Alex Sinclair

President 1959

Dr Alex Sinclair was a leader in the medical profession, and in the 1950s was described by his peers as the 'doyen of private psychiatrists in Australia'.

Dr Sinclair started out in general practice before joining the Australian Army Medical Corps. As the only doctor with psychiatric experience during the siege of Tobruk he cared for the many casualties with war neurosis. This had a huge influence on his career, and for the remainder of his professional life he had an interest and exceptional skill in treating patients with neurotic disorders.

Following the war, Dr Sinclair set up private practice with an associate for a few years and then moved to the Epworth Hospital, attracting a wide range of patients from all walks of life. He continued to consult for the Australian Army with the rank of Colonel, and at the same time devoted a lot of time to the prestigious appointment of Honorary Psychiatrist to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he continued for twenty years until 1965. 

Dr Sinclair was also Honorary Psychiatrist to the Austin Hospital and the National Heart Foundation, and Visiting Psychiatrist to the Repatriation General Hospital. He was awarded a Carnegie Travelling Fellowship in 1948 and worked with Dr John Romano in Rochester. 

In 1957 he was invited by the Australian Government to design a psychiatric service for Papua New Guinea. He wrote an extraordinary report on the mental health needs of the local Indigenous populations and supervised the establishment of psychiatric facilities in that country. 

When the Australasian Association of Psychiatrists (AAP) was established Dr Sinclair served as the inaugural Honorary Secretary for four years. He was a member of the Board of Censors and became President in 1959. Dr Sinclair played a major part in the transformation of the AAP from an association to a College. He was a Council Member of the BMA and when the AMA was formed became the Victorian Delegate to the Federal Assembly, served on the Ethics, Organisation and Legislative committee, as well as being elected Vice-President and then President, of the Victorian Branch of the AMA. 

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