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Who was Sir John Monash?

"Adopt as your fundamental creed that you will equip yourself for life,
not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit
of the whole community"

- Sir John Monash

Sir John Monash Private Hospital is named after a remarkable person for very special reasons.Sir John Monash.jpg (7025 bytes)

Sir John Monash was a famous Australian who made a contribution at almost every level of Australian life.  This hospital is named after him, not because of his fame, but because of the important ways in which he gave to the community.

His story is an inspiring one - the story of a man who never tired of learning or of finding ways to make his world a better one.

Monash was born on the 27th of  June 1865 at West Melbourne of German-Polish Jewish parents.  He attended Scotch College, Melbourne, for four years and was equal dux of the school.  He entered the University of Melbourne at the age of 16, but after two years he was forced to suspend his studies because of financial hardship.  Fortunately, his aptitude for engineering gained him employment with the company responsible for the construction of Melbourne's Princes Bridge.

Eventually he returned to study, and by the age of 30 he had completed degrees in arts, engineering and law and had qualified as a municipal surveyor, an engineer of water-supply and a patent attorney.   He set up in private practice as a civil engineer and in the following years became known as one of Australia's foremost experts in reinforced concrete bridges, railways and other large construction projects.

Although Monash truly detested war, the outbreak of 'the war to end all wars' in 1914 forced a leadership role upon him.  This was in an era when serving your country was considered to be the greatest role a citizen could play.  He was amongst the first under fire at Gallipoli, and was the only Australian brigade commander among the original troops not to be killed or evacuated as injured.  He was in charge the entire Australian Corps, and many historians consider him to be the foremost Allied military commander of the First World War.

Monash also painted and drew, was an accomplished pianist, spoke French and German, and enjoyed chess, carpentry and bushwalking.  His greatest skill, however, was his command of the English language.

Monash died on 8th October 1931, aged 66.  He is remembered as a scholar, a man of action and an individualist - a man who sought, above all, to use his education and abilities for the benefit of the community.

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Copyright 1998 Sir John Monash Private Hospital
Last modified: February 13, 2004