BATCHELOR, Ferdinand Campion
Lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology in the University of Otago and a leader in New Zealand medicine.
Batchelor was born in 1850 on Norfolk Island, where his father was the Church of England chaplain. He was educated in England, where at the age of 16 he was apprenticed to a country medical practitioner in Essex. Subsequently he attended Guy's Hospital Medical School, qualifying in medicine in 1871. He commenced medical practice at Stratford-on-Avon when an attack of haemoptysis led him to decide to emigrate to New Zealand. He came out as medical officer on the Margaret Galbraith and settled in Dunedin in general practice in 1874. In 1877 he was appointed a member of the honorary staff of the Dunedin Hospital, and in 1886 to the position of lecturer in the Medical School of the University of Otago. Throughout the next 26 years he held this position and built up a Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. At the age of 65 he served in the First World War and was responsible for the organisation to control venereal disease in New Zealand troops in Cairo.
Ferdinand Batchelor was a man of commanding presence and of a dynamic personality. He was a natural leader of men and throughout his life led many campaigns to improve the conditions in the Dunedin Hospital and Medical School. He was largely responsible for the provision of better operating facilities in the hospital; for the introduction of bacteriology into medical teaching and hospital practice; for the introduction of diagnostic radiology; and for the securing of an obstetrical hospital for teaching medical students. Professionally he was to the fore in gynaecology. In 1891 he published his findings of 100 cases of abdominal surgery at a time when abdominal surgery was still in its infancy. He resigned his lectureship in obstetrics and gynaecology in 1909.
He was president of the first Intercolonial Medical Congress held in Dunedin in 1896 and was a leader in all medical matters in Dunedin, and indeed in New Zealand. He died at Ocean Beach, St. Kilda, Dunedin, on 31 August 1915.
Batchelor was a man of tremendous energy, full of new ideas which he advanced with great and sometimes impetuous advocacy. In Dunedin no citizen was more highly respected. A Batchelor Memorial Medal was struck to commemorate his great contribution to New Zealand medicine.
In 1872, at Ochendon, England, Batchelor married Eliza Annie Jordison, by whom he had one son and two daughters. He later married Margaret Forbes Thomson (who predeceased him) in 1906, at Invercargill.
by Charles Ernest Hercus, KT., D.S.O., O.B.E., U.D., M.B. CH.B.(N.Z.), M.D., D.P.H., B.D.S., F.R.C.P., F.R.A.C.P., F.R.A.C.S., Emeritus Professor, University of Otago.
- Medical Practice in Otago and Southland in the Early Days, Fulton, R. U. (1922)
- Annals of the University of Otago Medical School, 1875–1939, Carmalt Jones, D. W. (1945)
- The Otago Medical School under the First Three Deans, Hercus, C. E., and Bell, F. G. (1964).