Our story | The service of Launceston surgeon Dr John Ramsay has extended beyond the medical field | The Examiner

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Sir John Ramsay made an incredible contribution to medicine in Launceston from 1898 to 1944. He was Superintendent Surgeon of Launceston General Hospital from 1898 to 1912, founded St Margaret’s Hospital and chaired the board of LGH for 11 years. He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1939 for “services to surgery”, the first Launcestonian and Tasmanian physician to be so honoured. But Sir John’s achievements went far beyond the medical field. On his death on 7 February 1944, the Examiner commented: “No detailed description of Sir John Ramsay’s work could adequately cover his greatest asset which was that of personality and solid and general skill which justified his cheerful disposition.” The Governor of Tasmania, Sir Ernest Clark, commented: “Community spirit and generosity were very strongly developed in him. His innumerable tangible kindnesses were very seldom revealed and he covered an extraordinary range.” Sir John was chairman of the North Tasmania branch of the St John Ambulance Association for 17 years. He was made a Brother Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1937. Along with Lady Ramsay, he provided invaluable support to St. John Ambulance and frequently lent his Ruglen home for first aid demonstrations and gardening. parts. In February 1924, Dr Ramsay played a key role in recruiting 25 members for the proposed Rotary club of Launceston, the first to meet in Tasmania, two days before Hobart. Dr Ramsay was the first president and served a second term from 1926 to 1927, the club’s only member twice until the late Charles Black in 2016-17. Other positions he has held include President of the Tasmanian Aero Club, Vice-President of the Royal Automobile Association, President and Trustee of the Launceston Club, Vice-President of the Caledonian Pipe Band and senior positions in the within the Crippled Children’s Association, the Anti-Cancer Society and the Red Cross Society. Sir John received the RSL’s Certificate of Appreciation and Merit Badge in 1924 for his work with returning soldiers. In business, Sir John was the first chairman of the Equity Trustee Company of Tasmania and the Portland Cement Company. He was a director of the Kiwi Polish Company, created by his brother William. Sir John excelled in sport, including billiards, cricket and golf. In cricket, he represented Tasmania against Victoria at the MCG where, as a fielder, he scored a “pair” in his turns at bat. In club cricket, he once scored 217 runs in under three hours at the Launceston cricket ground. He really made his mark with the Launceston Golf Club as a founding member in 1899, club champion in 1908 and captain in 1901, 1921 and 1925. He was president from 1926 to 1944 and was made a life member in 1938 The sound of Sir John’s Laugh on the golf courses of Launceston was legendary.

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