James Cartledge

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Paediatric surgeon
25 June 1936-20 June 2009

James Macpherson Cartledge died recently at the age of 72 from complications of haemochromatosis and liver cancer. He was born and brought up in Launceston, matriculated from Launceston High School and did first year science at the University of Tasmania. He was one of the quota of two students selected in 1953 from the whole of Tasmania to attend Melbourne University to study medicine.

He graduated MB BS in 1958 (his own notes say without distinction!), although I suspect that his developing wide range of interests impacted on the time available for study. He went on to do national service at Point Cook and Laverton.

It was whilst at the Royal Children's Hospital as an RMO that he decided to become a paediatric surgeon. He was no doubt influenced by some of the outstanding paediatric surgeons in Melbourne at the time. His paediatric surgical training continued in Melbourne, Rome and four years in the UK.

He then, after a further year in Melbourne, settled in Hobart where for nearly 30 years he was the only trained paediatric surgeon in Tasmania. I am not sure that many understood the onerous responsibility that entailed.

The finest surgeons combine the thoughtful almost ecclesiastical frame of mind of the physician with the military energy and certainty of the surgeon. Many of Jim's colleagues would contend that he combined the best of these characteristics. Paediatric surgeons have the benefit some might say the curse, of working closely with paediatricians. We are, as it were, always looking over their shoulders. Jim would always listen carefully to what we had to say.

No report on Jim's life would be complete without a mention of his many other interests.

He was an avid and knowledgeable bird watcher, a strong supporter of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, an active partner in a vineyard and found time to study for an associate diploma in wine marketing. He had a great love of real tennis and played for many years.

Jim was also in the words of Samuel Johnson, 'a clubbable man'; he enjoyed the company of his fellow man. He was a strong supporter of the AMA and became State President, was on the Medical Council and had a long association with the Spina Bifida association in Tasmania, an organisation he had founded.

Jim had values that are a common aspiration for many. Those of working well, of deep consideration for his fellow man and woman, of convivial companionship and of professional integrity.

Jim leaves his wife, Heather and his children, Miranda, Stephanie, Duncan, Robert and Libby by two previous marriages.

Graham Bury, Paediatrician, Hobart


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