Dr Charles Edward Elliott - Brisbane General Practitioner

Charlie Elliott was a general practitioner in the Brisbane suburb of Nundah for the past 53 years, but was also well known for his supervision of the delivery of more than 2000 babies at the old Boothville Hospital.

In the 1950s he delivered even more children, at the former Nundah Private Hospital, which later became Cadogan House.

Although he was a GP, he took a particular interest in obstetrics and was one of the Brisbane pioneers of childbirth centred on the needs of mothers and children. Life as an obstetric GP was often eventful. On one occasion, a worried father rang up and said: "Doctor, doctor. You must come to help my wife. She is having her third baby. I have managed to help her with the other two, but I am not sure what to do this time. The baby is coming out head first."


Dr Elliott grew up in Toowong in Brisbane’s inner-west, attending Toowong State School and then the Church of England Grammar School.

His interest in medicine was sparked when he was in the army. He joined up in 1942 and served as a 2nd lieutenant in New Guinea, where he was forced to treat his men and the local villagers using only his basic army medical kit.

On his return to Brisbane after the war he took up medical studies at the University of Queensland and in 1948 won a prestigious Rhodes scholarship. He used the scholarship to travel to England to complete his Bachelor of Medical Science at Oxford University, while residing in Balliol College.

Despite the pressure of study he found time to pursue his three sporting loves - rugby, cricket and tennis.

He also managed to find enough time to socialise, meeting and marrying Jessamine Arthur. The couple first met when Dr Elliott and a male friend went to the Oxford sailing club, only to find two young women sailing off in the last boat. The young man initially fumed but then called out a dinner invitation. It was accepted, and a happy 55-year marriage followed.

Two children quickly arrived before they went home to Brisbane in 1957 (where three more children were later born).

That same year, Dr Elliott bought into Arthur Crawford’s medical practice on the corner of Eton Street and Sandgate Road in Nundah. Over the next 32 years the practice became locally famous. Dr Elliott offered a full medical service, from cradle to grave, with after-hours house calls, to hundreds of grateful families in north Brisbane.

Dr Elliott was also active in the care of the mentally ill and founded the Queensland branch of the Richmond Fellowship, an organisation that seeks to ease the transition back into mainstream society of those recovering from mental illness. With the financial support of the Church of England Men’s Society, he pushed for the construction of a northside facility for the mentally ill. The Richmond Fellowship halfway house was duly opened in Clayfield in the 1970s. It is still there, and has assisted hundreds of young adults with their mental health recovery.

A central feature of Dr Elliott’s life was his strong, practical Christian faith. He and his wife attended St Francis Anglican Church at Nundah, where they were active in all aspects of parish life. Their shared desire for a cross-denominational Christian community life also led to them joining the Emmanuel Covenant Community.

Dr Elliott eventually retired from full-time medical practice in 1989, although he continued to work part-time in other Brisbane practices and from his home in Northgate. He also did occasional locums (relief work) for his son, Charles, who followed him into the profession, at his practice in Pomona in the Noosa hinterland.

After two weeks in hospital last December, Dr Elliott’s family brought him home for Christmas. A week later, surrounded by family and in the medical care of his two doctor sons, he died peacefully in his sleep.

Dr Elliott is survived by his wife Jess, children Charles, John, Tom, Mary and Lucy, and 15 grandchildren.

Dr Charles Edward Elliott
General practitioner
Born: August 10, 1922, Brisbane
Died: January 2, 2010, Brisbane

The above article was published in the Northside Chronicle

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Clan Chief Margaret Eliott
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