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Biographical entry Huckstep, Ronald Lawrie (Ron) (1926 - 2015)


22 July 1926
10 April 2015
Orthopaedic surgeon


Ron Huckstep was born in China in 1926 and spent a large part of his youth interned in a Japanese camp. Despite this disruption to his education Ron went on to study at Cambridge and became an Orthopaedic Surgeon, working in England, Kenya, Uganda, and Australia. He was awarded the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George by Pope Paul VI for his work in Africa where he pioneered the surgical treatment of Polio. Ron Huckstep also went on to develop new treatments including the Huckstep Locking Nail and Skelecast.


At the end of the Second World War Ron Huckstep studied medicine at Cambridge and Middlesex Hospital. In 1952 Ron travelled to Kenya and witnessed an outbreak of Typhoid, the disease became the focus of the dissertation he completed at St Bartholomew's back in England in 1959.

Now an Orthopaedic Surgeon Ron returned to Africa and in 1960 became Professor of Orthopaedics at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. His work in Uganda involved extensive treatment of Polio patients and it was during this time that he developed the Sekelecast and pioneered surgical treatments for Polio patients in the region. It was this work that earned him the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George by Pope Paul VI.

Due to the political instability of Uganda under Idi Amin Ron Huckstep left Africa to settle in Australia and in 1972 became Professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the Prince of Wales Hospital. Prior to this he had spent two years as a travelling Professor for the Commonwealth Foundation. Described as a passionate teacher Ron continued to practice surgery until 1993, and continued to teach in a formal capacity through the University of New South Wales until 1998. In addition to his teaching Ron Huckstep also published widely producing academic articles and educational guides.

During his career he developed and pioneered new treatments for fractures including the Huckstep Locking Nail for complex trauma, the Huckstep Hip, cerclage clip, Huckstep ceramic knee, cannulated hip screws, ceramic spacers for tumour reconstructive work, and surgical treatments for primary bone tumours and metastatic bone fractures. These innovations have made a difference in the lives of both human patients and veterinary patients from dogs to elephants.

Later in his career Ron Huckstep became involved in mock training disasters and established the World Orthopaedic Concern, an International society focused on Orthopaedic care and education in the "Developing" world. In 1997 in partnership with Eugene Sherry he established an online resource 'WorldOrtho' although it does not appear to be online anymore, the site can be reached via the way back machine and includes articles, books, videos and quizzes aimed at medical professionals of various levels. Of final note Ron Huckstep was offered an Order of Australia but turned down the award claiming he didn't deserve it.


1960 - c. 1970
Career position - Professor of Orthopaedics, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
1970 - 1972
Career position - Travelling Professor, the Commonwealth Foundation
1972 - 1993
Career position - Professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Prince of Wales Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
1972 - 1998
Career position - Professor, The University of New South Wales
1997 - c. 2015
Career position - Founder, World Orthopaedic Concern

Related Corporate Bodies

  • The University of New South Wales (1958 - )

    Ron Huckstep was a Professor of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at The University of New South Wales from 1972 until 1998. He also practiced as a surgeon at the Prince of Wales Hospital (connected to The University of New South Wales) until 1993.

    Date: 1972 - 1998

Archival resources

Private hands (Huckstep, R.L.)

  • Ronald Lawrie Huckstep - Records, 1959 - 1987; Private hands (Huckstep, R.L.). Details

Published resources


Resource Sections

McCarthy, G.J.