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Dr Andrew Sexton Gray - Founder 1863-1907

Andrew Sexton
Dr Andrew Gray

Andrew Sexton Gray was born in 1826 in Limerick, Ireland. He completed his medical training in 1846 and became assistant to William Wilde, Oscar Wilde's father, at St Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital and Dispensary for Diseases of the Eye and Ear in Dublin. He was later admitted as a Royal College of Surgeons of England member in 1852.

In 1859 he moved with his wife to Victoria, where he worked in several positions around the state before settling in Melbourne in 1862. There he opened a practice in Russell Street, before establishing the Eye and Ear Infirmary 1863.

Dr Gray established the infirmary due to the prevalence of eye and ear diseases he encountered in Victoria, particularly among miners working in the gold fields. However, the issues he encountered were not limited to mining towns but were also common among the general populace due to poor living conditions and a lack of sanitation.

The Eye and Ear Infirmary began with three clinics a week for outpatients and Dr Gray was modelled the infirmary off the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Common ailments treated at the time included blight, trachoma and strumous ophthalmia.

As a fiery defender of the hospital's resources and reputation, Gray remained vigilant in catching out anyone he believed was misrepresenting themselves as poor and deserving of free treatment.

Following his death on 10 July 1907, Dr Gray was recognised as a significant figure in establishing ophthalmology as a speciality and in developing the Eye & Ear’s reputation for excellence and innovation.