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Biographical entry Keogh, Esmond Venner (1895 - 1970)

2 November 1895
Malvern, Victoria, Australia
30 September 1970
Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Medical scientist and Epidemiologist
Alternative Names
  • Keogh, Bill (Also known as)


Bill Keogh had a wide influence on the development of medical research and public health in Australia through his involvement in major health programs and in policy advisory bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council. Joining the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) in 1928, much of Keogh's research was on viruses, for several years in collaboration with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. His service with the Australian Army Medical Corps during WWII included working on the control of malaria with Neil Fairley (in which they had considerable success), the storage of blood serum and the provision of blood banks, and the production and distribution of the as-yet unproven penicillin. From the 1950s Keogh headed the effective campaign against tuberculosis for the Victorian Department of Health. Equally successful was the campaign against poliomyelitis in which Keogh was integral to the production of the Salk vaccine and planning the mass immunisation of the Australian population. As Director of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria he built it from nearly moribund to a highly effective and oversaw the introduction of smear tests for the early detection of cervical cancer.



1914 - 1919
Career position - Served with the Australian Imperial Forces
Award - Military Medal
Award - Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
Education - MB BS, University of Melbourne
Career position - Resident Medical Officer, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
1928 - 1949
Career position - Microbiologist, Commonwealth Serum Laboratories
1939 - 1946
Career position - Served with Australian Army Medical Corps
1945 - 1946
Career position - Medical Advisor, Australian Military Mission to Washington
Career position - Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1947 -
Career position - Consultant Microbiologist, Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital
1949 - 1955
Career position - Lead campaign against tuberculosis, Victorian Department of Health
1955 - 1968
Career position - Medical Director, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria

  • Esmond Venner Keogh - Records, 1915 - 1978; Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions



  • Alvarez, Jane; Hutchinson, Fabian; McCarthy, Gavan, The Records of Esmond Venner Keogh (1895-1970) (Melbourne: Australian Science Archives Project, 1990), 74 pp. Details
  • Gardiner, Lyndsay, E.V. Keogh: Soldier, Scientist and Administrator (Melbourne: Hyland House, 1990), 192 pp. Details
  • McDonald, G. L., Roll of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Sydney: Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 1988), 332 pp. Details

Book Sections

Conference Papers

  • Gardiner, Lyndsay, 'Esmond Venner Keogh', in Recovering Science: Strategies and Models for the Past, Present and Future: Proceedings of a Conference Held at the University of Melbourne, October 1992 edited by Tim Sherratt, Lisa Jooste and Rosanne Clayton (Canberra: Australian Science Archives Project, 1995), pp. 25-28.. Details

Journal Articles

  • Anderson, Warwick, 'The Military Spur to Australian Medical Research', Health and History, 15 (1) (2013), 80-103. Details
  • Howie-Willis, Ian, 'Australian malariology during World War II (part 3 of "Pioneers of Australian military malariology"', Journal of Military and Veteran's History, 25 (2) (2017), 46-68. Details
  • Keogh, E. V., 'Fifty Years of Medical Research in Australia', Medical Journal of Australia (1951), 24-28. Details
  • Keogh, E. V., 'Neil Hamilton Fairley', Medical Journal of Australia, 1966 (2) (1966), 723-6. Details


See also

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn