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Lindsey Page Winterbotham (1887–1960)

by Kathryn Frankland

This article was published:

Lindsey Page Winterbotham (1887-1960), medical practitioner and anthropologist, was born on 14 April 1887 in North Adelaide, eldest of three children of Lindsey Percy Winterbotham, a wool-scourer from England, and his South Australian-born wife Fanny, née de Mole. After attending the Collegiate School of St Peter, Lindsey studied medicine at the University of Adelaide for two years then transferred to the University of Melbourne (M.B., B.S., 1908). Moving to Queensland, he spent eighteen months as a resident medical officer at the Brisbane General Hospital. He held brief locum tenencies at several country towns before establishing his own practice at Lowood, west of Brisbane, in 1909. On 20 February 1912 at St Andrew's Church, South Brisbane, he married with Anglican rites Constance Mary Moore, a nurse. Next year he bought a practice on Ipswich Road at Annerley, Brisbane; he was to live there for the rest of his life.

On 1 January 1914 Winterbotham was appointed captain, Australian (Army) Medical Corps, Militia. During World War I, he served in training areas around Brisbane. He was honorary surgeon (1920-25) at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, South Brisbane, and for many years a visiting medical officer to the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution of Queensland. Active in the Queensland branch of the British Medical Association, he helped to organize the general practitioners' group of the association in 1939, serving as chairman until 1949; as president in 1944 he sought pay rises for R.M.O.s. He sat on many committees including one concerned with wartime petrol rationing, lectured in medical ethics at the University of Queensland and was patron (1943-44) of the university's medical society.

Inspired by a patient, Winterbotham became deeply interested in anthropology. He interviewed and corresponded with many Aborigines, among them William McKenzie, from the Kilcoy district. Developing a substantial oral history collection, he published the information in journals such as Mankind. Among his contributions were details of cultural practices of Aborigines from Cape York Peninsula (1948) and songs of the Jinibara people (1954). In 1951 his (E. Sandford) Jackson lecture, 'Primitive Medical Art and Primitive Medicine-Men of Australia', appeared in the Medical Journal of Australia. With H. J. Wilkinson and F. S. Colliver, he had established the Anthropological Society of Queensland in 1948. The society aimed to preserve the indigenous cultures of Australia, New Zealand, Papua and New Guinea. At the first meeting Wilkinson delivered a paper, 'An Introduction to Anthropology'. He was honorary secretary for the first two years and president in 1954-55.

In 1948 Winterbotham had donated his collection of artefacts to the University of Queensland, to encourage the formation of a museum to facilitate the teaching of anthropology. The university set up an ethnological museum with Winterbotham as honorary curator. After the State government provided a grant of £1000 for the museum in 1950, he wrote to station owners, medical practitioners and others around the country, and placed advertisements in local and national newspapers, outlining the types of material objects the museum wished to collect. Shire councils in Australia and missionaries in Papua and New Guinea acted as receiving agents. Five hundred individuals and organizations donated ten thousand objects. He remained honorary curator for the rest of his life.

Winterbotham was a deeply religious man. Sport was a passion: he was a lacrosse Blue, a president of the Annerley Bowling Club, a keen fisherman and an excellent shot. Stamp collecting and reading—especially the poetry of Rudyard Kipling—were other interests. He was active in the South Brisbane Rotary Club. Survived by his wife, and their five sons and only daughter, he died on 26 February 1960 in South Brisbane and was buried with Anglican rites in Hemmant cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • J. Pearn (ed), Some Milestones of Australian Medicine (Brisb, 1994)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 4 June 1960, p 908
  • Mankind, 5, no 10, June 1961, p 438
  • Winterbotham papers (Anthropology Museum, University of Queensland)
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Kathryn Frankland, 'Winterbotham, Lindsey Page (1887–1960)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 18 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 16, (Melbourne University Press), 2002

View the front pages for Volume 16

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


14 April, 1887
North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


26 February, 1960 (aged 72)
South Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.