Frederick Gordon Binns
1 May 1939 - 7 September 2013
Fred was born in Sydney, the only son of William and Dorothy Binns, with two younger sisters Anne and Pat. Initially the family grew up in Grenfell, where Fred's father had a busy dental practice. They moved back to Sydney when Fred was 10 years old. He attended Sydney Grammar before deciding to do medicine at Sydney University. He graduated from Sydney University in 1962 with an honours degree. He undertook work as an anatomy demonstrator at the university for two years whilst doing his resident years and as a 2nd year resident decided on a career as an Orthopaedic surgeon.
He was admitted to Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1967. In 1969 he moved to the UK working initially at the Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital in Plymouth, being admitted to Fellowship of the RCS soon after. He then spent two years or so at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. In 1972 he returned to Sydney to complete his orthopaedic training at the Royal North Shore Hospital. Then at the behest of his contemporary and good friend Lindsay Wing he moved to Hobart where Lindsay had informed him there was an opportunity for another orthopaedic surgeon. Fred rapidly built up significant private and public practices which continued until his retirement in 2003. He brought with him the, then novel, concept, of rigid internal fixation of fractures and early joint mobilisation and carried his AO instrumentation around in the boot of the Porsche. He was, for a time, Head of the Orthopaedic Department at the Royal Hobart Hospital and served as the Tasmanian Representative on the Council of the AOA.
He enjoyed lecturing in orthopaedics to the students at the medical school and was, along with others, responsible for training registrars on the AOA programme.
He is remembered by his colleagues as a well-dressed man in suit and waistcoat with a pipe and neatly maintained beard. The pipe and ubiquitous cups of coffee were resorted to in the event of any delay in proceedings and during his many consulting sessions.
Fred was one of those unique people, an exceptional surgeon, well-liked by his colleagues, his patients and of course his theatre staff. It has been alleged that he was amongst their favourites which is just as well given the length of his operating lists. For an orthopaedic surgeon he was remarkably patient and equally even tempered. He never appeared to be flustered, the epitome of a surgeon in control and who knew what he was doing.
From an early age he had a keen interest in cars beginning when he was given a Reo. During his university days he was an accomplished racing car driver, being a member of the MG Car Club and winning many economy trials, gymkhanas and hill climbs. He was also a member of the Tasmanian Go-Kart Club and raced his own go-kart. Fred was also a keen follower of Formula 1.
Fred inherited his love of sailing from his father who built a boat called "Molar". In Hobart Fred continued with his love of boats. He and Di sailed in local yacht races and eventually competed in a couple of Sydney-Hobart races. Not only did he love sailing, but he also enjoyed doing the regular maintenance jobs and generally 'tinkering' on his various boats. He was a member of the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Club for many years. Eventually boating would change to caravanning. Fred and Di enjoyed the camping lifestyle. They undertook numerous trips on the mainland and also a yearly pilgrimage to Stewart's Bay with family.
Fred retired in 2003. Following open heart surgery in 2006 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. His health slowly declined over the next few years requiring his wife Di to give up her work as a nurse to be his carer.
He died on 7 September 2013 and is survived by Di, his wife of almost 25 years, children Nigel and Anneli and step daughters Louise and Shona and their families.
Obituary kindly provided by R W L Turner, FRACS