Anthony Joseph Bookallil
29 July 1940 - 21 February 2013
Tony Bookallil studied Medicine at Sydney University, after completing a Pharmacy degree. He graduated with Honours in 1967, then completed 2 years residency at St Vincents, before heading to England, obtaining his FRCS.
He was commencing his Neurosurgery training at Oxford in 1973. At about the same time, it was decided that there was a need for a Neurosurgery service in Newcastle. Advice as to a suitable candidate was sought, and Richard Gye suggested Tony.
Tony was duly recruited, and arrived in Newcastle fresh from his training, to be faced with task of setting up a new specialty with no trained ward or theatre staff, no infrastructure, and the prospect of being on call on a one-in one roster for an indefinite period of time, which ended up being 13 years, until a second Neurosurgeon arrived in 1988. Luckily for the population of Newcastle, they had been blessed with a man with an enormously strong constitution, who could be up all night dealing with a head injury then come home and wake his children up and take them to their swimming lessons. Fortunately the concept of safe working hours was still many years off.
Not content with a clinical workload far greater than any of his colleagues, Tony also became very involved in hospital life, serving in many positions on the Medical Staff Council and Division of Surgery, including stints as chair of both. He was also involved with the NSA, being on the organizing committee for an extremely successful World Congress of Neurosurgery in Sydney in 2001.
Tony had an uswerving commitment to public medicine that continued well beyond his attempted retirement in 2002. After the best-attended retirement dinner that Newcastle had seen, he still came back whenever he was asked to fill gaps in both the clinical roster and in administration.
Outside Medicine, Tony's great loves were his family and his music. He was involved with choral singing in Newcastle and was president of the Newcastle Musica Viva committee.
Tony was farewelled at Newcastle's Sacred Heart Cathedral, where he had been a member of the choir. As well as family, friends and colleagues, the service was notable for the large number of his patients who came to pay their respects. He leaves behind a very grateful city.
Obituary of John Christie FRACS