James Vincent Duhig 

James Vincent Duhig 

Name: James Vincent Duhig 

Epoch: Early 20th Century (the \'Long Early Twentieth Century\')

Grouping Field: Natural and Theoretical Sciences

Location Grouping: Individual\'s Work Location

Map Coordinates: 27°26\'53.7\"S 153°01\'26.3\"E

Years At Location: 1939-1947

One Historical Setting: Prof. James Vincent Duhig, University of Queensland Medical School, 288 Herston Road, Herston (1938)

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James Vincent Duhig was the first professor of pathology at the University of Queensland in 1938-1947. From 1920 he had practised as a pathologist in Wickham Terrace. James Vincent Duhig was better known as the Australian President of the Association of Clinical Pathologists. Duhig urged the establishment of the College of Pathologists of Australia and the establishment of a medical school in Queensland. He founded the Red Cross Blood Bank in Queensland, and established pathology laboratories at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in 1920 and the Brisbane General Hospital in 1924.

Impact On Brisbane Society

Although it was as a medical man he made his name, James Vincent Duhig had a much greater impact as an advocate for a society free of religious authority upon the secular activities. He was nephew of the Catholic Archbishop of a similar name, Sir James Duhig (with no middle name). The family connection put James Vincent in a perfect place as the President and Patron of the Queensland Rationalist Society. He was also the President of the Book Censorship Abolition League of Queensland in 1935, and a well-known temperance advocate (he advocated the prohibition of alcohol and in 1946 was President of Queensland Co-operative Hotels Ltd, an offshoot of the Liquor Reform Society). These hard roles of both liberating and confining action, perhaps, stemmed from the rationalist’s rigidity of logic thought and naive empiricism.

Surprisingly, there was a soft side to James Vincent Duhig. He was President of the Royal Queensland Art Society for ten years, and he left much of his personal art collection to the University of Queensland. James Vincent Duhig was also the Co-founder of the Brisbane Repertory Theatre Society. He won the Laura Bogue Luffman prize with his one-act play, ‘The Ruling Passion’, published in 1935.


C. A. C. Leggett, ‘Duhig, James Vincent (1889–1963)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/duhig-james-vincent-6035/text10317, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 3 November 2017;

Dahlitz, Ray. Secular Who’s Who: a Biographical Directory of Freethinkers, Secularists, Rationalists, Humanists and Others involved in Australia’s Secular Movement from 1850 onwards, R. Dahlitz, Balwyn, Vic, 1994.

Fitzgerald, Ross; Megarrity, Lyndon; Symons, David. Made in Queensland : a New History, Special Q150 commemorative edition, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Qld, 2009.

Gregory, Helen. Vivant Professores: Distinguished Members of the University of Queensland, 1910-1940, University of Queensland Library, St. Lucia, Qld, 1987.

Thomis, Malcolm I. A Place of Light & Learning : the University of Queensland’s first seventy-five years, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Qld, 1985.

Image Citation

James Duhig. University of Queensland. From The University of Sydney Medical School Website.