Melbourne to do postgraduate surgical training in London. On returning to the Alfred Hospital he was an outpatient honorary surgeon from 1912-1914, but he enlisted in the Australian Army Medical Corps (1914-19) and was awarded the DSO in 1918. He returned to the Alfred Hospital as an in-patient surgeon in 1919; he was appointed Dean of the clinical school from 1938-45, as well as a member of the board of management 1934-62, of which he was the vice president in 1958-60, and he was a consultant from 1945 until his retirement.

He held other positions as a board member of the famous Baker Medical Research Institute, Melbourne from 1942-65, a visiting surgeon to the Caulfield Repatriation Hospital and was Stewart lecturer in Surgery, at the University of Melbourne. He was a Foundation fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1927 (before it won the Royal designation), and was a council member of that College from 1933-48. Outside of his surgical practice he was a member of the governing committee of Wilson’s Promontory National Park.

In spite of his many surgical accomplishments and the fine Ship Mail Room, Perth postmark, I must confess that the accompanying wedding photograph of his bride and three attendants, (produced in April 12, 1907, when Balcombe Quick was one month short of his 24th birthday) prompted me to produce this short paper (Figure 2).

Surely an example of a gentler time, if not of present-day wedding glamour!

Categories: Health Sciences