Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Wilton Wood Russell Love (1861–1933)

by C. A. C. Leggett

This article was published:

Wilton Wood Russell Love (1861-1933), medical practitioner, was born on 16 November 1861 at Hollymount, Mayo, Ireland, son of Rev. James Love, United Presbyterian minister and Hebrew scholar, and his wife Mary, née Russell, of Belfast. The family migrated to Queensland in 1862. James Love soon became founding minister of the Presbyterian Church, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, but in 1871 entered the Anglican communion and in 1878 became the first rector of Lutwyche parish, Fortitude Valley.

Love was a distinguished student at Brisbane Grammar School. Dux in 1877-78, he won the gold and silver Lilley medals, the John West medal for senior public examinations, University of Sydney, the Queensland exhibition which he took out at the University of Edinburgh, and the Thomson bursary. At Edinburgh in 1884 he graduated M.B., Ch.M. and then served as house surgeon and physician at the Royal Infirmary.

Love's outstanding lifelong career in general medicine in Queensland began in 1886. A pioneer in bacteriology, pathology and the use of diathermy and X-rays, he also lectured in chemistry at the Brisbane Technical and Pharmacy colleges. He had one of the first X-ray plants in Queensland and introduced X-ray investigations to the Children's Hospital. His first X-ray equipment had consisted of a 6-inch spark coil with a mercurial interrupter; the primary current was derived from a bichromate battery. Over time the apparatus became more powerful. By 1897 Love's radiographs were referred to in medical journals. He frequently assisted the Department of Police in microscopic forensic work.

Love's medicine was based soundly on general medical and classical traditions. The medical journals to which he contributed included the Lancet. Conversant with ancient Greek, he aptly illustrated his spoken and written discourses with classical allusions. He was a splendid raconteur and his personality and accomplishments attracted public office. At various times he was secretary of the Queensland Central Board of Health and of Australasian Medical congresses (1899, 1920); president of the Queensland Medical Society; councillor and president of the Queensland branch of the British Medical Association and member of the B.M.A.'s federal committee; and foundation fellow of the College of Surgeons of Australasia. He was a consulting surgeon to the Brisbane Children's Hospital, the Lady Lamington Hospital for women and the Lady Bowen maternity hospital. He served as a foundation member of the Senate of the University of Queensland in 1910-16, and was a member of the Queensland Club. Love's 'serene and unruffled, courteous though firm manner' helps to explain his popularity as a children's and women's doctor.

Love had married Lucy Davidson, daughter of a surveyor-general of Queensland, on 8 May 1888 at Milton; she predeceased him. He died at his historic home, Bulimba House, on 3 January 1933, survived by two daughters and a son, and was buried in Toowong cemetery with Church of England rites.

Love had been an enthusiastic bird-lover and subscribed to G. M. Mathews' Birds of Australia. On his death his family presented a bound set of these plates with an illuminated screed to the University of Queensland.

Select Bibliography

  • Alcazar Press, Queensland 1900 (Brisb, no date)
  • W. Watson and Sons Ltd, Salute to the X-ray Pioneers of Australia (Syd, 1946)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 25 Mar 1933, p 386
  • Brisbane Courier, 4 Jan 1933
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jan 1933
  • Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 19 Mar 1933
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 20 Mar 1933
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

C. A. C. Leggett, 'Love, Wilton Wood Russell (1861–1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 23 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne University Press), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


16 November, 1861
Hollymount, Mayo, Ireland


3 January, 1933 (aged 71)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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