Our History

The Department of Gastroenterology at St Vincent's Hospital was first established in 1978 with Dr Kerry Breen as staff gastroenterologist and Dr Luke Murphy, Dr Peter Davies and Professor Greg Whelan as physicians to the Department. Prior to this, however, St Vincent's had a significant gastroenterological presence. In the 1950s, Dr John Horan was one of the first physicians in Australia to undertake gastroscopy, using a semi-rigid endoscope, and later he and Dr Luke Murphy provided a diagnostic service for gastric pathology using the gastro-camera. In the early 1970s, St Vincent's became one of the first hospitals in Australia to use a fibreoptic endoscope after Dr Luke Murphy underwent training in Japan. Dr Jim Rankin was appointed as second assistant to the Department of Medicine and was the first trained hepatologist at this institution. Professor Greg Whelan came to St Vincent's in 1970 after training at the Royal Free Hospital under Professor Shelia Sherlock, one of the leading centres in the world at that time for hepatology. Dr Kerry Breen was appointed as the first director of Gastroenterology in 1979. A/Prof Paul Desmond was the Director of Gastroenterology from 1985 - 2014. The current Director is Professor Alex Thompson, who was appointed in 2014.