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Biographical entry Cilento, Raphael West (1893 - 1985)

2 December 1893
Jamestown, South Australia, Australia
14 April 1985
Medical administrator and Public servant


Sir Raphael Cilento graduated in medicine at the University of Adelaide and then specialized in tropical medicine. He was Director-General of Health and Medical Services in Queensland 1934-1945 and Professor of Social and Tropical Medicine at the University of Queensland.


Born Jamestown, South Australia, 2 December 1893. Died 14 April, 1985. Educated University of Adelaide (MD, BS) and London School of Tropical Medicine (DRM and H). Australian Naval and Military Forces, New Guinea 1915-19; medical officer, Federated Malay States 1920-21; Medical Officer for Tropical Hygiene, Commonwealth Department of Health from 1921; Director, Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine, Townsville 1922-27; Director, Division of Tropical Hygiene and Chief Quarantine Officer, North East Division of Australia 1928-33; Director-General of Health and Medical Services Queensland 1934-45; Honorary Professor of Social and Tropical Medicine, University of Queensland 1937-45; U.N.R.R.A. Zone Director, British Zone in Germany and attached to British Army of the Rhine 1945-46; Director for Refugees and Displaced Persons, United Nations 1946-47; director, Division of Social Activities 1947-49; established project for relief of refugees from Arab-Israeli War 1948; returned to Australia 1951; part-time medical practice, Mooloolaba and wrote articles for journals and newspapers. President, Medical Board of Queensland 1939-45; president, Historical Society of Queensland on several occasions.

Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Raphael West Cilento - Records, 1913 - 1972, UQFL 44; Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

Published resources


  • Cameron-Smith, Alexander, A doctor across borders: Raphael Cilento and public health from empire to the United Nations (Canberra: ANU Press, 2019), 314 pp. Details
  • Fisher, Fedora Gould, Raphael Cilento, a Biography (Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 1994), 369 pp. Details
  • Gregory, Helen, Vivant Professores: Distinguished Members of the University of Queensland, 1910-1940 (St Lucia: University of Queensland Library, 1987), 180 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Cilento, Raphael, 'Medicine in Queensland', Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, 6 (4) (1962), 866-941. Details
  • Cilento, Raphael, 'Sir Joseph Banks F.R.S. and the naming of the kangaroo', Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 26 (1971), 157-61. Details
  • Smith, Alexander Cameron, 'Raphael Cilento's Empire: Diet, Health and Government Between Australia and the Colonial Pacific', Journal of Australian Studies, 38 (2014), 103-18. Details


See also

  • Howie-Willis, Ian, 'Malariology in Australia between the first and second world wars (part 2 of "Pioneers of Australian military malariology")', Journal of Military and Veterans' Health, 24 (2) (2016), 28-39. Details
  • Howie-Willis, Ian, 'The pioneers of Australian military malariology: some biographical profiles (part 1)', Journal of Military and Veterans' Health, 24 (1) (2016), 12-24. Details
  • Spencer, Margaret, Malaria: the Australian Experience, 1843-1991 (Townsville: Australian College of Tropical Medicine, 1994), 213 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J.