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Biographical entry Csordas, Stefan Eugen (1920 - 2000)

8 October 1920
15 December 2000
Physician and Antarctic researcher


Stefan Eugen Csordas was a medical practitioner who became a world renowned expert on Antarctic seals. This strange turn of events was the result of his Hungarian medical qualifications not being recognised in Australia. In around 1950 Csordas fled Hungary and migrated to Australia. The only person who would accept his medical training was Dr Phillip Law, the then Director of the Australian Antarctic Division. Law appointed Csordas medical officer for the 1955 Australian National Antarctic Research expedition to Macquarie Island. However, as the party required little medical attention Csordas soon found he had little to do there. To keep himself busy he began researching the islands wildlife and ended up publishing widely on the subject. He became so engrossed in his research that he volunteered to go back in 1957 and 1959. During these three visits Csordas was the first scientist to record that fur seals were returning to the island for breeding even though their populations had previously almost been wiped out by sealers. He also discovered that there were at least two subspecies of fur seals in the region and collected highly valuable census data of the elephant seal populations. After his last winter in Antarctica, Csordas passed the Australian Medical Association exam and took up a post as a medical officer with the Victorian Department of Health where he specialised in tuberculosis

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Annette Alafaci