Bernard (Bunny) William Neal, MBBS 1947

After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1947, Bernard spent almost all of his professional life at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH) as Physician (1960-1973), Physician Head of Unit (1973-1989) and Physician in Charge Enuresis Unit (1966-1989). He was Honorary Secretary and later Chairman of the Senior Medical Staff Association, and served on many committees.

Photo of Bernard (Bunny) William Neal

Bernard (Bunny) William Neal, MBBS 1947

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Bernard Neal and his two brothers and sister had a happy childhood in Preston, where his father was general practitioner.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1947, Bernard spent almost all of his professional life at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH) as Physician (1960-1973), Physician Head of Unit (1973-1989) and Physician in Charge Enuresis Unit (1966-1989). He was Honorary Secretary and later Chairman of the Senior Medical Staff Association, and served on many committees.

Bernard also had a busy private practice. He was a superb clinician, with a great ability to make an accurate diagnosis based mainly on a thorough history and physical examination. He established an easy relationship with children and their parents, and was an excellent communicator. He had special expertise in the diagnosis and management of emotional problems in infants and children, and in the management of enuresis.

He was appointed Dean of Postgraduate Studies at RCH in 1986. The educational aspects of this appointment stimulated him to complete a Diploma of Education at Monash University. He initiated monthly postgraduate bulletins, organised Grand Rounds with a broad and interesting program, arranged educational visits of many international speakers, and developed an innovative and stimulating program for registrar training.

Bernard Neal made an outstanding contribution as member of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria from 1975, Deputy President (1976-80) and President (from 1980). He also served on the Australian Medical Council, as Executive Member (1985), Deputy President (1987) and President in 1988. He was a member of the Australian Medical Examining Council (1980-85), the National Specialist Qualifications Advisory Committee (from 1980), and the National Workforce Data Review Committee from 1989.

To add to these contributions, he was member of the National Health and Medical Research Committee (1970-79), Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee (1974-79), Chairman of the ad hoc Therapeutic Methods Committee from 1975, Chairman of the Working Party on Enuresis (1975), and the National Medical Workforce Data Review Committee from 1989.

At an international level, Bernard was a member of the Standing Committee for the International Paediatric Association (1981-86), and a lecturer and examiner for the University of Singapore and the National University of Malaysia.

The Australian College of Paediatrics benefitted from his involvement in many ways, including as Honorary Secretary (1966-71), and Representative on the Association of Paediatric Societies of the South-East Asian Region (1974-79).

Bernard served the University of Melbourne as teacher of undergraduate students, member of the Faculty of Medicine (1974-77), on the Board of Examiners in Medicine for many years, and as Senior Associate in the Department of Paediatrics (1974-79).

Bernard was made a Fellow of the Australian Medical Association in 1984, awarded the President’s Medal of the RCH in 1989, appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1994 and became Honorary Life Governor of the Australian Postgraduate Federation in Medicine in 1995.

Bunny or Bun, as many knew him, was a warm, kind, and compassionate person with a wide circle of friends. He loved language and the use and meaning of words, participated freely in discussions on a wide variety of subjects and solved the cryptic crossword on a regular basis. In 1957 Bun married Enid Murphy PhD, who was a long time member of the French Department at University of Melbourne. They had a very happy and intellectually stimulating time together with their four children Kate, Bill, Margaret and Tom, at Kew and at Portsea. Enid died in 1988.

Bun enjoyed many years of golf at Kew Golf Club, and also enjoyed skiing; despite sustaining fractured tibia on is very first day. He was member of the Melbourne Club and the MCC and faithful supporter of the Demons, even during their periods of lesser achievement.

Bernard was a loving husband and father, a great friend to many, an excellent paediatrician, teacher, lecturer and examiner. He was also not only an admirable committee member, but a Chairman par excellence.