Alumni

Rossiter, Edward Janes Ross (Jim) AM

  • (30. 3. 1931 – 15. 2. 2018)EJR Rossiter

    Academic qualifications

    DU Deakin Honoris Causa, FRACP, FRCP Ed., MRCS, LRCP, D Obst RCOG, DCH. 

    Beginnings

    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.

    The move to Australia

    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.  

    Subsequent career

    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 Centre.

    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 clinics.

    Retirement

    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.

    Honours

    In 2001 he was deservedly made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Child Health and the Geelong Community.

     

    The last word

    His life was well lived very much to our benefit.