Sutherland, Roderick Tate (1866 - 1945)

M.D. (Glas. & Melb. a.e.g.), Ch.M. (Glas.)

11 August 1866
Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia
13 November 1945
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Gynaecologist, Medical practitioner and Obstetrician


Transcription of item written by Dr Colin Macdonald and published in "The Book of Remembrance", The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, 1956.

(1909 - 1927)

Roderick Tate Sutherland was born in Hawthorn Victoria on 11th August 1866, the eldest child of Roderick Sutherland, Crown Solicitor of Victoria; his mother’s maiden name was Ellen Tate. His first school was one in Oxley Road, Hawthorn, kept by a Mr. Beddoe. Thence he proceeded to the Kew High School (now the Trinity Grammar School). Here he played football with the first twenty (it was twenty a side in those times), and cricket with the 2nd eleven. He also was a capable boxer, and earned considerable notoriety in the neighbourhood for his fistic contests.

At the age of 16 he was taken to Scotland by his father, and on arrival there entered the office of his uncle, a sharebroker in Glasgow. On the death of this uncle a few years later, Sutherland decided to take up medicine as a profession, and after passing the preliminary examination, entered the University of Glasgow. There he graduated and received the M.B. Ch.M. degrees. Obtaining further experience in London, he returned to Victoria in 1892 and bought into a Port Melbourne medical practice. This venture was not a happy one, and at his request the partnership was dissolved long before it had run its course. He then took rooms in Collins Street Melbourne, and practiced there until his death. He earned early prominence as an anaesthetist, and it was for a treatise on anaesthetics that he was awarded the Glasgow M.D. He did much work for Dr. Rothwell Adam, then Melbourne’s leading gynaecologist; and it was as a protégé of the latter that he developed his interest for gynaecology. He was appointed an Honorary of the Women’s Hospital in 1909 and was associated with this institution as a Gynaecologist until he retired in 1927 on reaching the age of 60 years.

Sutherland liked military affairs and about the beginning of this century joined the Army Medical Corps, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 he was one of the first medical men to enlist, and saw active service on Gallipoli. After two years the strenuous military life affected his health, and he was invalided back to Victoria. On recovering his health, he resumed Collins Street practice and association with the Women’s Hospital.

Sutherland was a prominent Freemason, and held many Grand Lodge offices, eventually becoming Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Victoria. Keenly interested in sport all his life, Dr. Sutherland was a member of various sporting clubs, such as the Melbourne Cricket Club and the Royal Melbourne and Victorian Gold Clubs. He was also a member of the Navy, Army and Air Force Club of Victoria.

In 1897 he married Miss Mary Macleod by whom he had a son and a daughter. He died at his residence St. Kilda Road Melbourne from a heart attack on 13th November 1945.

Archival/Heritage Resources

Royal Women's Hospital Archives

  • Book of Remembrance, 1956 - 1975; Royal Women's Hospital Archives [ Details... ].

Prepared by: Robyn Waymouth