Vol. 19 No 1 | Autumn 2017
College -> Obituaries
Obituary: Dr Stafford Northcote MacLennan

This article is 7 years old and may no longer reflect current clinical practice.

Dr Stafford Northcote MacLennan

(1921 – 2015)

Stafford Northcote MacLennan was born on 14 June 1921, in Hertfordshire, UK. He left school in 1939, aged 18, just as the UK was about to enter war with Germany.

Following a period of time working voluntarily on farms, Stafford joined the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman, initially on destroyers. After working as an Able Seaman, he received a commission and volunteered to go on the Dutch submarines in the Far East and Asia.

After six years of military service, Stafford left the Royal Navy to study medicine at the London Hospital in London’s East End. Qualifying as a doctor in 1952, he spent around 18 months as a junior doctor in various hospitals while completing his practical training. Stafford then joined the British Colonial Service as a doctor, serving in Semporna, North Borneo.

He served for three years in Borneo before returning to England where he worked as a ship’s surgeon for approximately 18 months. It was during this this time that he met his wife, Mary.

Stafford subsequently obtained a position as a Medical Officer for Caltex Pacific and was posted to Sumatra, where Mary accompanied him. He served in this capacity for a number of years.

Following his retirement from Caltex Pacific, Stafford and Mary returned to the UK. From there the couple relocated to Brisbane, where Stafford served two different locum positions before moving to Darwin. In Darwin, he established his own practice in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Christmas Eve 1974 was a challenging time for the couple: Cyclone Tracey swept through Darwin, destroying their home. Stafford and Mary spent some time in Adelaide before returning to Darwin to rebuild their house and his practice. Stafford continued his obstetrics practice for a few more years before retiring.

Following his retirement, Stafford moved to Queensland where he and Mary lived at Clifton Beach. The couple later moved to Cairns and travelled extensively during their early retirement, enjoying the company of their many friends.

Stafford died in May 2015, one year after his wife, aged 93. He is survived by a cousin.


Lale Stephanie Paika

Dr Stafford was one of my late father’s (Dr Raphael Paika) very good friends. On our trips to Australia, we would definately stop in Cairns to visit and have lunch or dinner with Stafford and Mary. My father made sure he brought with him PNG made coffee to gift his friend Stafford. They were like family to us as kids because they didn’t have any of their own. Very beautiful couple. Sad to hear of their passing.

Michael Hohnen

Hi Lale, I was in Kiunga half way through interviewing your father for a job at Tabubil when I was called away to a plane crash in the Gulf and did not return for 3 days after locating the plane which had hit a huge tree.
Raphael got the job and later met Stafford who did locums there on occasion.
They were both great company.
I had known Stafford also at Freeport.
He and Mary collected high altitude orchids in what is now Papua.


Hello Michael, yes my father got the job and practiced in ok tedi for 21 years. During that time we went on holidays to Cairns to visit Stafford and Mary who were so lovely and sweet to us kids as they didn’t have any of their own, they spoilt us bad.

A very lovely couple they were.


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