Vol. 24 No 4 | Summer 2022
College -> Obituaries
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Dr Peter Heath

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr Peter Heath on 23 July 2022.

Peter was born at Richmond NSW in October 1938. His father, a Squadron Leader in the RAAF, died while serving overseas, so his mother became the primary carer of Peter and his sister.

Peter attended the Homebush Primary School and won a bursary to the Homebush High School. At school, apart from academia, he excelled at sport, specifically at shotput, cricket and tennis. He won the U16 NSW state schoolboy tennis championship.

He studied medicine at Sydney University, commencing at just 16. Peter was a resident doctor at Prince Alfred Hospital Sydney, but moved to Melbourne in 1962, where he was an intern at Prince Henry’s Hospital.

Having decided to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology, he began his training at the Royal Women’s Hospital Carlton in 1963, subsequently becoming an assistant in the Professorial Unit under Sir Lance Townsend in 1965.

In 1966 Peter travelled to England and furthered his training under Professor Lyndon Snaith in Newcastle on Tyne. He also worked with George Pinker, who was the Medical Officer to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.

Peter returned to Melbourne in 1968 and was appointed Assistant Medical Superintendent of The Royal Women’s Hospital. He was the youngest ever appointee to the senior medical staff there.

In 1969 he was awarded The King George V Research Scholarship for research into infant and maternal mortality. This involved the use of a recently-developed ultrasonic foetal pulse detector, which could detect the foetal pulse as early as 12 weeks gestation.

He was subsequently appointed Head of the Wednesday Obstetric Unit, which specialised in diabetes in pregnancy. He was renowned for his assessment and management of obstetric and maternal complications of diabetic pregnancies. He was skilled at manipulative obstetrics, and a great teacher.

Peter’s career at The Royal Women’s Hospital spanned some forty years.

He was, in 1976, a founding Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Outside medicine, his overriding passions were horse racing, farming, and cooking. He was the Victorian Racing Club doctor at Flemington for many years, and later for Racing Victoria. His passion with horses led to him owning and racing several steeds.

His farming interest centred around Yea, Victoria, where he spent many happy years breeding and fattening cattle, and nurturing his roses and daffodils.

Another passion of his was cooking. He attended Victoria Market every week, purchasing items essential for his recipes from his favourite produce stall, delicatessen and butcher. He often provided cakes and tarts for the Wednesday Unit morning teas, enjoyed by consultants and trainees alike. He entered his plum puddings, jams and jam tarts in the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Society cooking competitions, winning several categories.

Peter served on the Yea and District Memorial Hospital Board and the Board of the Bendigo Bank, Yea.

In 2017 Peter was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. This resulted in a slow decline, and he passed away on 23 July 2022 at The Rosebank Nursing Home in Yea, aged 83.

A summary of accolades from his colleagues includes: “a pleasure to work with”, “calm”, “extremely competent”, “outstanding clinical judgement”, “a gentleman and gentle man”, “a respected role model”, “great mentor and teacher”, and “a wonderful quirky sense of humour”.

Peter is survived by his wife, Jill, and his three children, Daniel, Ben and Catriona, and their families.

Dr Derrick Thompson, VIC


Dr Raymond Stanley Hyslop

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr Raymond Stanley Hyslop on 22 August 2022.

Ray was born on 8 February 1934. Ray lived in Bardwell Park when the roads were unsealed and there was no sewer or telephone services. Ray had to walk to school through the bush across a low bridge over Wolli creek.

Ray was educated at Earlwood public school and then (on a full scholarship) at Sydney Grammar School. He then gained entry to Sydney University to study medicine, and on graduation was appointed Junior and then Senior resident medical officer at RPA hospital, and finally Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at King George V hospital.

During his training he met a trainee midwife, Helen Judge, who had trained at Royal Perth Hospital. In 1960 they were married, and remained together until she passed away in 2016. There were four children as a result of their union. Ray has left a legacy of seven grandchildren and one great-grand child.

Ray gained his Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (DGO) in 1961. In 1964 Ray passed his MRCOG, then FRANZCOG in 1978 and FRCOG in 1979.

Clinical appointments:

  • 1963–1997 Honorary, Visiting and Staff Specialist at Liverpool Hospital.
  • 1964–1967 Honorary medical officer- Fairfield Hospital.
  • 1967–1975 Clinical Assistant- King George V Hospital.
  • 1976–1975 First consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Camden Hospital.


  • Liverpool Hospital Medical Staff Council several years as Chairman.
  • 1974–1976 Chairman Camden Hospital medical board.
  • 1975 Foundation Chairman Western Obstetrical and Gynaecology Society.
  • 1973–1977 NSW State Committee, RCOG.
  • 1983–1994 NSW State Committee, RANZCOG.
  • 1985–1988 NSW State Committee Chairman, RANZCOG.
  • 1992–1994 Member Australian Council RANZCOG – Honorary Treasurer.
  • 1989–1991 President of Australian Society for Psycosocial O&G.

Army service:

  • Between 1958 and retirement in 1989, Ray served actively in the CMF and Army Reserve. Retired as Colonel, his last posting was Chief of Divisional Medical Services, Commanding Officer 1 General Hospital.


  • Army – Reserve Force Decoration and Bar, National Medal, Australian General Service Medal and National Service Medal.
  • 1994 NSW AMA president’s award.
  • 1996 Liverpool Quota club Citizen of the year.
  • 1997 Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year.
  • 1997 Companion of the Order of Liverpool for services to the community.
  • 2003 Awarded an Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours list for services to Obstetrics and Gynaecology particularly in the areas of teaching and administration.

If that weren’t enough just to fill in time, Ray ran a very busy private practice and authored or co- authored 12 published articles.

Of a more personal nature, Ray loved to travel and loved trains, and sometimes combined the two with train journeys with St James Rail. He loved rural life and in the 70s and 80s he and Helen bred beef cattle and Australian stock horses, and in later years helped during the shearing at a friend’s property in central NSW. He also had a great love of sailing and spent many years sailing with Helen and with the Lake Macquarie Cruising Club. He loved gardening and he always grew beautiful and fragrant roses.

In retirement Ray had an ongoing involvement in social groups and local community groups.

He retained a strong association with Sydney University Blue and Gold Club.

Finally, Ray was the driving force behind the publication in 2018 of the history of Crown St. Women’s Hospital (closed in 1983).

Dr Peter Hammill, NSW


Prof Ian Harrison Kidd

It is with much sadness that I record the death of my father, Dr Iain Harrison Kidd, who passed away on Monday 12 September 2022 at the age of 96.

A founding Fellow of RACOG, Iain was born in the city of Rangoon, Burma (now known as Myanmar) on 21 March 1926. His parents were in Burma at the time for his father’s work as a superintendent engineer. When he was 3, his parents decided to return to Edinburgh, Scotland. I often wonder if this early experience living in such a fascinating country was to influence him in travelling far and wide throughout his life!

Educated at George Watson’s Boys College in Edinburgh, he received his school certificate at 16 and then went to Edinburgh University. He started his degree in medical sciences in 1942 and qualified in medicine in 1949. His Diploma in Obstetrics from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (D.Obst. RCOG) was granted on 24 November 1951.

Iain started his professional medical career in Lancashire, UK. He spent two years in the army, where in a specialist hospital for the Northern Command he was made a clinical officer in obstetrics and gynaecology, before being posted to Hong Kong. Whilst in Hong Kong he was mentored at the Queen Mary Hospital by Professor Gordon King.

In 1953 and out of the army, Iain continued building his knowledge and experience in Manchester, Edinburgh, Hull, Birmingham, and Sheffield. After answering a medical journal advertisement, he spent two months in Germany with the Canadian Air Force medical corps.

Returning to Manchester, Iain found many of his peers were seeking opportunities outside of the UK. He had come across many Australians and New Zealanders in Hong Kong and northern England. He liked them greatly and believed that there was opportunity for him in the southern hemisphere.

Iain arrived in Sydney on Anzac Day 1960. Upon his arrival he went to Mt Gambia, and then after a year, moved to Hobart. In 1964, married with one child, and another on the way, he found himself in Newcastle, New South Wales, where he became a member of the western Newcastle obstetrics and gynaecology medical community for over 20 years. Iain delivered many babies and helped many women with their health and was always surprised when a new patient came to him and told him that he had also delivered her!

Between 1984 and 1991 Iain and his wife, Coralie, a trained midwife and nurse, lived and worked in Tabuk and Khamis Mashait, Saudi Arabia, and Gander and St Anthony, Newfoundland, but returned to Australia often to fulfil locum assignments in regional New South Wales. In 1991, Iain and Coralie ended their international endeavours and finally returned to Australia, landing in Coffs Harbour, and became part of its medical community.

Iain leaves behind his wife, Coralie, his children Alison, Duncan and Gillian, grandchildren Rebecca, William, Lachlan, Maddison and Callum and a great-grandson, Freddie.

Dr Iain Harrison Kidd was interviewed and recorded by Struan Robertson for RANZCOG Oral History in 2009.

Alison Beaumont, NSW (Prof Kidd’s daughter)


Emeritus Prof Eric Vincent Mackay

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Emeritus Professor Eric Vincent Mackay on 19 August 2022.

Eric was a giant among his peers in many ways. He was awarded membership of the Order of Australia for “significant contributions to medicine as an educator, clinician and administrator”.

Eric obtained his medical training and pursued an academic career at the University of Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne until 1964. At this time, he was appointed the inaugural Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and continued as Head of Department for a record 25 years until his retirement.

Eric was well-accepted in Brisbane and quickly made his mark as an intellectual and clinical leader. His contributions were many, and best shown in these three examples:

He had a great talent for precise scientific writing and appreciation of good research. This was recognised by our College when he was given the responsibility of promoting reporting of research as Editor-in-Chief of its journal, for which he was highly regarded and held the position for many years. He was known for his gentle guidance and patience with young researchers to improve their papers for publication.

His expertise in clear writing and sound clinical reasoning translated into a career-long interest in the promulgation of medical education and its need to question dogma in teaching. He recognised the important interface between scientific knowledge and clinical care, and the relevance of scientific basis in management. He spent hours and days (and years) in producing a popular Textbook of Obstetrics and the Newborn, and An Illustrated Textbook of Gynaecology for students, in partnership with his good friend, Norman Beischer. The books’ acceptance in Australia was evident by the many editions.

He was also an exemplar of the rare breed of competent academic-clinicians; his surgical skills were sought after by the hospital community. He had a special interest in gynaecological oncology; this made him work very hard to convince Queensland Health to recognise the value of formalised care for patients with gynaecological cancer. He spent hours in the operating suites with his good friend, Keith Cockburn, in developing techniques in cancer surgery. They sponsored the formation of centralised care, integrating the combined expertise of gynaecologists, radiotherapists, medical oncologists and even social workers, and initiated the formal training of oncology surgeons in gynaecology.

Eric led a rich life of 97 years – living up to a reputation of being an honourable gentleman. He endeared himself to his devoted wife, Gae, his two children, and friends (not only of the two-legged kind, but also the four-legged; his passion for horses was well-known).

Emeritus Prof SooKeat Khoo AM, QLD


Prof Richard John Seddon

Richard (Dick) Seddon died peacefully on 21 October 2022, just weeks after his 93rd birthday. He had a long and distinguished career in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Dick was born in Pukemiro (near Hamilton) in 1929. He attended Hamilton Boys High School before he entered medical school in Dunedin, graduating in 1954. One of his infamous memories from student days was when he was thrown out of his boarding house for euthanising his landlady’s long-suffering elderly dog. She had read his diary and he found all his things on the George street footpath when he returned home after lab classes one snowy night.

As a house surgeon in Hamilton, he met Barbara who was nursing there, and they married in December 1956. He originally wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon but was convinced to begin training in O&G, and was offered a job at National Women’s Hospital in Auckland. But before he could start, the mentor who offered the job died, and so he had no job after all! So he went to Dunedin in 1958 to begin his training under Professor Lawrence Wright. He won the O&G travelling scholarship that took him to UK. In 1959 he, Barbara and their first child, Annette, set off to UK on a Port Line vessel, with Dick as the ship’s surgeon.

He worked in Welwyn Garden City, and after obtaining his MRCOG, continued his post graduate training at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne University hospitals, where he worked for four years. Their second child, Philip, was born there. In 1964 he was offered a consultant post in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but turned it down because he thought the air quality at the time would doom his two young kids to chronic bronchitis.

Prior to returning to New Zealand in 1965 he had been offered a locum position for the legendry Mont Liggins, but found on his return that there was no money to pay for it. It was a temporary setback, for he was soon appointed to a position at Auckland University where he began a successful academic career, initially establishing obstetrics and gynaecology in the curriculum of the very new medical school. His career specialty was in reproductive endocrinology and he was a very accomplished surgeon. Amongst his other early accomplishments was the introduction of laparoscopy to New Zealand, and he performed the very first procedure from a makeshift laparoscope made from a culdoscope.

Dick was appointed to the foundation Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Wellington in 1975. It is intriguing he shared the same exact name as New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minister, and it is ironic that where the Premier Dick Seddon introduced the St Helens’ Hospital network in New Zealand, it was Professor Dick Seddon who had an influence on their closure. With the building of a new high tech women’s hospital in Wellington it wasn’t logical to have both the new hospital and the old St Helens. Contrary to the accolades for the Prime Minister Seddon for making St Helens possible, it was RJ Seddon, gynaecologist, who got the flak from the public outcry for ‘closing’ them! As it happens, Dick was a distant relative of the famous Prime Minister – his grandfather was a cousin.

Dick moved to Dunedin in 1981 as the University’s third Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He was an inspiring teacher and his legacy in teaching obstetrics was his idea that pregnancy
was an interaction between the fetus and the mother, and the fetus was the dominant party. This is now universally accepted, but at the time was radical thinking.

From the time of his first professorial appointment, his service to obstetrics and gynaecology grew immensely, serving on numerous governing bodies in New Zealand and internationally. These include his Presidency of the NZ College and working for the World Health Organisation on the Maternal and Child Health committee. Perhaps his most important achievement was the work he did for the Asia and Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, leading the design and content of its education program. This Federation is an amalgamation of all the Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Oceania and Asia. He would have become its President if he had not health issues that also shortened his time in Dunedin. He remains as one of Federation’s 18 Fellows; only 18 can be held at any one time for living members.

Ill health forced an earlier university retirement in 1991 than he planned but he did continue to work for another four years as Head of Department at the King Faisal Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he taught O&G to women graduates.

He and Barbara returned to Dunedin in 1995 and in 1999 shifted to rural Queenstown where they had built a new house. On every move he made in his life he established a garden. Rural Queenstown was no exception when he set to on an 8 acre property. He had been told olives couldn’t be grown there so he decided to plant them anyway. The olives didn’t work out, but his gardens had everything else: hazelnuts, chestnuts, almonds, plums and apples. Sadly, Barbara died in 2001. Dick eventually shifted, with his partner Chris, to Dunedin in 2014 where they resided at Brookland Village. Apart from gardening, his other hobbies included clay sculpting and drawing. He played croquet for many years and was an avid traveller before and after retirement.

Dick leaves behind his partner Chris, his children: Annette, Philip, Michael; grandchildren: Peter, Connor, Liam, Jasper, Shea; and great-grandchild, Ada.

Emeritus Prof Wayne Gillett, NZ


Dr Richard Allan Speed

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr Richard Allan Speed on 9 May 2022.

Richard was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 21 December 1947. Following his secondary education at Wellington Boys College, he completed a Bachelor of Science at Victoria University Wellington. He then completed a medical degree in 1973 at the University of Otago.

By 1975 Richard was ready to travel and, after a short visit to the UK, travelled overland in Africa to arrive in South Africa for a job at King Edward Hospital, Durban. This was a very large teaching hospital and the start of Richard’s career in O&G. Richard travelled extensively to game parks over the next couple of years indulging his passion for fauna and flora.

Having completed his part 1 in South Africa, he moved to Glasgow, Scotland to complete his training. Some of the time was spent at Bellshill Maternity Hospital where he met Tia, an Irish nurse completing her midwifery training. He returned to New Zealand and Waikato Hospital with Tia for his final clinical time and she worked alongside him in the labour department. He became a member of the Royal College in 1980 and the Royal New Zealand College in 1982.

Richard and Tia moved to Tauranga, Bay of Plenty in 1983, following the birth of their first child. Richard worked as a consultant in both public and private for the next 35 years. Richard was a people person and thoroughly enjoyed the rich multicultural workforce he was a part of. He was devoted to all his patients and to women’s health. He strived to reduce any medical inequality for Māori women over his career through his work at dedicated clinics. Richard was a long-standing member and past president of the New Zealand Medical Association and was involved in women’s health in the Pacific.

Outside of work, Richard was passionate about the environment and involved in many working groups. He and Tia did some world travel in the years leading up to and just after retirement, which was fortuitous, as sadly ill health followed.

Richard is survived by his wife Tia and children Christopher, Rowena, Elizabeth and Amanda, and three granddaughters Edie, Florence and Piper.

Tia Speed, NZ (Dr Speed’s wife)


Remembering Our Fellows

Our College acknowledges the life and career of Fellows that have passed away:

  • Dr Iain Harrison Kid, NSW


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *