1 - Esmond Venner Keogh

Date Range2 November 1895 - 30 September 1970

Note: We are indebted to Lyndsay Gardiner, the biographer of Keogh [in preparation, 1986-1987], for details relating to his early life, war service and medical career; however any errors or significant omissions in the record are the responsibility of the Archivist. While Keogh's life spans the years 1895-1970, the present collection of records only covers the period 1950-70 in any substantive detail and supporting biographical details would have to be sought from a wide range of external sources

1895: Born 2 November in Melbourne; the third of four children (1st son), father was Edmond Joseph Keogh, an estate agent. The family lived in Armidale until 1900. Following the Land Crash, the family was divided and the Keogh children were then supported by their mother, who became foster mother in another large family to finance her childrens' education.

1906 - 1907: Padua House, Convent of Mercy, Mornington (Student)

1907 - 1910: St. Stanislaus' College, Bathurst, N.S.W. (Student, won an entrance scholarship to Melbourne Church of England Grammar School)

1911 - 1913: Melbourne Church of England Grammar School (Scholar, shared the Grimwade Scholarship with W.S. Kent-Hughes in 1913)

1914: Trinity College, University of Melbourne (Perry Scholarship, enroled in Agricultural Science, but did not sit the 1914 final examinations. At this time, Keogh was part of a discussion group of 'painters, writers, doctors, labour politicians, social reformers...the contemporary intelligentsia of the left' as he termed it.)

: Army Medical Corps 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance (enlisted, 13 November, with his mother's permission and trained at Broadmeadows)

1915: World War I, Palestine campaign (Stretcher-bearer at Gallipoli, May-November 1915, and in Middle East)

1916 - 1918: World War I, active service in France (after returning to Australia from Egypt he transferred to the 9th Machine Gunners' Coy. and went to the Front in October 1916 at Ypres and Messines; was wounded in action)

1917: Military Medal (Awarded October, promoted to Corporal).

1918: 3rd Machine Gun Battalion (Promoted to Acting Sergeant, fought at the Somme and Mt. St. Quentin, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, October)

1919: Returned to Australia (Invested in Melbourne with the awards for military valour (M.M., D.C.M.), November)

1919 - 1921: Actuarial and Public Service employment.

1921: Worked on his father's Soldier Settlement farm in Gippsland. (On reading Freud, decided to enter a medical course)

1922 - 1927: Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne (Student. His studies, which were partly funded by a form of repatriation assistance to returned soldiers, were further supplemented through the proceeds of winnings on horse-racing wagers, including the Melbourne Cup, 1921. In later life, Keogh pursued his statistically-minded interests in racing form, not without some further success).

1928: Alfred Hospital, Melbourne (Resident, to May only)

1928 - 1949: Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (Relieving Medical Officer under reference from Dr. Alan Wood (Royal Children's Hospital) to John Cumpston (Commonwealth Department of Health); his field of operations included the mining towns Kalgoorlie (W.A.), and Bendigo (Vic.), and shorter stays in Launceston (Tas.) and parts of N.S.W.).

1935-1937: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Visitor, on "temporary attachment" under its Director, Charles Kellaway. During this time, he was still on the staff of CSL. In the Institute's Virus Department he contributed to various projects and published papers; in 1935, he conducted field and laboratory investigations into poliomyelitis in domestic animals at Camperdown, Vic., with Dame Jean Connor; in 1936, worked on immunology, studying virus lesions, and conducted laboratory projects in Psittacosis sera; in 1937, he did further work in immunology, including egg membrane studies in Vaccinia and in the Newcastle Disease virus)

1939: First International Conference of Microbiologists (Visited the USA, with Stanley Williams, the Medical Superintendent of the Royal Children's Hospitals. Returned in late 1939, on news of the outbreak of war, catching the first aeroplane flight from Vancouver to Australia. However, CSL initially refused to release him for war service.)

1940: 2/2 Army General Hospital (Commissioned as a Major and placed in charge of Pathology. Was released for service in January and in February was posted to the Middle East.)

1940 - 1941: In Palestine, attended a course in parasitology conducted by Professor Saul Adler. With Ian Wood, he also visited Jerusalem during the Middle East campaign.

: At Kantara, worked on medical problems vital for the conditions of the Desert and later Balkans campaigns. This included: blood transfusion (whole blood), skin grafting, and the treatment of scrub typhus; also designing (or improvising) facilities for medical treatment, including plastic surgery in tents in the Desert campaign.

1942 - 1944: Returned to Australia to take up the post of Adviser in Pathology (January 1942), later Director of Hygiene and Pathology (May 1943). HQ was Melbourne, but he visited field bases in New Guinea and inspected stations in Australia during the later years of the War, including a programme for research into the prevention and treatment of malaria, conducted on the Atherton Tablelands, Qld., in 1943.

1945 - 1946: Australian Military Mission visit to USA (Medical Adviser to the Mission; negotiated assistance for Australian post-war medical research programmes through the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations during April-November 1945; then sought further research funding, in the form of grants for postgraduate scholars, from the Nuffield Foundation during a visit to the U.K., December 1945 - February 1946)

1946 - 1949: Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (Director of Research; at this time he was also involved in research into Pertussis following an earlier line of research interests from the late 1930s)

1948 - 1950: Diphtheria study at Fairfield Hospital: formed the basis for a paper by Keogh. [see 19.2.1]

1950: Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (Member, Executive Committee, attended his first meeting on 27 September 1950. Keogh was one of the appointees of the Medical and Scientific Committee on the Executive Committee; after his appointment as Medical Adviser and Secretary of the ACCV in 1955, Keogh took part in proceedings of the Executive Committee 'in attendance' on the meeting.)

1950 - 1955: Victorian Health Department, Tuberculosis Branch (Director; he succeeded Rosenthal in this post, being appointed on a contract basis for 5 years. In 1954, presented a report on the administration of the Department and the TB Branch)

1954: Lectures on Public Health (Tuberculosis) [see 17.3]

1955: Visited USA (c. April-May) to confer with Jonas Salk and others on arrangements for the testing of poliomyelitis vaccine in Australia [see 16.4.4]. Appointed to National Health and Medical Research Council committee for tests (May).

1955 - 1968: Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (Medical Adviser, from August, and Secretary, on the retirement of W.A. Dick, from November 1955 until the appointment of a separate Secretary, Miss Ruth Hair, in early 1958. On the retirement of Dr. Robert Fowler as Honourary Chief Registrar, Keogh also took over the direction and control of the Victorian Cancer Registry.)

1957: Paper on influenza (published July) [see 18.1.1]

1958: Leukaemia mortality (ACCV report based on his analysis of Registry statistics)

1960: Survey of skin conditions, and publication of statistical and demographic analyses (with Dr. G. Read, Victorian Health Department) [see 10.3.3,]

: Victorian Cancer Congress, August (Keogh was involved in the organisation of the Conference, and also gave a paper) [see 4.2.3, 4.21]

: Symposium on breast cancer (participated)

1961: Poliomyelitis Vaccine Committee to monitor CSL tests (Member, renewed on revision of the CSL Act) [see 16.3.2]

1963: Published paper on skin, hair and eye colours (with G. Read: further analytical findings of the 1960 survey) [see 2.1.2].

: Bone Tumours seminar (presentation)

1964: ANZAAS Conference, Canberra, January (paper on epidemiology)

: Made successful representations to the Victorian Health Minister on behalf of the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (PANCH) which housed the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit, for its equipment needs. Also served on the selection panel for the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to succeed Burnet and contributed information towards a study of the planned International Cancer Research Organisation - the De Gaulle proposals).

1965: Actively engaged in the launching of the ACCV appeals. During the year, a note on the greying of human hair was published in Nature, representing further analytical work on the 1960 survey and related findings, with R.J. Walsh (N.S.W.) [see 10.1.2].

1965 : Monash University Faculty of Medicine, September (Co-opted Member of the Faculty Board. In October, read a seminar paper on the epidemiology of lung cancer and its relation to cigarette smoking)

1966: Epidemiology of cancer (Seminar presentation by Keogh on research and implications for medical administration for the Australian Medical Association's Medical Administration Group. While this paper was concerned with Victoria, Keogh was also collecting information on research into cancer in aboriginal women. He also gave a seminar paper on cervical cancer during the year.)

1967: Reviewed research into tar content of cigarettes and made representations on smoking and health issues, including meetings with the Victorian Commission of Public Health and the development of policy in conjunction with other, interstate bodies.

: Monash University (Delivered the Occasional Address at a December graduation ceremony, giving his views on the examination system)

1968: Monitored the Amantadine trials in Victoria.

: Retired as Medical Adviser of the ACCV (Announced at the Executive Committee meeting on 1 March 1968. The Council appointed a Director, Dr. Nigel Gray, in his stead. Keogh became a co-opted Member of the ACCV's Medical and Scientific Committee and served on the Public Education and Appeals Committees.)

1969: Etiology of Cancer conference (attends) [see 4.1.22].

1970: Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, May-June (Acting Medical Director in the absence of Dr. Gray)

1970: Died 30 September (No obituary was published, in accordance with his own wishes, as expressed to the ACCV and his professional colleagues)

Published by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre on AustehcWeb, July 2004
With support from Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria and The University of Melbourne
Listed by Jane Alvarez, Fabian Hutchinson and Gavan McCarthy
HTML edition Ailie Smith
Updated 9 November 2007

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