Anthony D Holmes

  • M.B.B.S., F.R.A.C.S.

    Plastics – Tony Holmes

    “Early in my career the favourite part of my job was achieving a good surgical outcome for a challenging deformity. However, as each individual matured, I was able to follow their development and almost become part of their family. Repairing and watching a deformed child develop from a baby to an adult and see them become socially competent and successful probably gives me the most satisfaction of all.”

    Tony Holmes holds an Honorary position at The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) after a long and distinguished career in Plastic Surgery spanning well over 40 years.  He is qualified in both General Surgery and Plastic Surgery. Tony trained in both Australia and at Harvard Medical School and was fortunate to study under some of the giants of reconstructive surgery. His Plastic and Reconstructive training included working with Ian Taylor, renowned Australian microsurgical pioneer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and, in the Boston Children’s Hospital, training under Professor Joseph E Murray, Nobel Laureate for his role in pioneering organ transplantation.

    During his nearly three years in the Harvard system, Tony also worked regularly with Paul Tessier, the French pioneer of the then new specialty of Craniofacial Surgery.

    Returning to Melbourne, Tony set up Victoria’s Melbourne Craniofacial Unit in 1979 and remained Head of Unit until 2009. This unit is the largest and busiest in Australia (and probably in the southern hemisphere), and is currently headed by Jonathan Burge.

    Tony was also Director of the RCH Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery from 1990 to 2003.

    Tony's surgical passion is major facial reconstruction and he has refined and developed new procedures to cope with many major and difficult craniofacial and nasal reconstructive problems. Tony has presented, lectured and published extensively, nationally and internationally.

    Tony has been awarded the RCH Medical Staff’s Elizabeth Turner Medal for clinical excellence (2004) and the RCH Chairman’s Medal for outstanding service (2008). In 2010 Tony was the recipient of the annual McIndoe Medal and Lectureship of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons in London. In 2012 he was the inaugural Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Visiting Professor in Boston.

    In 2018, Tony was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for "distinguished service to medicine, particularly to reconstructive and craniofacial surgery, as a leader, clinician and educator”.

    Tony has trained nearly 40 Craniofacial Fellows, the majority of whom have gone on to become Heads of Departments, here and overseas. Tony is extremely proud to be part of a wonderful team who have developed a leading world centre at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.

    In 1990 Tony set up the Melbourne Children's Craniofacial Foundation which has subsequently been re-named The Jigsaw Foundation. This Foundation supports the surgical specialist training, teaching and research relating to Craniofacial Disorders. One of the Foundation’s major achievements in recent years is the academic endowment of the University of Melbourne’s Jigsaw Professorship of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery. The position is currently held by Anthony Penington.

    Special interests

    Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery, Craniofacial Surgery, Clinical Cranio-Maxillofacial Research and nasal reconstruction


    1963-1969 M.B.B.S with honours in Biology, Physiology, Medical Pyschology, and Surgery – University of Melbourne 
    1970-1974 General Surgery Training – The Royal Melbourne Hospital
    1975-1978 Plastic Surgery Training – Royal Melbourne Hospital
    1971 Plastic Surgery Resident – Royal Melbourne Hospital
    1975 Senior Plastic Surgery Registrar – Royal Melbourne Hospital
    1976-1978 Plastic Surgery Residency – Harvard Medical School
    1978 Fellow in Plastic Surgery – Harvard Medical School


    1974 Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
    1982 Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery

    Academic appointments

    1981-2011 Associate, Dept of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne    
    2011-Present Clinical Professor, Dept of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne

    Hospital appointments

    1978-Present Consultant Plastic Surgeon – The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
    1979-2009 Head, The Melbourne Craniofacial Unit – The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
    1979-Present Consultant Plastic Surgeon – Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit
    1979-1989 Consultant Plastic Surgeon – Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne
    1979-1980 Consultant Plastic Surgeon – Peter MacCallum Hospital, Melbourne
    1989-2003 Head of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne


    1970 Australian Medical Association
    1982 Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
    1984 Australian Association of Surgeons
    1984 American Society of Plastic Surgeons
    1990 Australian Cleft Lip & Palate Association
    1995 Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
    1995 Associate Member, The Neurosurgical Society of Australasia Inc.
    1998 Asia Pacific Craniofacial Association