Gold, Hugo OAM

  • Hugo GoldEarly years

    Hugo Gold was born in Vienna, Austria in 1937, at a time when the storm clouds were gathering in Europe. He was fortunate to be able to escape the holocaust which destroyed most of European Jewry and migrated to Australia in March 1939.

    Hugo was educated at Brighton Road State School, Caulfield Central School and Melbourne High School. He matriculated in 1954 with a Senior scholarship and the exhibition in Biology. He entered the Melbourne medical school the following year, graduating in 1960.

    He was a JRMO at the Royal Melbourne hospital, and then at the RCH. He held registrar appointments at the RCH and RMH.

    In 1965 he was awarded the Cleveland Exchange Fellowship from the RMH, to Case Western Reserve Rainbow Babies’ and Children’s Hospital, where he developed an interest in paediatric endocrinology and performed research studies on some of the first patients to be treated with human growth hormone. In 1967, he took a paediatric registrar appointment at Whipp’s Cross Hospital in London, returning to Melbourne at the end of 1968.


    Hugo met his wife Lorraine at the RCH, and they married in 1965 prior to leaving for the USA.

    They have 5 children, 4 girls and a boy. Two are doctors. They have 9 grandchildren and one great grandson. 

    Degrees, awards, etc

    • MBBS (Melb) 1960
    • MRCP, DCH London
    • FRACP
    • Associate Professor, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics
    • Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Teachers (FACTS), the University of Melbourne
    • RCH Gold Medal 2008
    • Elizabeth Turner Medal 2013
    • Hans Joachim Schwager International Award for clinical ethics consultation 2013 (as clinical director of CBC)
    • Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) 2023

    Career highlights

    Hugo’s career always combined a major commitment to public hospital practice with a busy private practice. He held consultant positions at a wide range of hospitals including in the early years Box Hill and the Royal Women’s hospital. From 1969 until 2008 he was Senior Paediatrician at Footscray –Western General Hospital, with a wide general paediatric practice ranging from neonatology to behavioural and learning disabilities.

    Queen Victoria Hospital/ Monash medical Centre

    Hugo joined the staff of Queen Victoria Hospital in 1975 as a general paediatrician in Dr Rae Matthews’ unit. Following the move to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton in 1982 he became the first head of paediatric endocrinology and diabetes. The highlights of that period included the establishment of the neonatal thyroid screening program with Dr John Connolly, obtaining funding from Kabi/Pharmacia for a paediatric endocrinology fellowship awarded to Dr Christine Rodda, and the establishment of a multidisciplinary paediatric diabetes service.

    The Royal Children’s Hospital

    Hugo’s involvement with the RCH began as a JRMO in 1962, the last year of the RCH occupancy of the Carlton site. He was one of the first JRMOs to move across to the Parkville campus to await the transfer of patients, and to celebrate the occasion shared a bottle of Ballarat Bitter with the late Jim Wearing-Smith. This bottle has been preserved and is now represents the Gold award for out-of-the-box achievements by junior staff. With the move to the new hospital, Hugo had the rare distinction of having worked in three RCH campuses.

    Hugo joined the consultant staff of the RCH in 1969 as an outpatient physician in Dr Elizabeth Turner’s unit. He left to take up a senior consultant role at the Queen Victoria hospital in 1975, returning to the RCH as Physician and Head of Unit in 1988 until 2010 and continued as a consultant physician until 2014.

    Hugo was on the executive of the MSA at RCH and became the chair in 1998, during a turbulent and complex EBA negotiation complicated by a major limitation of salary packaging arrangements.

    Hugo was a member of the Board of the RCH Foundation from 2004 to 2012.

    Clinical ethics and the Children’s Bioethics Centre

    Clinical Ethics became a major interest in 2004, when Hugo became the first chairman of the re-established clinical ethics committee. He succeeded in having Lynn Gillam appointed as ethicist to the committee, with Dr Cath Lees as administrator. In 2008 the Children’s Bioethics Centre (CBC) was established with Hugo as the clinical director, a position he held until 2014. Hugo regards the CBC as his major contribution to the RCH. He recently became the Patron of the CBC Development Board.

    Other interests

    A lifelong Demons supporter, Hugo was a keen squash player and still plays tennis and golf. He is taken for long walks by his dog, Alfie, a Hungarian Vizla.

    He enjoys the theatre, jazz and musicals, reading and with Lorraine, travel, particularly to Africa. He continues adult education, particularly in Jewish Studies and religion.

    Importantly, he has a close involvement with his grandchildren, for whom he provides an Uber service.