John Harvey Alexander 1943 - 2020


Harvey was born in Maffra in East Gippsland and died in Sydney on his 77th Birthday.  

The family moved to Belmore in Sydney where his father practiced as a GP from the family home. He attended The Shore School in North Sydney where he excelled in rugby and cricket. He studied medicine at Sydney University and after a short residency, travelled to the UK and, in 1969, took up a post at Winchester Hospital.  

It was here that he met an Emergency Nurse, Sandy Black, who was to become his wife. He returned to Australia to sit the FRACS in General Surgery, where his initial intention was to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon. However, under the influence of a family friend, Doug Keller, he changed his aspirations to Urology.

Harvey and Doug were to form a very close working relationship which lasted until Doug’s retirement. They shared rooms, they rounded and operated together and their families socialised together. Harvey returned to the UK, moving to Cardiff, where he completed a fellowship with Richard Mogg. Many thought his main reason for going to Cardiff was his love of Rugby and as it turned out the Alexanders lived in a house opposite Cardiff Arms Rugby Park. He returned to take up a VMO position at Royal North Shore and Concord Hospitals in 1977.

Harvey quickly established a Practice at Royal North Shore and surrounding Private Hospitals. He was respected and highly regarded. He got through a mountain of work on his operating lists which ran very efficiently. To improve efficiency he would often transfer the waking anaesthetised patient from the operating table to the bed showing little regard for the health of his own back!

He was very much the link between old school Urology and modern day Urology Practice. Harvey adopted some of the innovations in his own Practice, however more importantly he supported his Junior Colleagues in embracing the emerging technologies. He was Chairman of the Department for many years and oversaw the training of numerous Urology trainees. He was Chairman of the NSW section of the Urological Society. Harvey was often a thorn in the side of the administrators when battling for his Department.

Harvey was a devout family man. He adored Sandy. He took great pride in the achievement of his sons and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife Sandy, a brother Ron, sons Myles and Shaun and 4 grandchildren. He will be missed by many.

Vale Harvey Alexander!

The Society thanks Enzo Lazzaro and Ken Vaux for their time preparing this obituary.

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