man smiles at camera in academic regalia
Professor Michael Francis Quinlan AO. Image source: The University of Notre Dame Australia

Message from the Governor: Vale Professor Michael Francis Quinlan AO

Western Australia has just lost a great man and a precious citizen with the passing of Michael Quinlan. I saw him recently at the swearing-in of his son, our Chief Justice and Lieutenant Governor the Hon Peter Quinlan SC. He was a proud, happy and robust man so his passing is doubly difficult to accept.

It is impossible to convey publically the immense significance of his life to Western Australia. A consultant physician, he commenced his career in 1968 as a General Physician at St John of God Subiaco Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital. Two years ago he was honoured as an Officer in the General Division in the Australian Honours System for his service to medicine, particularly through strategic leadership and societal education as an academic and clinician.

He is deeply associated with the University of Notre Dame Australia and St John of God Hospital. He was the foundation Dean of the former’s College of Health, having been an inaugural trustee and Chancellor after service on the University’s planning board.

He was a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, Director of the Medical Institute at St Johns and Chair of the first Governing Board of St John of God Health Care. Director as well of the inaugural board of Sisters of Charity’ national Governing Board and WA Director of the Child Health Foundation.

This is a formidable record in medicine alone, but where he embellished the outstanding to stellar was in teaching and mentoring. His vision encompassed hundreds of students. He was trusted, and he returned the trust with great wisdom.

A great teacher is humble and unselfish. Professor Quinlan gave himself to students entering a tough profession. He instilled confidence. He had an annual lecture named after him. That honour is usually reserved for those who have passed. In his case it reflected a living, iconic figure.

He was deeply societally aware. Medicine was a community structuring discipline and he wanted an understanding of the societal, political and spiritual dimension. He was a man of faith and lived it in every facet of his life.

His legacy is massive, and part of it is his family who have taken guidance from his commitments.  We are grateful they shared him with us.

Deepest sympathy to his wife Carole, children Tim, Peter, Anthony, Annabelle and Gaby and his grandchildren Oliver, Annabelle, Gabe, Harper, Audrey, Jude, Lux, Lochie, Lexi, Neve, Noah, Leo, Sophia and Milla.

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