In this section
DU Deakin Honoris Causa, FRACP, FRCP Ed., MRCS, LRCP,
D Obst RCOG, DCH.
Jim was born in New
York. His mother Mary Rossiter (Nee
Haselton) was part of an old Puritan family.
His father, Ted Rossiter, was a British Army Officer of Polish descent.
After having moved with his family to Oregon at an early age, he went on to
attend a Technical Secondary School where he studied engineering, then, at the
age of 17, he attended Harvard University for one year.
The family then moved to
England in 1950 where Jim began his medical studies at London University, doing
his preclinical years at Barts, and his clinical years at the West London
Hospital. During this time he met and
married Jane Luckin.
In 1964 at the request of a
friend, Jim, Jane and their five children came to Warnambool, Jim as a
GP/Paediatrician. In 1969, now with six
children, they moved to Geelong, where Jim set up a Paediatric Department at
the Geelong Hospital and became the first fulltime Paediatrician to practice in
a regional centre in Victoria.
During the following years he
helped to establish numerous community organisations, all the time focussing on
the needs of the disadvantaged. These
included the Barwon Region Children’s Welfare Association, the Barwon Region
Child Health Centre, The Courthouse Centre, and the Geelong Youth Resource
In the early 1980s as
Chairman of the Deakin University Research and Ethics Committee, Jim discovered
that the research of one of the University’s high profile professors was
falsified. While he was supported by the
Vice Chancellor, many of the community disagreed. As commonly happens with whistle blowers,
Jim’s actions generated considerable resistance and animosity. Although his pursuit of the truth had an
impact on him both professionally and personally, he was eventually vindicated.
In 2003 Deakin University awarded
him an honorary doctorate for services to Deakin University including his
contribution to Research Ethics.
Jim was a good clinician,
well read and up to date. He was always
on time, unless he had rung to explain his delay. He carried out a research study using a
cohort of Geelong children to study the effect of seizures on cognitive
outcomes; and wrote numerous other papers.
One of these was on the use of Hexachlorophene on umbilical stumps, and
this helped alter practices Australia wide.
Jim was on many hospital committees, and took part in many outreach
He retired in March 1996. He
retained a strong commitment to United Way (now Give Where You Live) the major
fund raiser for the region, as well as to MAPW and ICAN.
In the mid 1980s, together with
his second wife, Susan, and her three children, he bought an old house on 5
acres of land and proceeded to turn these into a comfortable home and a very
productive and beautiful garden.
Throughout his life he
maintained his strong link to the Belmont Uniting Church, and his spiritual
beliefs influenced his medical practice and his priorities.
In 2001 he was deservedly
made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Child Health and the
His life was well lived very
much to our benefit.