Constantine Michael interview, 6 November 2012

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Constantine Michael interview, 6 November 2012




Professor Constantine ("Con") Michael holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (University of Western Australia), Doctor of Medicine (University of Western Australia) and Diploma of Diagnostic Ultrasound. At the University of Western Australia he became Lecturer in 1966, Senior Lecturer in 1967, Associate Professor in 1977, Head of Medicine from 1988-1999 and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at from 1987-1999. Professor Michael’s research has focused extensively on hypertension in pregnant women and other areas of reproductive technology.

Professor Michael was appointed to the Agency Management Committee in March 2009 as a member with expertise in health, education and training. He was reappointed in September 2012 for a period of three years. He is the Principal Adviser of Medical Workforce for the Western Australia Health Department, Consultant Medical Adviser for St John of God Health Care Inc. Professor Michael is the current Chair of the Western Australian Board of the Medical Board of Australia, Director of the Australian Medical Council, a member of various state and national medical committees and Chair of the St John of God National Ethics Committee and Chair of the Reproductive Technology Council of Western Australia. He is a Director and Governor of the University of Notre Dame Australia and Chair of its Advisory Board of the School of Medicine Fremantle. Professor Michael is also a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (a past President) and Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London (a previous Sims Black Professor). Among his numerous awards, Professor Michael was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for service to medicine, particularly in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology, and medical education.


Michael, Constantine


University of Western Australia Historical Society


Copyright holder University of Western Australia


MP3 files


Oral History

Oral History Item Type Metadata


John Bannister


Constantine Michael


Interview 1: 53 minutes, 45 seconds
Interview 2: 56 minutes, 24 seconds
Interview 3: 43 minutes, 21 seconds
Total: 2 hours, 33 minutes, 30 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbs

Time Summary

Track 1
00:00:00 Born in North Perth. Schooling modern school. University. One uni. Tech school. Perfectly adequate. Impressions of UWA. Crawley baths, aspirations. Medical school. Sponsor by legacy.
00:04:46 Family background. Living in cluster of Northbridge with Greeks and Italians. Church Community – Greek Orthodox. Language. Kailis and Kukulas families. Re family.
00:08:39 Growth of church and community. Nearest school was Highgate. Father’s experience. The Cue mining town and the First World War. Father’s poor health. Mother was the matriarch.
00:11:55 Scholarship school. Academic high level. Cohort of bright children. Len Buckeridge*. Best scientists come from Modern school. Medicine was studied in Adelaide or Melbourne medical. Medicine and the community. Community-based school.
00:16:00 Going to Adelaide. Advice to do medicine. Competition increases. The junior medical work-force from the Eastern States. 1954. Newspaper story of students away from home as promotion. Return to WA in 1958.
00:20:10 First year to receive a medical degree from UWA. Accreditation of the school by the GMC. Memories of early years of University study. Revering teachers at University. Zoology botany, chemistry and physics. Harry Waring was a fantastic entertaining Englishman. Spermatogenesis.
00:23:30 Memories of St George’s College and Chemistry and Physics. Bruce Kendall*. Law school established, as opposed to Medical school. Botany, Anatomy and Physiology in prefab huts. Will Simmons*. Fantastic pathologist Ten Seldam.*
00:28:10 Seeing changes on return. Clinical placements in Royal Perth Hospital. Perth Chest Hospital opens. Gairdner Hospital. First group to get a WA degree. Pathology and Microbiology at Royal Perth. Reputation of University of Western Australia. The Florey Institute.
00:33:00 Comparisons between Adelaide and Perth. National service. Staying at St Marks. Coming back to UWA.
00:38:30 Broader non-academic education. Established university at UWA. Colleagues and staff community. Neville Stanley was keen on cricket. Competitive law and medicine. Lovely small university. Winthrop Hall is an academic monument.
00:42:00 Facilities and resources. Learning the ropes and talking about research. MD in obstetrics and gynaecology. Researching in your own university. MDWA. Academic staff were very helpful. 1973. Doing the English degree. University College London. Famous people and true academia. 1964. Gordon King foundation professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. Senior lecturer and lecturer. Harry Reece and John Martin*.
00:47:00 Harry Reece and John Martin* mould future. John Martin offers Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor. Adjunct Professor and other titles debase the currency. Appointed the chair.
00:51:20 Impressions of UWA and its level of pre-clinical and Medical research. Professor Saint. Mary Locket* and pharmacology. Co-researching between departments. NHMRC funding. Ten Seldam.* Strong endocrinology. Roland Hanal* and Professor King. Excellent people around.

Track 2
00:00:00 Returning to WA. Career decisions. Money and sterile situation. Academic university salary and recognition. Comparisons between pay and department and hours worked. Health Department recognition and clinical loading. Private practice colleagues.
00:04:05 Gordon King and John Martin, Pat Gyles – 1966. Short-staffed on return. Attitudes toward lifestyle balance. Bruce Armstrong. Training and ongoing professional interaction. Top 2% of intelligent students.
00:09:07 Mature students are very good. Research was expected of you. MD thesis. Funding depending on research. John Newnham and King Edward Memorial Hospital. Size of numbers in department. Big problem in funding. Employing people to get research done. Catch 22 situation.
00:13:10 Interest in personal career and high blood pressure and pregnancy. Professor Rosenthal and Laurie Beilin. Michael Le suoef. Collaboration and research.
00:18:20 Collaboration and RAINE study. Tracking foetuses in utero and watching them grow. Object of the RAINE study. John Newnham and the growth of the child. Ultrasound.
00:21:00 Honorary foundation fellows of the Ultra Sound Society. Looking for spina bifida and Down Syndrome. Memories of sabbatical Norman Gant Parkville hospital. University College Hospital. Students have a broad base of study. Working and clinical exposure. Genetic Ambiothesis.
00:29:44 Returning home, returning to England 1973. Ultrasound pretty crude. Doppler ultrasound. Standard practice and foetal wellbeing. John Newnham, sheep and lung function.
00:35:40 Inter-faculty interaction. Animal research beyond reproach.
00:37:00 Gordon King and RPH and teaching hospital. Neo-natal unit. Prof Hanall* laboratory and the foetus. Cinderella depot. King Edward children’s maternity hospital. Gynaecological cancer unit. Surgical facilities. Lack of an intensive care unit. KEMH should be relocated. Dangers in isolation with disease.
00:44:20 Leaving and Douglas Enquiry. Memories of John Newnham. Establishing a chair – Winthrop Professor. Reputation as foetal specialist. Women’s and children’s foundation. Endocrine research. RAINE foundation.
00:48:20 Memories of Promotion Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Head of Department in 1988. Long-term planning committee. Sydney. Lance Townsend had best departments. Geoffrey Robinson.
00:53:45 Excellence proportional to the people running the department. Best foetal med units in the country. Head of Department fighting at Faculty. Patron of the Medical Student Society. TEE. Students fall out of medicine.

Track 3
00:00:00 Experience of Head of Department. Dean Stephen Swartz. An important time for the Faculty of Medicine. NHMRC funding.
00:05:50 Potential of the university. 1988 convenor of the working party to review regulations for private consultative work. Personal areas of expertise hypertension and Rhesus babies. Funding research and people and travel.
00:09:20 John Newnham complex obstetric department. Vice Chancellor’s working department. Professor Smith and the Art Gallery. Comparisons with alumni in the US. Strong alumni connections. Overseas students and the Colombo plan.
00:12:50 Administration and support. Competitiveness, funding and research. NHMRC producing money. Paul Johnson and embracing reforms.
00:16:10 Reforms vs. changes. External manager in Singapore. Attraction of students in Singapore. Maintaining interest in personal research.
00:20:10 Control the blood pressure and delivering the baby. Prevention of pre-term birth. Changes from genes to artificial conception. Senior examiner of the Australian Medical Council.
00:26:25 Concerns for UWA. Research institute and working with Notre Dame University, comparison of UWA and Notre Dame. Director and Governor of Notre Dame.
00:31:14 Medical services of St John of God. Health Care Advisor of WA Department of Health.
00:34:55 Rural community, rural health services, rural obstetrics and safety. Involvement with Beyond Blue, clinical depression, post-natal depression, depression in medical students.
00:39:17 Awards, Officer of the Order of Australia. Looking back on the experience of UWA.



Michael, Constantine, “Constantine Michael interview, 6 November 2012,” UWA Historical Society: UWA Histories, accessed July 13, 2024,