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Biographical entry MacKenzie, William Colin (1877 - 1938)

9 March 1877
Kilmore, Victoria, Australia
29 June 1938
Kew, Victoria, Australia
Orthopaedic surgeon and Anatomist


Sir William MacKenzie trained in Melbourne and Europe and became a leading orthopaedic consultant in Melbourne. From 1918 he devoted his time to animal anatomy, lectured at the University of Melbourne and was Director of the Australian Institute of Anatomy from 1930.


Born 9 March 1877. Died 29 June 1938. Kt 1929. Educated University of Melbourne (MB 1898, MD 1901, BS 1902). Resident surgeon, (Royal) Melbourne Hospital 1899, senior resident surgeon, (Royal) Children's Hospital 1900-01, general practice, Hay Market 1902, Honorary demonstrator in anatomy, University of Melbourne from 1902 (later senior demonstrator and lecturer in applied anatomy), further study in Europe 1903, orthopaedic consultant, Melbourne 1904-14, Royal College of Surgeons, England 1915-17, established the Australian Institute of Anatomical Research 1918, established a field station for his research on Australian animals at Healesville 1920 (officially opened as the Sir Colin MacKenzie Sanctuary in 1934), first director and professor of comparative anatomy, National Museum of Australian Zoology from 1924 (moved to Canberra and renamed Australian Institute of Anatomy 1930), retired from surgical practice 1924, retired as director of the Australian Institute of Anatomy 1937. President, Royal Society of Australia 1933.

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Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • William Colin MacKenzie - Records, 1923, CRS A457; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • William Colin MacKenzie - Records, 1930 - 1941, CRS A1928; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

Victorian Department of Conservation and Environment

  • William Colin MacKenzie - Records, 1918 - 1938; Victorian Department of Conservation and Environment. Details

Published resources

Book Sections

  • MacCallum, Monica, 'Mackenzie, Sir William Colin (1877-1938), Orthopaedist, Comparative Anatomist and Philanthorpist' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle, eds, vol. 10 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1986), pp. 306-308. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Obituary: Sir Colin MacKenzie MD, FRCS, FRSE', Australian Journal of Science, 1 (1) (1938), 24-25. Details
  • Bunn, Chris, 'Sir Colin Mackenzie - a clever scientist with unconventional ideas', Australian Veterinary History Record, 65 (2013), 7-12. Details
  • Hart, John A. L., 'Sir Colin Mackenzie: a remarkable legacy!', ANZ Journal of Surgery, 73 (6) (2003), 443-8. Details
  • MacKay, C. V. et al., 'Obituary: William Colin MacKenzie', Medical Journal of Australia, 1938 (2) (1938), 576-80. Details


McCarthy, G.J.