Henry Whyte




Henry Malcolm Whyte was born on 26th October 1920 in Jummulamdaugu, South India. His family subsequently moved to Australia where he completed his secondary education at the Ipswich Grammar School. 

In 1938 he commenced medical studies at the University of Queensland, intermitting to complete a BSc in Advanced Physiology in 1942. He completed his MBBS with an outstanding academic record in 1944, including the award of a University Medal, while employed as a part-time lecturer in Physiology. As a student he was both a keen sportsman, including captaincy of the University Boat Club in 1942 and 1943, and a leader in student affairs. 

Dr Whyte spent two years working in hospitals in Queensland before joining the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps in 1945. After release from the Army he returned to the University of Queensland as Senior Lecturer in Physiology. He took up a position as Assistant to the Nuffield Professor of Medicine at Oxford University when awarded a Rhodes scholarship in 1947, gaining his D Phil. in 1951. Professor D.H.K. Lee, who was a major referee for the Rhodes application, commented of Dr Whyte that "throughout his course he showed those characteristics which mark out the occasional person who can extend medical knowledge instead of merely applying to particular cases what is already known". Professor Lee also noted the "shrewd humour" and "transparent honesty" which made Dr Whyte a popular colleague. 

On his return to Australia in 1952 Dr Whyte took up appointment as Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Kanematsu Memorial Institute at Sydney Hospital. In 1959 he was promoted to Director of the Institute's Clinical Research Department and subsequently became Director of the Institute itself, a position he held for six years. 

In 1966 Dr Whyte was appointed Foundation Professor and Head of the Department of Clinical Sciences in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University; He served until 1977 when he was appointed coordinator of the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Unit of the Mental Health Branch of the Capital Territory Health Commission. 

He has served in many positions on a large number of national and international medical bodies including a term as Vice-President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. 

Applications for the Rhodes Scholarship require candidates to indicate their subsequent ambitions. Dr Whyte indicated in his application 40 years ago, that his aim was that his practice of Medicine would be of the highest order within his reach. "To do this I will retain an active association with the academic sciences, encourage and participate in research, maintain a constant relationship with the clinical side of medicine, and assume actual responsibilities in the practice of Medicine". There can be no doubt that Emeritus Professor Whyte has well fulfilled his ambition. 

Mr Chancellor, I present to you Henry Malcolm Whyte, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor or Surgery, Doctor of Philosophy of Oxford University, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 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