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Bernard William Neal AM, MB BS, MD, FRACP, DipEd

James A Keipert
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (7): 420. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00103
Published online: 21 April 2014

Bernard (Bun) Neal was born on 18 July 1924 and spent his childhood in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, where his father was a general practitioner. He graduated in medicine from the University of Melbourne in 1947.

In 1959, he married Enid Murphy, with whom he had four children, Kate, Bill, Margaret and Tom.

Bernard spent much of his professional life at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, as a staff specialist. He also maintained a busy private practice. He was a superb clinician who quickly established an easy relationship with children and their parents. His special expertise was the diagnosis and management of emotional problems in infants and children, and the management of enuresis. He was also an authority on medical ethics.

As the inaugural Dean of Postgraduate Medical Education at the RCH from 1979 to 1989, Bernard introduced many initiatives, including an innovative and stimulating program for registrar training. At the University of Melbourne, he taught undergraduate and postgraduate students and served on the Board of Examiners. He also shared his knowledge internationally, as lecturer and examiner for the National University of Singapore and the University of Malaya and through his activities with the International Pediatric Association.

He made outstanding contributions as President of the Medical Board of Victoria from 1980 to 1994 and as President of the Australian Medical Council from 1988 to 1993. He also served as a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council from 1970 to 1979, chairing three associated committees, and as Vice President of the Victorian Medical Postgraduate Foundation from 1980 to 1991.

In 1983, Bernard became a Fellow of the Australian Medical Association and, in 1989, he received the President’s Medal of the RCH. He was made Honorary Life Govenor of the Australian Postgraduate Federation in Medicine in 1990 and a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994.

Enid died in 1988. In 1994, Bernard married Mary Parkin. After he retired, Bernard became fluent in German, visiting Germany on many occasions. He loved the use and meaning of words and enjoyed discussions on a wide variety of subjects. He enjoyed playing golf and skiing, and was a member of Kew Golf Club, the Melbourne Club and the Melbourne Cricket Club. He faithfully supported the Demons (the Melbourne Football Club), even during their periods of lesser achievement.

Bernard died on 5 July 2013. He was a warm, kind and compassionate person — a loving husband and father, a great friend to many, and an outstanding paediatrician and educator.

  • James A Keipert


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