Dr Bernard Selwyn Alderson


MBBS, FRACGP
5 March 1915 – 25 April 2004

One of the founding members of the RACGP's Victoria Faculty, Dr Bernard Alderson died suddenly on 25 April, 2004.

Bernard was born in Sunderland, United Kingdom, on 5 March, 1915 and graduated from Durham Medical School in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1938. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1939 and served in Europe, including the Dunkirk evacuation and Normandy landing.

In 1943, while on leave in England, he married Sybil, a younger medical graduate of 1940.

In 1950, he migrated to Australia and spent the next 30 years in general practice, first in the Victorian town of Camperdown and from 1962 Norlane, near Geelong.

In 1958, Bernard became a foundation member of the Australian College of General Practitioners (later known as 'Royal') and thus commenced a long active involvement in multiple leadership roles in the college until the 1990s.

He was a member of the Victoria Faculty Board for 22 years, and chairman of the board from 1982-1984. He was provost of Victoria Faculty from 1970-1971.

In the 1970s, he became chairman of the council's accreditation committee, helping to establish standards of accreditation of practices for training of young medical graduates under the family medicine program.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Bernard was a member of the editorial panel of the college journal, Australian Family Physician, and the publications board, chairing the latter from 1978 to 1982.

In October 1986, at the academic session of the RACGP annual general meeting, Bernard was presented with the Rose-Hunt Award, the highest honour bestowed by the college. This award is made to a person who, in the opinion of college council, has rendered outstanding service in the promotion of the aims and objectives of the college, either by individual patient care, organisational, educational, research or any other means.

In the 1980s, Bernard left general practice and became casualty supervisor and later director of medical services at Geelong and District Hospital, for eight years. After that he became medical superintendent at the Grace McKellar Geriatric Centre.

Bernard hated retirement so much that he took up general practice locum work in the 1990s.

In 1992 he was made a life member of the RACGP.

Bernard died suddenly at home on 25 April in the presence of his beloved and loving wife, Sybil.

He will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him ­ in practice, on committees and socially. He loved the meetings and we enjoyed sharing with him his anecdotes, his jokes, and his humorous asides. He had a wonderful sense of humour and we will miss him very much.

Au revoir, Bernard!

Dr Ian Rowe, Melbourne


First published in GP Review ‘In Memoriam’ Volume 8 - Number 3 July 2004 p.20

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