Vale Hector Maclean
Members of the Board, staff and students at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) are deeply saddened with the passing of Associate Professor Hector Maclean, who served in the University of Melbourne Department of Ophthalmology for over 20 years. Hector was Deputy Head and led the department from 1986-1989.
“Hector was a very big part of our history and a much loved elder in the extended CERA family. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered. We extend our sympathy to his family,” said Professor Jonathan Crowston, Managing Director of CERA.
Born in Scotland, he first came to Melbourne in 1973 and worked under Professor Gerard Crock, Australia’s first Professor of Ophthalmology.
Hector had three passions in life: working with children, eye health and music.
In the late 1980s, Hector was appointed to a Health Department clinic examining children reported as being blind or visually impaired to confirm they were (and found that nearly half of them were not) and to recommend extra teaching exposure. Here he met teacher Jill Keeffe, whom he persuaded over a decade later to do a PhD under his supervision. Jill subsequently became a professor in her own right, Head of the CERA’s Population Health Unit, and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to public health.
Hector was a gifted teacher who trained a generation of ophthalmologists, and a problem-solver who improved clinical practice wherever he saw a need. Hundreds of parents credit Hector with enabling their children to lead independent lives, thanks to his untiring dedication and determination in the clinic.
His great love outside of ophthalmology was singing. A regular member of the Scot’s Church Choir he also sang with the Melbourne Chorale and other groups. The annual end of year Messiah was a high point in his singing year. He also highly valued his almost annual trips to Scotland to catch up with family and friends and to walk in the Highlands.
Hector retired fully from clinical practice in 2010. He remained an honorary member of staff at the University and was one of the most generous supporters of the work of CERA.
Prior to his passing, Hector was invited to become an Honorary Governor of CERA, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to our work. Sadly, this honour will now be bestowed on him posthumously.
UPDATE 17/9: There was a lovely profile on Hector in The Age newspaper: