Clifford Craig

Clifford Craig (18961986), surgeon, radiologist, collector, conservationist and author, came to Tasmania as Surgeon-Superintendent of the Launceston General Hospital in 1926. The hospital was just beginning to recover from a damaging eight-year dispute between the government and the British Medical Association, leading to the withdrawal of most doctors from Tasmanian hospitals. Under Dr Craig's direction, the hospital became a highly respected institution. He developed it into a training centre for young doctors, and the 'spiritual home' for doctors in the community, particularly through a postgraduate medical educational programme. A master surgeon, at the age of 55 he had to give up his craft because of a soap allergy in his hands. He turned to radiology, and overall served the hospital for fifty years.

Craig was intimately involved in 1947 in the government purchasing Entally House as a National House. In 1960 his wife Edith, with Richard Green, founded the National Trust in Tasmania, to allow the purchase of Franklin House. Craig was foremost in raising community awareness to the value and beauty of Tasmania's early colonial buildings, and was chairman of the Trust, 196372. In 1961 he became an author with the publication of The Engravers of Van Diemen's Land, the first of eight books regarding early Tasmania. A collector of early colonial furniture, books and documents, he amassed large and outstanding collections, the auctions of which were memorable events.

In 1992 the Clifford Craig Medical Research Trust was established to raise funds for medical research. In its first decade it raised $4.5 million and funded over forty research projects, and opened a large research centre at the Launceston General Hospital.

Further reading: J Morris, Dr Clifford Craig, Launceston, 2002.

John Morris