Name: Ernest ‘Ernie’ Robert Beech
MBBS – Adelaide University (1932)
MRCP – (1936)
Date of Birth: 12 November 1908
Date of Death: 28 January 1976 or August 1976 (conflicting accounts)
Ernest ‘Ernie’ Robert Beech was born on November 12, 1908 in London, England. After studying at the University of Adelaide, Beech was granted his postgraduate qualifications by the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom. On returning to Australia, he practiced mostly at the Royal Perth Hospital and with the Freemantle Hospital. He also entered into general practice. Beech was very active in the societies dedicated to physicians and anaesthetists. He joined the Australian Society of Anaesthetists in 1939 and was a member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Royal College of Physicians.
Can you add any details to this biography?
If so, complete the Contributor Form.
Ernest ‘Ernie’ Robert Beech was born on November 12, 1908 in London, England. His family relocated to Adelaide between 1908 and 1992. Beech attended Pulteney Grammar School in Adelaide becoming Dux of the school in 1922. He subsequently won a Church School’s Scholarship in 1922 allowing him to study further at St Peter’s College. He graduated from secondary school in 1926. Beech undertook his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at Adelaide University. He graduated in 1932. Four years later, in 1936, Beech gained his postgraduate qualifications with the Royal College of Physicians.
Immediately post-Adelaide University graduation, Beech became a Resident Medical Officer (RMO) at Royal Perth Hospital. In 1934, he commenced his second year of practice as medical registrar also at the Royal Perth Hospital. Beech left Australia early in 1935 to travel to the United Kingdom. For two years, Beech worked in London at the Queen Square and Royal Chest Hospital. He returned to Australia in 1936 with his new qualification from the Royal College of Physicians.
Beech entered into general practice in 1937 until 1946. According to his resume for the Australian Society of Anaesthetists, Beech began to practice anaesthetics in 1938 combined with internal medicine. In 1938, he returned to the Royal Perth Hospital as Honorary Anaesthetist until 1950. In 1951, his position altered at the Hospital from anaesthetist to physician to inpatients.
In addition to his work at his general practice and at the Royal Perth Hospital, Beech was the senior physician at Freemantle Hospital from 1946 to 1965 and the visiting neurologist to the Children’s Hospital in Perth between 1951 and 1958. He retired from practice in 1966.
As well as his professional appointments, Beech was affiliated with societies for both physicians and anaesthetists. His association with the Royal College of Physicians began in 1936. From 1939 until approximately his retirement, or later, Beech was also involved with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists. He served as the president of the society in 1948 and as secretary to the Postgraduate Committee from 1950 to 1951. Beech was also a member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Outside of anaesthetic affiliations, Beech served on the State Mental Health Board in 1958, the Electoral Committee of the Royal Perth Hospital in 1959, Chairman of the Committee of the Royal Perth Hospital in 1964, Chairman of Honorary Staff at the Perth Hospital in 1965 and also as member of the State Poisons Board in 1965.
For his work regarding anaesthetics and how the specialty could be combined with other aspects of internal medicine, Beech was awarded a Foundation Fellowship to the Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1952.
[i] Ernest Robert Beech, ‘Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’, Information Form, c.1951, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History: VKGM 6903., p. 43.[ii] Ibid.[iii] Ibid.[iv] Ibid.[v] Ernest Robert Beech, ‘Australian Society of Anaesthetists. Personal Information (1951)’, Information Form, 1951, ANZCA Archives, Series 11.[vi] Ibid.[vii] Ibid.[viii] Ibid.[ix] Ibid.[x] Ibid.[xi] Beech, ‘Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’, p 2.[xii] Ibid.[xiii] Ibid.[xiv] ‘Australian Society of Anaesthetists. Personal Information (1951)’.[xv] Ibid.[xvi] Ibid.[xvii] Ernest Robert Beech, ‘Exordium’, Application Form, 1952, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History: VKGM 6903.42.
1. Ernest Beech – Courtesy of the Gwen Wilson Archive, Australian Society of Anaesthetists
2. Ernest Robert Beech, ‘Exordium’, Application Form, 1952, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History: VKGM 6903.42.