Arthur (Bob) Robert Waterhouse
1926 - 2014
It is a pleasure and a privilege to write an appreciation to my colleague from the Surgical staff and the Board of management of the Geelong Hospital
Arthur Robert Waterhouse provided an excellent surgical service to the people of Geelong for over 40 years and was a major force in the evolution of the Geelong Hospital from a provincial hospital to a major teaching hospital. The son of country general practitioners, he was Dux of The Geelong College in 1944, proceeded to Ormond College and Melbourne University graduating M.B.B.S. in 1950. At that time Melbourne teaching hospitals were giving preference to ex-servicemen and Waterhouse commenced his residency training program at the Geelong Hospital. The Geelong Hospital, the oldest hospital in the State on its current site, was still a Provincial hospital and many of the staff were general practitioners with special interests. However the staff did include two excellent consultant surgeons, 'Mick' Roland and the innovative 'Breezy' Charles Gale, the budding surgeon Waterhouse thrived under their guidance. He was medical superintendent of Geelong Hospital 1953-4 but still able to perform surgical work, then surgical registrar Royal Melbourne Hospital 1955-6 passing his examination for Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of surgeons in 1956. He returned to Geelong as a locum for Mr Gale before commencing public and private practice in his own right.
Waterhouse had a great ability to analyse a problem, work out a solution, and act, in clinical practice, administration of the hospital, or in his home workshop. He was very competent over a wide field of general surgery including thoracic and vascular surgery.
Surgical registrars from St Vincent's Hospital rotated to the Geelong Hospital well before the hospital had other university or hospital affiliations and he was an extremely popular and effective teacher of these registrars. He was a great supporter of younger specialist medical staff. Following a Geelong Hospital affiliation with Monash University and then Melbourne University he continued teaching and examining.
An administrative career commenced as Assistant Warden of the House of Guilds while at school. He played a very effective role in the administration of the Geelong Hospital initially, as Medical Superintendent, and then as a member of the Board of Management for most of his surgical career. He served on the State committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was a leader of a surgical team to Vietnam in 1969.
Waterhouse coped admirably in both his professional life and family life after his first wife Barbara (nee Dahlenburg) died leaving him with five school-aged children. He later made very successful marriage to Jeanette Cuttler a very competent operating theatre nurse and administrator.
Robert Waterhouse died after a prolonged illness on the 16th of July 2014. For Geelong he was certainly the right man at the right time.
W H Huffam