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Guido Saverio Carlo Mayrhofer (1898–1968)

by Wendy Birman

This article was published:

Guido Saverio Carlo Mayrhofer (1898-1968), medical practitioner, was born on 1 March 1898 in Perth, eldest of six children of Alberto Fortunato Mayrhofer, a merchant and picture-framer from Naples, Italy, and his Victorian-born wife Mabel Emma, née Allpress. Educated at the Christian Brothers' College, Perth, Guido won a government exhibition in 1914 to the University of Western Australia (B.A., 1917) and graduated with first-class honours in Greek and Latin. He then studied medicine at the University of Melbourne (M.B., B.S., 1923). Successively junior resident at the Perth Public (Royal Perth) and Children's (Princess Margaret) hospitals, he retained honorary clinical appointments with both institutions and by 1953 was honorary consultant physician to the Princess Margaret Hospital.

In 1927 Mayrhofer had joined a partnership with Dr D. R. C. Tregonning at Claremont; he remained in general practice there for more than four decades but never lost his interest in the broad conspectus of medical science. On 10 July 1937 at Claremont Presbyterian Church he married Elsa Pauline Shearer, a teacher. Described as 'somewhat slow and deliberate in manner, and painstaking to the nth degree', though with 'a tendency to unpunctuality', he was a competent diagnostician, never hesitating to refer and, therefore, a highly trusted family physician. He was a much-appreciated medical officer for the town of Claremont and for twenty-eight years doctor and friend to St George's College.

His investigative qualities led Mayrhofer to pursue exacting epidemiological research by collecting case histories from his patients and collating selected specimens for examination in the State public health laboratory. Reputedly he was 'the first doctor in general practice in Australia to take the time' to help establish the overall pattern of virus infection in the community. Welcoming the establishment of a medical school in Western Australia (1958), he regularly attended clinical meetings at Royal Perth Hospital to keep abreast of current procedures. He soon formed a working relationship with such faculty members as professors Neville Stanley and Eric Saint.

Mayrhofer was of average height, balding and with a twinkle in his dark eyes; his mildly absent-minded demeanour belied his inner strength. Well read, a philosopher and talented violinist, he was vice-president of the Royal Schools of Music (Western Australia) and a member the Perth Chamber Music Club. He regularly played in a string quartet whose performances were praised by music critic Albert Kornweibel. Mayrhofer died of myocardial infarction on 28 February 1968 in hospital at Subiaco and was cremated. His wife and their two daughters survived him. In June 1969 the (Royal) Australian College of General Practitioners—of which he had been an active promoter in Western Australia and a founding member—posthumously awarded him the Francis Hardey Faulding memorial research prize and bronze medal for his work Some Observations on Virus Diseases in General Practice (1967).

Select Bibliography

  • Daily News (Perth), 29 Feb 1968, p 12
  • Critic (Perth), 10 Apr 1968, p 79
  • West Australian, 12 June 1969
  • private information.

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Citation details

Wendy Birman, 'Mayrhofer, Guido Saverio Carlo (1898–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 20 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne University Press), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 March, 1898
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


25 February, 1968 (aged 69)
Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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