Campbell, Peter Ellis

  • Dr Peter Campbell

    (17.10.1930 – 27.08.2015)

    Peter started working as a pathologist at the old hospital in Carlton in 1961 before The Royal Children’s Hospital moved to its next site in Parkville.  He was appointed Director of Anatomical Pathology in 1975 and held the position until 1990, when he stood down and worked part time until 1993.  He continued working at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology, where a room has been named after him, for over 10 years before he retired.

    During his time at the RCH there were many changes in diagnostic anatomical pathology including the introduction of enzyme histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy and molecular genetics.  In collaboration with Helen Noblett, he was involved in the introduction of suction rectal biopsy for the diagnosis of Hirschsprung’s disease.  He co-edited with Peter Jones the textbook Tumours of Infancy and Childhood. Following in the footsteps of Dr Alan Williams, his predecessor, he had a special interest in sudden infant death syndrome, and he often met the parents of infants who had died, treating them with very deeply felt compassion. In addition to his many publications he was an excellent friend and colleague, with a cheerful and sometimes irreverent attitude, often helping to calm things down during tense situations.  

    At his farewell afternoon tea, when asked, “how would you like to be remembered?” Peter replied, with characteristic modesty, “for as short a time as possible.” 

    The hospitality of Peter and Helen, his wife, was legendary, and many of the colleagues at the Children’s as well as visitors from overseas will remember the wonderful time they had at the Campbell residence.

    Peter was President of the RCH ski club in 1963 when the Hotham Lodge was built, and he was an inspiring and enthusiastic leader in this project.

    Peter is survived by his wife Helen, his children Elizabeth, Janet, David, Andrew and Robert and his grandchildren.