The Alfred – A history. Hugh Trumble

Wednesday 02 Nov 2016

History of The Alfred

Hugh Trumble 2Hugh Trumble was born on 29 May 1894 at Nhill, Victoria, fourth child of Australian-born parents John and Susan. Educated at Brighton Grammar School, he undertook his medical course at the University of Melbourne. His training was shortened because of World War I. Initially posted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Rouen but soon left to serve as medical officer in the famous 14th Battalion on the Western Front. He worked at Vaire Wood in France, he would often work in the open, treating casualties while under enemy fire. He was awarded the Military Cross for his service, although he never bothered to collect this accolade and several years later it was unceremoniously posted to him by a government department.

Returning to Melbourne, Trumble was appointed to the staff of The Alfred hospital in 1922. He worked as a general surgeon, but his interests were wide and he was to make a considerable contribution to many disciplines.
An expert in the use of plaster of Paris and the fabrication of beds and splints, he invented a number of ingenious apparatuses including a walking splint which he wore himself for some time to make sure it worked. Hugh Trumble was a skilled mechanic and designed and home-made numerous tools and instruments to suit his purpose.

Hugh Trumble was instrumental in setting up Australia's first neurosurgical unit at The Alfred. By 1939 special neurosurgical facilities were provided at The Alfred and the seventh floor of the new centre block was allocated for neurosurgery and this is where he remained until his retirement.

His talent, breadth of knowledge, original thought in finding solutions to problems and skill in inventing instruments to suit his purpose made him one of the most remarkable surgeons of the first half of the twentieth century, The Alfred and its patients were indeed fortunate to have benefited from his care.