Famous Faces: Fred Hollows


Born April 9 1929 in Dunedin, New Zealand, Frederick Hollows was the type of man everyone should hope to emulate. Originally intending to join the priesthood, he soon switched to medicine after attending a mental hospital for some charity work and seeing the amazing work that the doctors achieved there. He enrolled at Ontago Medical School and, upon graduating in 1961, travelled to Ye Ol’ England to study ophthalmology at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. After spending some time in Wales doing postgraduate work he moved to Australia and became the Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of New South Wales.

Once back in Australia, and after treating two elderly Indigenous men in his eye clinic, he went up to the Northern Territory to their camp where he was shocked at the condition of many of the Indigenous resident’s health. Outraged by the huge discrepancies between the Indigenous population and the rest of Australia, he began a quest to close the gap and to prevent the preventable causes of blindness that was affecting these people, a condition known as blinding trachoma.

This was to be the beginning of an incredible career that spanned the world, resulting in him restoring sight to thousands upon thousands of individuals and changing their lives forever. He organised intraocular lens laboratories in Nepal and Eritrea that reduced the cost down to just AU$10, with these laboratories beginning production after his death in 1993. But, above all, he was an amazing and incredibly skilled clinician that followed his passion to help others and to reduce the inequities in healthcare around the world.

Fred died in Sydney in 1993 of metastatic renal cancer, with which he was diagnosed 6 years previously. In 1992 he set up The Fred Hollows Foundation so that his work could be continued even after his death, and has since been r
esponsible for restoring sight to over two million people worldwide. This could not be possible without the help of the donations by ordinary citizens doing an extraordinarily altruistic thing, and I encourage all of you two follow the link below to donate even the smallest of amounts (although remember that just $10 can restore someone’s sight and prevent blindness!)

Fred Hollows was an amazing man; the type of man who deserves to be remembered throughout time. Not only did he win Australian of the Year in 1990 after becoming a citizen in 1989, but also a huge number of other awards that include two Advance Australia Awards, being named Humanist of the Year, becoming the first honorary citizen of Eritrea, as well as many more accolades that truly show how amazing he truly was. I would like to finish this short biography with the best quote that I have ever heard, and one that was a favourite of Fred;

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”- To Laugh Often and Much.






-“Fred Hollows”. Via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fred_Hollows.JPG#/media/File:Fred_Hollows.JPG

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