John Ramsay


St Margaret's Hospital, 1910 (AOT, PH30/1/5078)

John Ramsay (18721944), surgeon, was the first Australian surgeon to be knighted. A pioneer and doyen of medicine in Launceston for nearly fifty years, he was Surgeon-Superintendent at the Launceston General Hospital from 1898 to 1912. He pioneered the use of X-ray diagnosis and was perhaps one of the first surgeons to use internal cardiac massage and experimental pancreatic transplantation, twelve years before the discovery of insulin. Ramsay played a great part in developing surgery in Australia, and was one of the few leading figures working outside the major teaching hospitals. A great innovator, unusually well-informed, he built St Margaret's Hospital (now St Vincents) and amassed a remarkable library which formed the nucleus of the present hospital library. He is considered the most distinguished, courageous and enterprising surgeon to have practised at the Launceston General Hospital.

Further reading: ADB 11.

Paul Richards