Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Sir Thomas Moore Greenaway (1902–1980)

by Robert A. B. Holland

This article was published:

Sir Thomas Moore Greenaway (1902-1980), physician, was born on 1 June 1902 at Kogarah, Sydney, eldest of four sons of native-born parents Thomas Clarence Greenaway, mason's labourer, and his wife Dorothy Mary, née Lawrence. Educated at North Sydney Boys' High School, young Thomas claimed to be 19-year-old Reginald Thomas Gordon Greenaway when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 18 May 1918. Reaching Britain after the Armistice, he was briefly stationed in France with the 3rd Battalion in 1919.

Back home, Greenaway entered the University of Sydney (M.B., Ch.M., 1925); he was president (1923) of the undergraduates' association, won the A. E. Mills prize for medicine in his final examinations and tutored at St Andrew's College in 1927-28. At Royal Prince Alfred Hospital he was resident medical officer (1925-26) and medical registrar (1926-27). On 26 November 1927 he married Lavinia Figtree at St James's Anglican Church, Sydney. In 1928 he joined (Sir) Charles McDonald's general practice at Hurstville. Greenaway was appointed honorary clinical assistant at R.P.A.H. that year and honorary assistant-physician in 1929.

In 1934 he sailed to London where he attended courses, did the rounds—particularly at Guy's Hospital—and gained membership of the Royal College of Physicians (fellow 1951). On his return to Sydney, he practised as a consultant in Macquarie Street. He had been appointed captain, Australian Army Medical Corps, Militia, in 1925. Promoted major in 1932, he was honorary consulting physician to two army hospitals during World War II. Meanwhile, he conducted his busy practice and maintained his unit at the R.P.A.H. In 1948 he became a senior honorary physician at the hospital and was to hold that position until he reached the retiring age of 60 when he was made honorary consulting physician. Although he supported the postwar development of special units in R.P.A.H.'s department of medicine, he did not participate to a large extent, remaining a general physician with a specific interest in endocrinology.

A foundation fellow (1938) of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Greenaway was a member of its board of censors (examiners) in 1944-58 and censor-in-chief from 1954 to 1958. He upheld the college's standards for admission, while showing candidates the humane side of the examiners. Following terms as honorary treasurer (1949-50), member of the executive-committee (1949-50 and 1954-63) and councillor (1949-54), he was president of the college in 1960-62. He served on its New South Wales committee from 1949 to 1964.

In addition, Greenaway was a member of the board of directors of R.P.A.H. (1953-73), of the Medical Board (1963-73) and of the council of the State branch of the British Medical Association (1941-44). He tutored (1932-48), then lectured (until 1962), in clinical medicine at the University of Sydney, besides attending to his hospital duties. Although his primary association was with R.P.A.H., he was also a consulting physician at the St George, Ryde and Marrickville hospitals. In 1968 he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He was knighted that year.

Greenaway's few publications were clinical rather than scientific, but he appreciated the importance of clinical science, and a number of laboratory tests were routinely performed in his rooms. As medicine grew more technologically based, his example and teaching ensured that the patient was never forgotten. He was a superb practitioner of clinical medicine and set high standards. Those close to him, including students, residents and registrars, greatly enjoyed the association, and his rounds were popular and inspiring.

A tall man who retained his youthful good looks, Greenaway was erudite, engaging and witty. His charm was matched by his dedication and by a deep appreciation of the needs of his patients. That he was cultured and able to relax enhanced his professional worth. In his early years he had attended church regularly. He was able to quote from the Bible, and had a wide knowledge of literature, especially of Shakespeare. From 1940 to 1952 he lived at Cronulla and played tennis on Sunday afternoons at his home; he belonged to the Australian, Royal Sydney Golf and Elanora Country clubs.

About 1960 Greenaway began to suffer from Parkinson's disease. Aided by medical and surgical treatment, and exhibiting great courage, he continued to see patients until 1977. He died on 30 October 1980 at Terrey Hills and was cremated. His youngest brother Lawrence, who had entered the Anglican ministry after retiring from the Royal Australian Air Force, conducted the memorial service in R.P.A.H. chapel. Sir Thomas was survived by his wife, two daughters and son John who became a senior physician at the R.P.A.H. Graeme Inson's portrait of Greenaway is held by the R.A.C.P.

Select Bibliography

  • Munk's Roll, Royal College of Physicians (Lond, 1984)
  • G. L. McDonald (ed), Roll of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, vol 2 (Syd, 1994)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 16 May 1981
  • funeral address by Dr G. L. McDonald and other records (archives of Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney)
  • private information.

Citation details

Robert A. B. Holland, 'Greenaway, Sir Thomas Moore (1902–1980)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 20 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 June, 1902
Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


30 October, 1980 (aged 78)
Terrey Hills, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.