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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Goddard, Thomas Herbert (1885–1967)

by K. S. Millingen

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

Thomas Herbert Goddard (1885-1967), medical practitioner, was born on 26 March 1885 at Newcastle, New South Wales, third of seven sons of Alfred Russell Goddard, a coach-painter from England, and his Irish-born wife Eliza Jane, née Cowan. Tommy was educated at East Maitland Boys' High School and the University of Sydney (B.A., 1904; M.B., 1914). Appointed medical officer to the Mount Bischoff Mine, Waratah, Tasmania, in 1914, in the following year he became resident medical officer at the General Hospital, Hobart. On 19 January 1916 at St George's Anglican Church, Burnie, he married Dagmar Charlotte Jones. Goddard had been promoted superintendent of the hospital in 1915. Following a staffing dispute in 1917 between the Tasmanian government and the local branch of the British Medical Association, he resigned in solidarity with the B.M.A.; with characteristic 'sweet reasonableness' he remained until his replacement was acquainted with the patients.

In 1915-18 Goddard served as an honorary captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps, Militia. He then worked as officer-in-charge of the quarantine station at Barnes Bay, Bruny Island. After a suspected influenza contact had been disembarked from H.M.S. New Zealand with Admiral Lord Jellicoe on board, Goddard recorded the 'great privilege' of 'standing in our small motor boat to salute the victor of Jutland'. Goddard commenced general practice in Hobart in 1919. Next year he became honorary physician to the Tasmanian Sanatorium for Consumptives and gradually developed his interest in tuberculosis. Early in 1935 he represented the Tasmanian government at a meeting in Canberra to discuss control of the disease; in that year he also visited centres in Britain, Switzerland and the United States of America to study tuberculosis. He established a chest clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital in 1937 which provided the foundation for the State's tuberculosis campaign. In 1945 Goddard was appointed State director of tuberculosis. Over the next five years Tasmania introduced a voluntary, then a compulsory, community X-ray survey, and set up a central case register.

As president of the local branch of the B.M.A., in 1947 Goddard delivered the annual address, providing a comprehensive description of the administration, organization, logistics and results of tuberculosis control in Tasmania. He was a member (1915-56) of the St John Ambulance Brigade, director (1917) of Red Cross in Tasmania and was appointed a knight of the Order of St John (1945). President (1925) of the Alliance Française and, in the 1930s, honorary consular agent for France, he had a burning passion for the cause of the Free French in World War II. With a tremendous enthusiasm for life, irrepressible cheerfulness and selflessness, he played the cello and royal tennis, and was honorary medical officer to the Tasmanian Football League and medical officer to the 111th Australian General Hospital. In 1955 he was appointed C.B.E. He retired two years later.

Following his wife's death, Goddard lived with his daughter and son-in-law at St Raphael, France. He died there on 17 February 1967 and was cremated; his daughter survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • C. Craig, Launceston General Hospital (Hob, 1963)
  • W. G. Rimmer, Portrait of a Hospital (Hob, 1981)
  • R. M. Porter and T. C. Boag, The Australian Tuberculosis Campaign (Melb, 1991?)
  • A. J. Proust (ed), History of Tuberculosis (Canb, 1991)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 22 July 1967, 20 Sept 1993
  • Mercury (Hobart), 1 Jan 1941, 20 Feb, 3, 13, 15 May 1967
  • T. H. Goddard, The Struggle Against TB in Tasmania 1905-1950 (Archives Office of Tasmania)
  • private information.

Citation details

K. S. Millingen, 'Goddard, Thomas Herbert (1885–1967)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 22 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

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