Radiotherapy 1923 - 1975

In 1911, Dr P D Cameron, then practising in Dunedin, bought a supply of radium for the treatment of skin cancer. In Wellington, both Dr Gordon Anderson and Dr Welton-Hogg had radium applicators which they later donated to Wellington Hospital. In 1923, Dr P D Cameron moved to Wellington to take over the practice of Dr R A Cameron who was retiring.

That same year it was proposed that a Deep X-ray Therapy plant be acquired, and that supplies of radium be obtained. To raise funds for the purchase of the radium, subscriptions were sought from the districts to which Wellington Hospital served as the base hospital. At that time these districts extended to New Plymouth on the west coast and to Gisborne on the east coast. Sufficient funds were forthcoming to enable the purchase of one gramme of radium. Advice was sougfht from Sir Ernest Rutherford that the price was fair, and he confirmed this in a cable in December 1923. Half of the radium purchase was obtained in plaques and the other half in a solution for obtaining an "emanation" to be used in needles. An emanation plant was set up in the basement beneath the new X-ray Department. A science student from Victoria University College, Noel F C Hill, was assigned to the hospital to act as technician. (He subsequently studied medicine and became Wellington Hospital's first whole-time Radiologist).

A new Deep X-ray plant was purchased and the X-ray Therapy and Radio-Therapy Department were placed in the charge of Dr P D Cameron, employed on a part-time basis. He was succeeded by Dr E G Lynch in 1935. Dr John Logan joined the staff as Radiotherapist in 1951.

In 1953, Nuclear Medicine was introduced into diagnosis and therapy, with support from Dr J Verney Cable. A Cobalt Unit was installed in 1961, allowing megavoltage therapy for cancer patients.

Dr J C Wallace was appointed as the second Radiotherapist in 1964. He moved to run the Nuclear Medicine Department in 1971. Dr Allan Gray was appointed Radiotherapist in 1975.

Last updated 29 October 2016.