JH Pearn



Dr William Wilson Ingram (1888–1982), a Scottish-born physician, contributed significantly to the health and heritage of Australia, his adopted land. Born on Speyside and educated in Aberdeen, he was a doctor-soldier in two World Wars and decorated with the Military Cross. Ingram was a Foundation Fellow (1938) of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and established one of the first specialist diabetic clinics in Australia, in Sydney in 1928. As an arachnologist, he published clinical descriptions of both surviving and fatal cases of envenomation by the Sydney funnel web spider, Atrax robustus. He founded the Kolling Institute of Medical Research at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where for two generations he was a leader in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. The international significance of his life’s work relates to his service as the medical officer and biologist on the two British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expeditions (BANZARE) of 1929–1931, for which service he was awarded the Polar Medal and subsequent Clasp. Those expeditions secured, for the British Crown, what was to become the Australian Antarctic Territory, ceded to Australia by a British Order in Council of 24 August 1936. Sir Douglas Mawson, polar expeditioner and the leader of BANZARE, described Ingram as ‘an ideal medical officer’, one who in addition to his clinical skills and judgement, manifested courage and ‘physical endurance and a full measure of camaraderie’. Ingram has no published obituary or biography. This précis records some details of his extraordinary life.

Keywords WW Ingram (1888–1982), Antarctica, polar exploration, military medicine, diabetes

Declaration of Interests No conflict of interests declared.