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Biographical entry Allan, Robert Marshall (1886 - 1946)


24 February 1886
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
29 July 1946
Victoria, Australia
Obstetrician and Gynaecologist


Robert Allan was appointed Director of Obstetrical Research, Melbourne in 1925. From 1929-1946 he was Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Melbourne and introduced the University's first diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology. Allan was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for his distinguished war service.


Obtaining medical qualifications from the University of Edinburgh, Robert Allen began to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. In 1914 he was enlisted as a temporary lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps and won the Military Cross for his service in Mesopotamia. He was eventually invalided back to Queensland in 1916, but briefly returned to military service (Australian Imperial Force) again in 1918. Allan came back to Australia towards the end of 1919 and once again specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology in Brisbane hospitals until 1925. A two year post as director of the Obstetrics Research Committee saw Robert Allan move to Melbourne. When the post finished he remained in Melbourne and started up a private practice (1928). Over the next 15 years Allan held many posts including honorary staff member of the Royal Women's Hospital, honorary obstetrician to the Melbourne District Nursing Society, examiner of the Midwives' Board, founding Chair in obstetrics at the University of Melbourne, State Director of obstetrics, consultant to the Women's and Queen Victoria hospitals, central councillor of the Victorian Bush Nursing Association, membership and presidency of several boards and organizations. Allan also travelled widely during this time to increase his knowledge and teach others. He became a foundation fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FCOG) in London and honorary fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh (FRCSE) and Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). The University of Melbourne named its top prize in obstetrics after him (Marshall Allan Prize) and the Royal Women's Hospital named their library in his honour.


Education - Bachelor of Medicine (MB) completed at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Education - Bachelor of Surgery with Honours (ChB (Hons)) completed at the University of Edinburgh
Education - Diploma of Licentiate in midwifery completed at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, Ireland
1911 - 1914
Career position - Assistant Master at Rotunda Hospital in Dublin
Education - Doctor of Medicine (MD) conferred in absentia by the University of Edinburgh
1914 - 1916
Career position - Military service with the Royal Army Medical Corps
Career position - Medical Superintendent at the Brisbane General Hospital
c. 1918
Career position - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS)
Career position - Captain in the Australian Imperial Force
1919 - 1925
Career position - Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Brisbane
9 November 1920
Life event - Married Maryanne Eleanor Dines at St Augustine's Church in Hamilton
1925 - 1927
Career position - Director of the Obstetrical Research Committee in Melbourne
c. 1925 - c. 1927
Career position - Assistant Gynaecologist at Brisbane General Hospital
c. 1925 - c. 1927
Career position - Honorary Obstetrician at the Lady Bowen Hospital, Brisbane
1928 -
Career position - Private practice in Melbourne
1929 - 1946
Career position - Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Melbourne
Career position - President of the British Medical Association, Victorian branch
1944 -
Career position - Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Melbourne
Career position - Chair of the Federal inquiry into the medical aspects of the decline in the birth rate

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Robert Marshall Allan - Records, 1925 - 1947; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Book Sections


McCarthy, G.J & Annette Alafaci