Douglas Harry Kedgwin Lee MD




Born in Maryborough in 1911 Douglas Gordon received his early education in boarding schools in New South Wales. In 1930 he emolled in the medical course at the University of Melbourne, but was shortly forced by the Depression to interrupt his studies. 

In 1938 he entered the newly established Medical School of the University of Queensland. A contemporary recalls Douglas Gordon's important role as father figure to his classmates. He was noted then for his common sense and practical approach, characteristics which permeated his career and are still very much in evidence today. 

After a year's experience as a Resident Medical Officer following graduation, he joined the RAAF as a Medical Officer. 

After the war Dr Gordon established a Division of Industrial Hygiene within the Queens­land Health Department. He was its rrrst Director of Industrial Medicine establishing a Division of out­standing quality during his eleven years of service. 

In 1956 Dr Gordon was appointed Foundation Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Queensland, the only Chair in this field in Australia for a decade. A prortle written around the time of his appointment describes his special fields of interest as including the prevention of disease in socially advanced communities, the social impact of ill health, and 'health and work'. As well it noted Professor Gordon's enthusiasms and the non conformity of his views as singularly refreshing qualities. He taught students to use their own initiative in studying a wide variety of social problems, set up a course in general practice and arranged vacation experience for all students in this area. 

During his twenty years in the Department, Professor Gordon did much to develop the theoretical concepts of social medicine as a formal discipline concerned with mass phenomena in health and to develop excellence in biostatistics and epidemiology. His work culminated in a dermitive text, "Health, Sickness and Society; Theoretical Concepts in Social and Preventive Medicine". 

Professor Gordon's services to the University have been manifold. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1962 to 1967. He played a major part in the establishment of the Depart­ment of Anthropology and Sociology and was one of the founders of the University's Social Work course. 

In 1958 Professor Gordon asked the Registrar to notify all Heads of Departments of his availability "for consultation by any students who had reason to suspect that the state of their health was affecting their careers at the University". The foundation of the University of Queensland Student Health Service in 1961 was a notable culmination of his endeavours in this area. 

During the course of his career, Professor Gordon also played a prominent role in public health and in the delivery of health care in Australia. His many years of distinguished service to his profession were recognised when he was admitted as a member of the Order of Australia in 1979.

As he neared retirement, Professor Gordon wrote that "Though originally persuaded against any inclination and better judgement to apply for a Chair - I still remember the sense of abyssmal shock I experienced when I heard that I had been quite unexpectedly successful - I have gained much pleasure, comfort and fun from academic work and academic companionship during what has proved to be the most happy interlude of my life". 

Mr Chancellor, I present to you Emeritus Professor Douglas Gordon, Member of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Fellow of the Australian College of Medical Administrators, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Medicine , honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 


Doctor of Medicine honoris causa