Dr William Pugh statue
Public Art : Dr William Pugh statue
Sculptor : © Peter Corlett
Sculptor's Website: www.petercorlett.com
Description : A life size cast iron statue
of Dr William Russ Pugh (c.1805-1897), who was the first person to use ether as an anaesthetic for surgery in
Australia. The rather stern looking doctor is wearing a long coat, top hat, in his right hand he clasps
his walking cane and in his left hand his gloves. Rather suitable attire for a man of his position in the
Date unveiled : The statue was unveiled on June 7th,
1997 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his successful use of ether.
Location : Dr Pugh can be found walking down the
stairs on the Eastern corner of Prince's Square, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.
7 June 1847
First use of ether for surgery in Australia
Willian Russ Pugh
administered ether to "Mrs L" for the removal of a tumour from the jaw at St John's Hospital now
Morton House, 190 Charles Street, Lunceston.
Sculptor : Peter Corlett
7 June 1997
So Who was Dr William Russ Pugh? William Russ Pugh
(c.1805-1897) was a medical practioner who became the first person in Australia and the Southern hemisphere to use
ether as an anesthetic for surgery. The lucky guinea pig was a girl who successfully had a tumor removed from her
Mr Pugh settled in Launceston in 1841 and worked as an immigration and health officer for the port of Launceston. A
few years later he set his own private practice and began to experiment with various plants for medicinal use. He
wasn't well liked amongst his peers and was particularly spiteful to those who doubted his abilities. His skills as
a surgeon however were never in doubt. Pugh ran St. John’s Hospital from 1845-1851 but When it closed , due to
financial difficulties, he left the colony for Melbourne. Unhappy there, he returned to England where he died in
London on the 27th December, 1897.