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Biographical entry Gordon, Douglas (1911 - 1993)

19 April 1911
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
October 1993
Queensland, Australia
Medical specialist


Douglas Gordon was one of the founders of occupational medicine in Australia. His interests were in workplace safety and diseases (especially in mines, abattoirs and cane fields), and the epidemiology of skin cancer, for which he was known internationally. He was one of the first to express concern about ozone depletion. Gordon's writings include the social medicine textbook Health, sickness and society (1976) and papers on medial history. After ten years as Director of Industrial Medicine for the Queensland Department of Health he was appointed inaugural Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Queensland. Medical sociology and occupational medicine became integral to the courses taught to all students. He successfully argued for the need for a Chair of Community Practice at the University, and was influential in the establishment of Departments of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. For many years Gordon played a key role in the Queensland Cancer Fund and chaired its Medical and Scientific Advisory committee.



Education - MB BS, University of Queensland
1942 - 1943
Career position - Resident Medical Officer, Mater Hospital, Brisbane and Ipswich Hospital
1943 - 1945
Career position - Served with the Royal Australian Air Force
1946 - 1957
Career position - Director of Industrial Medicine, Queensland Health Department
1957 - 1967
Career position - Member of Council, Queensland Branch, British Medical Association
1957 - 1976
Career position - Foundation Professor of Social and Preventive medicine, University of Queensland
Award - Jackson Oration, Queensland Branch, British Medical Association
1962 - 1967
Career position - Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland
1968 -
Career position - Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Award - Bancroft Oration, Australian Medical Association Queensland
Life event - Retired
Career position - Fellow, Royal Australian College of Medial Administrators
Award - MD Honoris causa, University of Queensland
Award - Honorary Fellow, Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
Award - Honorary Fellow, Australian Faculty of Occupational Medicine

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland

  • Douglas Gordon - Records, 1863 - 1908, OM78-22/1; John Oxley Library, Manuscripts and Business Records Collection, State Library of Queensland. Details

Published resources


  • Gordon, Douglas, Mad Dogs and Englishmen Went out in the Queensland Sun: Health Aspects of the Settlement of Tropical Queensland (Brisbane: Amphion Press, 1990), 114 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Lancaster, H. O. and Gordon, D., 'Health and Medicine in Australia, 1788-1988', Reference Australia, 2 (May) (1988), 21-49. Details
  • Pearn, John H., 'Professor Emeritus Douglas Gordon', Medical Journal of Australia, 160 (1994), 299. Details


McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn