Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Sir Philip Sydney Jones (1836–1918)

by John Garrett

This article was published:

Philip Jones, n.d.

Philip Jones, n.d.

photo provided by family

Sir Philip Sydney Jones (1836-1918), physician and surgeon, was born on 15 April 1836 at Sydney, the second son of David Jones and his second wife Jane Hall, née Mander. Educated in Sydney at the schools of William Timothy Cape, T. S. Dodds at Surry Hills and Henry Cary at Darling Point, he went in 1853 to University College, University of London (M.B., 1859; M.D., 1860). In 1861 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons by examination, was house surgeon, house physician and resident medical officer in University College Hospital, studied in Paris and returned to Sydney.

Jones opened a practice in College Street. In 1862-72 he was honorary surgeon at the Sydney Infirmary where he performed the first successful reported ovariotomy in 1870. In 1873 he became honorary consulting surgeon. A member of the building committee of Prince Alfred Hospital, he was a director in 1878-83 and in 1904-18 and an honorary consulting physician from 1887. In 1873 he was appointed to the New South Wales Board of Health. He visited Europe in 1875 and on his return in 1876 gave up general practice and became one of the first consulting physicians. In that year he moved his home to Strathfield while keeping his rooms in the city. In 1881 he sat on the royal commission on quarantine. In 1883-86 he visited Europe and in 1883 represented the New South Wales government at the Medical Congress in Amsterdam. Interested in science and education, he was an examiner in clinical medicine at the University of Sydney, a fellow of its senate in 1887-1918 and vice-chancellor in 1904-06. He was a founding member of the Linnean Society in 1875, a member of the Royal Society of New South Wales from 1867 and honorary secretary of its medical section and a trustee of the Australian Museum until 1918. In 1892 he was president of the third session of the Intercolonial Medical Congress of Australasia. In 1895 he served on the royal commission on the notorious poisoner, George Dean; against J. E. Rogers but with Dr Frederic Manning he found the evidence compatible with attempted suicide and secured Dean's release. In 1896-97 he was president of the New South Wales branch of the British Medical Association, and in 1909 of the New South Wales Medical Board.

Jones strongly believed in the open-air treatment of tuberculosis and was a founder of the Queen Victoria Homes for Consumptives which in 1897 took over John Goodlet's sanatorium at Thirlmere. He was president of the King's Tableland Sanatorium for Consumptives at Wentworth Falls and in 1912 was appointed to the Tuberculosis Advisory Board. In 1914 he was a leader in founding the National Association for the Prevention and Cure of Consumption and was its first president. He published several papers on the dissemination and treatment of the disease. In 1905 he was knighted for his work in combating tuberculosis.

Charitable and philanthropic, Jones was honorary medical officer of the City Night Refuge, vice-president of the New South Wales Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind and a strong supporter of the Kindergarten Union. A devout Congregationalist, he was deacon first at Pitt Street, then at Burwood and in 1889 at Trinity Church, Strathfield, which seceded with its minister from Burwood. He worked for the Congregational Union of New South Wales and the auxiliary to the London Missionary Society and was a member of council of Camden College, the Congregational theological college. Grave and shy in manner, he put service before ambition. Never physically strong he conserved his energies and was active in old age. He died on 18 September 1918 and was buried in the Congregational section of Rookwood cemetery. He was predeceased by his wife Hannah Howard (d.1892), daughter of Rev. George Charter, whom he married at Wollongong on 8 April 1863. They were survived by three sons and four daughters to whom he left £61,000.

A portrait by Percy Spence is in the Great Hall, University of Sydney.

Select Bibliography

  • E. Digby (ed), Australian Men of Mark, vol 1 (Syd, 1889)
  • C. Pearl, Wild Men of Sydney (Lond, 1958)
  • J. A. Garrett and L. W. Farr, Camden College: A Centenary History (Syd, 1964)
  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1894-95, 3, 679, 707
  • Medical Journal of Australia, Sept 1913
  • R. Scot Skirving, 'Surgery and Surgeons in Edinburgh and Sydney Over Forty Years Ago', Medical Journal of Australia, 13 Mar 1926, pp 290-300
  • A. Jackson, The Days of David Jones (David Jones Ltd Archives, Sydney)
  • printed and periodical catalogues under P. S. Jones (State Library of New South Wales).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

John Garrett, 'Jones, Sir Philip Sydney (1836–1918)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 23 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Philip Jones, n.d.

Philip Jones, n.d.

photo provided by family

Life Summary [details]


15 April, 1836
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


18 September, 1918 (aged 82)
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.

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