Honouring a pioneer: daughters’ gift paves the way for neuroscience

Rex Money

Rex Money

On a day when the University of Sydney community comes together to support two important causes, two sisters dedicate a special gift to the University in memory of their father; a great Australian, a distinguished clinician and a respected teacher.

The late Dr Reginald Angel (Rex) Money, an alumnus of the Sydney Medical School, was a pioneer of neurosurgery in Australia whose dedication to the pursuit of excellence in medicine continues to inspire his present-day counterparts.

Today Dr Money’s daughters, Carole Roussel and Angela Raymond, honour their father’s remarkable legacy with a generous gift that will help pave the way for future generations of neurosurgeons through the ‘RA Money Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Neuroscience’.

“Our father dedicated his life to improving the health and lives of so many people,” says Mrs Roussel. “He was a charismatic man who strove for perfection in his work and who earned the respect and affection of his colleagues and patients.

“We are delighted to be supporting the University’s Pave the Way initiative and to be assisting postgraduate students as they follow in our father’s footsteps.”

Mrs Raymond says she inherited an appreciation of medicine from her father and is happy that there are young people who will benefit from the scholarship she helped establish. “I would have loved to have studied medicine and now I love the idea that I can help someone else realise their potential.”

Dr Money’s devotion to neurosurgery began while on a trip to America in 1928, where he first saw surgery on the brain being performed by Dr Howard Naffziger, using the new techniques of the great Dr Harvey Cushing.  Dr Money was so impressed by what he saw that he resolved to devote his professional career towards surgery of the nervous system.  He travelled further afield, visiting surgical centres in London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin and Vienna, before returning to Australia armed with the basic neurosurgical instruments and techniques to establish the specialty as a branch of general surgery.

“Dr Money was the foremost authority on neurosurgery in Australia for many years,” said Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School. “His trips abroad were unusual for that era, but the insights and techniques he learnt from visiting leading neurosurgical centres around the world really drove the advancement of neurosurgery in Australia.

“The generosity of his daughters, Mrs Roussel and Mrs Raymond, will ensure that his legacy and impact on the study and practice of neuroscience in Australia continues for many generations to come.”

Over his years of practice, Dr Money gained a national and international reputation as a surgeon and teacher. He played a key role in establishing one of the first fully equipped departments of neurosurgery in Australia, based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Opened in March 1938, the department had its own wards, operating theater and x-ray facilities.

In addition to his practice, Dr Money was a surgical tutor until 1938, before commencing as a lecturer on head and spinal injuries at the Sydney University Medical School.

Then in 1940, Dr Money took leave from the hospital and lecturing to join the Australian Imperial Forces, serving as Colonel commanding the 6th Australian General Hospital in the Middle East, Greece and Crete from 1940 to 1943. His outstanding war service was recognised in 1943 when he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In the years following World War Two, Dr Money resumed his active practice as a neurosurgeon, with his main appointment at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.  During his tenure at the hospital Dr Money dedicated his energy towards establishing and expanding the Department of Neurosurgery, and served as Vice-Chairman of the Board from 1968 until 1973. In honour of Dr Money’s significant contribution to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in 1983 the hospital named the vastly upgraded Neurosurgical Unit the R.A. Money Department of Neurosurgery.

Now, through the ‘RA Money Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Neuroscience’, Dr Money’s impact on medicine in Australia will be forever etched into the fabric of the University and passed on to future medical pioneers.

Reference:

Dr. Geoffrey Vanderfield. (1984) Dr. Reginald Angel Money: A eulogy given by Dr. Geoffrey Vanderfield at his funeral service at All Saints Church Woollahra on January 19th 1984. RPA Magazine, Volume 82(318), 28.