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Conrick, Horatio Victor Patrick (1882–1960)

by W. M. Chamberlain

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Horatio Victor Patrick Conrick (1882-1960), medical practitioner, was born on 27 May 1882 at Fitzroy, Melbourne, son of Michael Francis Conrick, bank manager, and his wife Christina, née Love, both of whom were native-born. Educated at the Christian Brothers' School, St Kilda, he worked as a bank clerk before studying medicine at the University of Melbourne (M.B., B.S., 1910); he then became resident medical officer at Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Brisbane.

In January 1914 Conrick was commissioned captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps; when war broke out he was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force and posted to the 3rd Field Ambulance, A.A.M.C. He embarked for Egypt in September, served throughout the Gallipoli campaign and was mentioned in dispatches in August and December 1915. In January 1916 he was appointed to the 2nd Australian General Hospital in Egypt and a month later was promoted major. He was then transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital and left for the Western Front in April.

After a period as medical officer-in-charge, Anzac Base Details, he was attached to the Australian Voluntary Hospital in July, then for the rest of 1916 held appointments with the 2nd A.G.H. and the 5th and 7th Field Ambulances. He was serving with the latter unit when his award of the Distinguished Service order was gazetted in July 1917: showing 'fearlessness and disregard for his personal safety', he had 'proceeded to the scene of an explosion under very heavy shell fire and personally directed the removal of the wounded'. Later that year he served with the 1st and 15th Field Ambulances, the 10th Casualty Clearing Station and the 24th Battalion. He was made temporary lieutenant-colonel and senior medical officer at the 2nd Command Convalescent Depot in November and was again mentioned in dispatches. From 3 April to 24 May 1918 he commanded the 8th Field Ambulance; his rank was confirmed on 1 May.

Conrick embarked for Australia in June 1918 and was demobilized in August. On 12 September, at St Mary's Catholic Church, North Sydney, he married Mary Frances Punch. They settled at North Sydney and Conrick resumed medical practice; concentrating on children's medicine, he held appointments at the Renwick Hospital for Infants, Sydney, from 1922 and was honorary consulting surgeon there from 1957 until his death. From the late 1940s he was honorary assistant physician at Mater Misericordiae General Hospital and for several years was New South Wales representative on the council of the British Medical Association. He kept up an active interest in the A.A.M.C. until 1943 when he was placed on the retired list with the rank of lieutenant-colonel; in 1931 he had been awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration.

Survived by his wife and two daughters, Conrick died on 18 July 1960 and was buried in the Catholic section of Gore Hill cemetery. His estate was sworn for probate at £2442. Throughout his life his main hobbies were art collecting, music, tennis and swimming. Conrick was a tall, well-built man with a military carriage and a jovial manner. His gentleness and rapport with children were exceptional.

Select Bibliography

  • A. G. Butler (ed), The Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War of 1914-1918, vol 1 (Canb, 1930)
  • University of Melbourne, Record of Active Service of Teachers, Graduates, Undergraduates, Officers and Servants in the European War, 1914-1918 (Melb, 1926)
  • London Gazette, 28 Jan, 11 July 1916, 28 Dec 1917
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 1960
  • records (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

W. M. Chamberlain, 'Conrick, Horatio Victor Patrick (1882–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/conrick-horatio-victor-patrick-5757/text9753, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 19 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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