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Biographical entry Dunhill, Thomas Peel (1876 - 1957)


3 December 1876
Tragowel, Victoria, Australia
22 December 1957
Hampstead, England?


Sir Thomas Dunhill was a leading Australian surgeon, who in 1907 undertook ground-breaking treatment for exopthalmic goiter, by removal of the thyroid gland. Within three years he had carried out over 312 similar operations with a mortality rate of only 1%. This was an outstanding achievement as the mortality rate of thyroidectomies in London was at least 30%. Dunhill also pioneered many other techniques and delivered papers on his surgical treatments to the Royal Society of Medicine in London. In Australia he worked at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne then moved to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London in 1920. While in England he was surgeon to several of the monarchy, including George V.


After completing studies in pharmacy, Thomas Peel Dunhill decided to take up medicine and majored in obstetrics and gynaeocology. His first position after graduating (1903) was as resident at the (Royal) Melbourne Hospital and this saw his interests change to endocrinology. In 1905 he joined the out-patients department at St Vincent's Hospital. Within a year he was appointed surgeon to the department and began a distinguished career in thyroid surgery. By 1911 he was the leading thyroid surgeon in Australasia and was invited to visit hospitals in England and America.

When World War I broke out, Thomas Dunhill was appointed major to the 1st Australian General Hospital. There he worked with many English surgeons and impressed them with his brilliant surgical skills. Within a year of returning to Australia, Dunhill was asked to join the professional surgical unit at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He accepted, became their leading surgeon and England's best thyroid surgeon, and spent the rest of his working life there. In 1928 Dunhill was appointed surgeon to George V and to all monarchs that followed to Elizabeth II (extra surgeon).

Thomas Dunhill was one of the most awarded surgeons of the time. He received CVO, CMG, KCVO and GCVO, as well as fellowships to the College of Surgeons of Australasia and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (honorary).


June 1898
Career position - Completed studies and registered as a pharmacist
1899 - 1903
Education - Bachelor of Medicine (MB) completed at the University of Melbourne
Education - Doctor of Medicine (MD) received from the University of Melbourne
Career position - Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps
1912 -
Career position - Chairman of Medical staff, St Vincent's Hospital
1912 -
Career position - In-patients Surgeon at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
Career position - Consulting Surgeon with the Australian Imperial Force in the Rouen area of France
Career position - Returned to Australia and St Vincent's Hospital
Award - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
Award - Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO)
1920 -
Career position - Surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London
1928 - c. 1936
Career position - Surgeon to George V
1930 -
Career position - Fellow of the College of Surgeons of Australasia
Award - Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
c. 1936 - c. 1956
Career position - Surgeon to Edward VIII and George VI, and extra Surgeon to Elizabeth II
Career position - Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons - England
Award - Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)

Published resources


  • Vellar, Ivo, The Magnificent Seven: Foundation Surgeons of St Vincent's Hospital (Noosa Heads, Qld: Publishing Solutions, 2011), 174 pp. Details
  • Vellar, Ivo D., Thomas Peel Dunhill, Pioneer Thyroid Surgeon at St Vincent's Melbourne (North Balwyn: Ivo Vellar, 2007), 105 pp. Details


McCarthy, G.J.