Nobel Prize-winning Australian physician Barry Marshall, along with his colleague Robin Warren, proved that gastric ulcers were caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and not by spicy food and other causes as previously believed. Their research made it possible to cure such ulcers by treating the bacteria with antibiotics.
Australian archbishop George Pell had served as the first prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy. He had also played professional Australian rules football before stepping into priesthood. He made headlines in 2018, when he was convicted of child sexual assault, though the conviction was reversed later.
Australian author Colleen McCullough soared to fame with her bestselling novel The Thorn Birds, which was also made into a hit miniseries. Fans also lover her Masters of Rome and Carmine Delmonico series of novels. A former neuropsychologist, she has previously taught at the Yale School of Medicine.
Born to Australian-born Chinese parents in Shanghai, cardiac surgeon Victor Chang grew up in Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Sichuan, in the aftermath of the Second Sino-Japanese War. His mother’s death from breast cancer made him study medicine. The pioneer of heart transplantation, Chang was killed in an extortion attempt.
Fred Hollows became a renowned name in the field of ophthalmology after helping thousands of people see by restoring their sight. Born in New Zealand, Hollows later became an Australian citizen. He had initially aspired to join the clergy but had decided against it after visiting a mental institution.
Robin Warren is an Australian pathologist best known for re-discovering the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Along with Barry J. Marshall, Warren proved that Helicobacter pylori causes stomach ulcers. In 2005, he won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Medicine, which he shared with Marshall. Their Nobel Prize-winning work became the subject of a documentary titled The Winner's Guide to the Nobel Prize.
Philip Nitschke initially studied laser physics but later devoted himself to the cause of aboriginal land rights. He then switched to medicine and worked as a general practitioner, before becoming a poster child of the voluntary euthanasia campaign and passing the pro-euthanasia law in Australia, which was eventually overturned.
Indian-origin American surgeon Jayant Patel had a career chequered with medical negligence. After his medical license was restricted in the US, following a few cases of patient deaths, he was convicted for killing 3 patients at the Bundaberg Hospital in Australia and was banned from practicing in the country again.
Initially a doctor, Bob Brown later became involved with the environmental campaigns in Australia and even co-founded The Wilderness Society. His protests against a dam in Tasmania got him jailed and later elected to the Tasmanian senate. Openly gay, the Australian Greens leader also became a champion of LGBT rights.
Marie Bashir created history when she became the first female governor of New South Wales. A doctor, too, she was initially associated with children’s hospitals and later focused on psychiatry. She also worked for the mentally ill and homeless people from the Aboriginal community of Australia.
While Brendan Nelson initially studied economics, he later switched to medicine and became a doctor. He also led the Australian Medical Association as its president and the Australian War Memorial as its director. He later served as a Liberal Party leader and an Australian minister and diplomat, too.
Edward Dunlop was an Australian surgeon who was held prisoner by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War. After becoming a prisoner of war, Dunlop flaunted his leadership skills, for which he is remembered today. In 1988, he was included in the 200 Great Australians list.
One of Australia’s best-known brain surgeons, Charlie Teo has been known for conducting operations that other surgeons would avoid for being too risky. Known for his excessively high fees, which have prompted patients to crowdfund operations, he later faced restrictions imposed by the Medical Council of NSW.
English-Australian plastic surgeon Fiona Wood pioneered the spray-on skin method of treating burn victims. Before stepping into a medical career, she had aspired to be sprinter. She later became the first woman from Western Australia to become a plastic surgeon. She was named the 2005 Australian of the Year.
Country Party leader Earle Page was not just Australia’s minister of health and commerce but had also been its prime minister for 19 days, after the death of prime minister Joseph Lyons. His efforts to bring about a comprehensive national health plan was appreciated by all. He was also knighted.
Ian Frazer is an immunologist who is credited with developing the technology behind the HPV vaccine. He is also credited with founding the Translational Research Institute, which aims at transforming scientific discoveries into useful applications for practice. Over the years, Frazer has received several prestigious awards, including the Australian Biotechnology Award.
Renowned Australian head and neck surgeon Chris O'Brien was also a talented rugby player in high school. Known for handling complicated cancer cases, he was also popular for his charisma in the medical field. Tragically, he was later diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and passed away despite multiple surgeries.
Ferdinand von Mueller was a German-Australian geographer, physician, and botanist. He is credited with founding the National Herbarium of Victoria, the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. He is also credited with naming several Australian plants. Such is his popularity that many plants, animals, journals, and places in Australia are named after him.
A qualified surgeon, who became the first Australian to specialize in hand surgery, Max Lake later deviated to his other interest, food and wine. He revolutionized the Australian wine industry by launching his boutique winery in Hunter Valley and penned books such as Classic Wines of Australia.