John Egan Moultan OAM FRACS
2 September 1930 - 21 September 2012
John Egan Moulton was born in Molong, NSW in 1930, moved to
Cootamundra with his mother and father and brother Bill, and then
onto Broken Hill. He moved to Sydney to finish his schooling at
Newington, becoming the 4th generation Moulton to be at the school.
John played both rugby and cricket - sports he continued, first at
Sydney University where he studied medicine and then at Royal North
Shore Hospital where he was on the cricket team.
John moved to England, where he worked as a surgical registrar
at Ashford Hospital, and obtained post graduate surgical
fellowships at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and
Royal College of Surgeons, England. Sport was never far from John's
agenda and while in England he played cricket for Australia House
John was appointed to Royal North Shore Hospital (with cousin
Ray Hollings). This was followed by his appointment as Staff
Surgeon at Lidcombe State Hospital in 1962 (where he also joined
the cricket team!!) John then moved into private practice at Auburn
District Hospital, where he was appointed Honorary Medical Officer
of Surgery. At the same time, he was appointed to the staff at the
Repatriation Hospital at Concord.
This is a man who indeed showed the necessity to parallel
surgery with patient care, to provide total care of the ill and
needy, and not just list them as a condition in a bed. He showed
students, junior doctors and professors how to treat the whole
patient, and always involved the family. A man well before his
time, he concentrated on extremely efficient techniques of
operating, but was just as rigid in having a full plan for his
patients, post operatively and on discharge.
John adored many things, all with a passion that was palpable.
His children (Deb, Sue and Jaimie) and grandchildren were number
one on his list of loves. A tough task master, the children at
times, I am sure, experienced as much expectation of their
performance, equal to, if not more, than many of his trainees.
He enjoyed education, he nurtured the rigor of questioning
research and the accepted maxims of schooling and Surgery alike. He
was a deft hand at all General Surgery and his simultaneous lists
at Auburn Hospital, we're the highlight of his registrars
The white- coated registrars (evidence of bygone, maybe better
days) around the bed of a patient, trying to mimic John's ability
to define illness and treatment, yet know the football team they
followed, and yes, with his true Scottish nature, where to pick up
a bargain or two from the patients' businesses. He was very proud
of his registrars and students and they were equal, if not more
proud to be known as one of Mr Moulton's team.
John was able to be friends with doctor, nurse, physiotherapist
and cleaner. He taught us that no one person was more important
than another in a team. He will be loved forever by stoma- nurse
and administrators alike, because all were important to him.
Then there was the rugby! John moved to being the team doctor
for Eastwood Rugby club, when Sports Medicine was not an entity.
Through his enthusiasm the role of the Rugby Doctor became vital
and necessary. Safety for the players and a regard for their
medical state whilst playing and importantly after retirement, was
now a developing focus at all levels of the sport . John was
lying in a hospital bed having survived being operated on by me
when he applied and was appointed to the position of Team Doctor
for the Australian Rugby Union.
John's thirst for knowledge regarding all aspects of this form
of medicine was untiring. Hand written charts on each team member,
the condition of the ground and temperatures played were carefully
kept and then entered onto his surgical unit's computer (Apple
512k). He recognized the problems of these
amateurs/semi-professionals and was the first to understand the
importance of malnutrition/anemia in dealing with rugby players
working and studying and still expected to train almost full
He still, often bought his own entry tickets into the games and
spent many hours in a change room doing neurological observations
on yet another concussed player (initially it could have been from
either side not just an Australian Player.
Improvements occurred in all aspects of care of the Rugby
players and even with hip and knee replacements, John kept putting
up his hand up to continue the work he had started so many years
previously. He worked with many coaches from Alan Jones and Bob
Dwyer to all levels of trainers and enjoyed all of these times
(even overcoming signs in the medical rooms that "Wimps don't
Upon his resignation in 2000, John was honoured by being made a
Life Member of the ARU for services to rugby.He was bestowed the
Order of Australia (OAM) on 1 May 1997 for service to surgery and
medical education, particularly in relation to Sports
His passion and hard work in both sport and medicine led John to
volunteer for the SOCOG Doping Control team for the Sydney
Olympics, John was promoted to be a Medical Commissioner of the
International Olympic Committee, the IOC and the International
Paralympic Committee. John retired to the Gold Coast in 2005 to be
near family and friends.
Dr John Moulton died on 21 September 2012 and he will be missed.
To his family, I assure you that his legacy will never be lost. His
students, now doctors of many varieties teach his rules and values
every day. His surgical registrars, now surgeons and professors
around the globe continue the fight to provide total patient care,
not just operations.
Finally, from a corner of the T.G Milner field at Eastwood,
where, if you listen carefully you might just hear the strains of
Geoff Harvey on the piano and the clink of a middy glass, to the
roar of yet another Bledisloe Cup tussle in a stadium in New
Zealand, you know that John will be there, dressed immaculately in
his Australian team gear, scarf just so, leaning forward on his
seat and smiling.
Professor Martin Jones FRACS