Dr Graham Knox Williams AM
It is with much sadness that we record the death of Dr Graham Knox Williams on 12 January 2020 at Cumnock in rural NSW. Graham was born in Paddington on 4 July 1933, the son of H Bruce Williams, a noted obstetrician of education.
Graham went to St Pauls College and Sydney University for his medical education. He completed medicine in 1956 and married Judy Williamson in 1958.
In 1960, he went off to the UK to study O&G (as was custom at the time) and obtained his membership of RCOG. With Judy, they had two children, Bruce (1963) and Charles (1968).
While Graham completed his obstetrics training, Judy also trained to become an anaesthetist. Graham, with Judy by his side, worked in the UK from 1961 to 1966.
With their young family, they returned to Australia, settled in Woollahra and took up an HMO position at the Royal Hospital for Women in Paddington and also at St George Hospital. For the next 30 years he worked and became a respected and much-loved consultant at these hospitals.
He loved to teach and taught countless future generations of doctors and midwives in our specialty, including myself. He always taught with great patience and generosity of spirit. He was indeed a true specialist in the days of the gentleman obstetrician, without arrogance, softly spoken and loved and respected by all.
Graham had a busy practice, but also gave so much back as NSW President of the AMA and NSW medical board member for many years, and was awarded the AM for his contributions to medicine. Outside of medicine, he was a member of the Council of Cranbrook School and also a talented cricket player in his younger years, playing for Cranbrook, at university and even in the UK.
In 1998, after 30 years of medicine, he decided to go into retirement. Graham and Judy used this opportunity to take over the day-to-day running of a property Judy had inherited from her father.
For the next 20 years, Graham became a capable farmer, specialising in Merino sheep with high fecundity that also produced superior quality wool. Graham also worked at times as a locum at Wagga Hospital whilst Judy worked at Dubbo Hospital.
Above all this, Graham was a family man who loved Judy, his children and grandchildren dearly. Graham died quickly and unexpectedly on 12 January 2020 at the age of 86.
He is survived by his two sons, Bruce and Charles, and their children, Douglas, Morgan and James.
Vale Graham – a true gentleman and honour to our profession.
I would like to acknowledge Alister Harvey-Sutton, his lifelong friend, and his sons in helping me prepare this commentary on Graham’s life.
A/Prof Louis Izzo
Dr Margot Jocelyne Barclay
Margot Barclay was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up in Canada. She went to high School at St Michaels in Winnipeg, Manitoba, then went to Toronto to attend University and Medical School. An early glimpse of her adventurous spirit can be seen when, as a medical student, she worked in Malawi where she contracted malaria during her service.
Her residency was spent in Vancouver. Following this, she moved to Rossland, British Columbia, where she set up an OBGYN partnership with a colleague. During this time, Margot participated in a program where she trained doctors and midwives in developing nations, including a trip to the Ukraine.
We will all remember Margot as the vibrant, fiery, enthusiastic redhead who came to us from Canada in February 2011 with a passion for Canada, women’s health and for life in general. She was a woman of strong views that she defended passionately, not from stubbornness but from a belief that she was making a difference for women in our care. Surprisingly for someone who came to us from Canada, she became an enthusiastic dragon boat racer and in time represented New South Wales in this sport.
At Liverpool Hospital, she drove gynaecological services, especially in the area of colposcopy and laparoscopic surgery, and participated in the high-risk antenatal clinic for many years. She became Head of Department from July 2015 to October 2018 and participated strongly in the design and development of the new maternity services rebuild. She was the first female head of any department at Liverpool.
The development of breast cancer marred her tenure in this position, forcing her to take longer absences from the job, battling recurrences and protracted treatment regimes and struggling to support and prepare her two children for the final outcome. She showed courage and bravery beyond belief and will be remembered fondly by everyone for her strength in this regard.
Margot Barclay was laid to rest on 24 January 2020. Her funeral was attended by a large number of midwifery and obstetric staff members lamenting the passing of someone who strove to make a difference to the wellbeing of women in the Southwest Sydney Local Health District. Her irreverent sense of humour was in evidence as we were exhorted to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life midway through the Service. We were reminded of her determined self-assuredness as she was accompanied out of the funeral parlour to the strains of I Did it My Way.
All those who spoke of her remembered her fondly for her keen intelligence, dry wit and enthusiasm for life. Her love of her family and friends was abundantly evident.
She will always be remembered. Rest in peace, Margot Barclay.
Dr Ian Fulcher
Dr Arthur Joseph Day
Tributes have poured in for Dr Arthur Day, who passed away in May.
In tributes published online in The Age, A/Prof Jim Tsaltas, head of the Gynaecological Endoscopy Unit at Monash Health, said ‘Mr Day’s death marks an end of an era. He will always be remembered for his superlative surgical skills, uncompromising pursuit of excellence, with sound ethical foundation, and his mentoring of generations of gynaecological surgeons.’
Dr Daya Jayasinghe wrote ‘Arthur helped immensely to introduce a national cervical cancer screening program in Sri Lanka, an effort initiated by the Lions Club of Wheelers Hill in the early 2000s. Across his career, he helped nurture the talent of many Australian oncologists and gynaecologists, and he skilfully drew upon some of this professional talent in building the pilot screening program in Sri Lanka. In fact, Arthur Day’s contribution to the program is in no small part why cervical cancer rates have recently decreased there.
It is inspiring that this wholehearted Melbournian gave so much to improve public health outcomes in developing countries like Sri Lanka. As well, through his gynaecologic work, he immeasurably increased the quality of life for so many women and families here in Melbourne.’
Former President, Dr John Campbell, said ‘With the death of Arthur Day, RANZCOG lost one of the doyens of gynaecology in Victoria. Arthur served his College and profession superbly in very many ways. At the Queen Victoria Hospital and then the Monash Medical Centre, he was an outstanding gynaecological surgeon and lead the Gynaecological Oncology Unit.’
He was a mentor and friend to a huge number of colleagues and trainees. He was an excellent teacher and provided to generations of future specialists an approach to obstetrics and gynaecology which would greatly assist their future careers.
He served on the Senior Medical Staff associations of the Queen Vic and Monash, the Victorian Regional Committee of College, College Council, and numerous other organisations. For his services to College he was awarded the President’s Medal, and for his services to gynaecology, the AM.
He will be greatly missed.
Dr John Campbell, Charles Day and
Prof Tom Jobling