Sir Stanley Seymour Argyle KBE
As well as being the 32nd Premier of Victoria, Sir Stanley Argyle was one of Australia’s leading medical pioneers in the field of radiology.
After completing his education at BGS, Stanley went on to study medicine at the University of Melbourne in After graduating, he went to England and obtained the conjoint MRCS LRCP Diploma before studying bacteriology at King’s College, London. Two years later he returned home and set up as a general practitioner in Kew.
Back in Australia Stanley soon showed his interest in the supply of pure milk and in 1898 founded the Willsmere Certificated Milk Co., for which he was a director until 1920.
Three years later Stanley was elected to the local Council and served as Mayor for two terms in 1903 to 1905. In that office he began campaigning for the removal of the Kew Lunatic Asylum (something he never actually achieved).
In 1908, soon after he began to specialise in x-ray work, he was appointed as a medical electrician and skiagraphist (renamed ‘radiologist’in 1920) at the Alfred Hospital. Over the next six years Stanley successfully gained assistance from the Government to buy radium and from the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust to build an electrical pavilion.
During World War I Stanley served as a skiagraphist in the first Australian General Hospital in Cairo, returning home in April 1917 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1920 Stanley entered the LegislativeAssemb ly, winning Toorak as an independent nationalist. As a back-bencher and busy doctor, he was not an active member but he managed to advocate for increased spending on the university and public health. From 1924 to 1929, Stanley was Chief Secretary and Minister of Health and felt compelled to give up his Alfred Hospital appointment, although he continued there as a consulting radiologist.
Stanley was the person behind the notion of establishing a teaching hospital next to the University of Melbourne.
On 1 January 1930 Stanley was knighted and later that year he was chosen to lead his party and the opposition. In 1932 his party won the election and Sir Stanley became Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Health. His government lost power at the next election in 1935.
Later in life, Sir Stanley suffered from chronic bronchitis and emphysema from which he sadly died on 23 November 1940. Sir Stanley left his mark in Victorian history as a man of public spirit, abandoning his own private practice in the pursuit of community service. He was granted a State funeral and a bust by Paul Montford which is located in Parliament House, Melbourne.
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