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My maritime hero - Professor Hugh Grantham

Updated: Oct 12

Professor Hugh Grantham is one of the editorial consultants and contributors who reviewed and updated the First Aid & Medical Problems chapter of 6th edition of Australian Boating Manual.

When my late husband Captain Dick Gandy, the author of the “Boating Bible”, passed away suddenly in 2018, I didn’t have any contact in maritime industry. How to find maritime experts to help me update the book? I started with the names that Dick had given credits to in the Acknowledgement session in the book. Peter Mckie, chairman of the ACT Australian Resuscitation Council for 20 years, who updated the first aid chapter of 5th edition ABM back in 2014, introduced Professor Hugh Grantham to me. Thank you Peter, I am very grateful to you for this. Hugh, I haven’t met you yet. I WILL meet you in person one day!


Born and educated in England Hugh learnt to sail in the 1960s on the north Norfolk marshes. He did medicine in London at St Thomas’s hospital qualifying in 1980 continuing to sail as a youngster on dinghies, an old-fashioned gaff rigged cutter and modern sailing yachts around the coast of Britain and North France.

Moving to Australia in 1983 Hugh moved inland to be a GP in Mildura where sailing was limited to dingy sailing on the river and the nearby lakes. He recalls "Whilst running an asthma camp in 1989 I managed to tangle a boat mast with a high-voltage cable and lost one finger a couple of toes and a lot of dignity".

From Mildura Hugh was asked to take on the medical leadership for the South Australian Ambulance Service based in Adelaide and was the medical director of that ambulance service for about 18 years. During this time they moved from a very basic ambulance service to a degree qualified world-class service. Hugh was sent overseas to lead an Australian team into the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia. Since then, he has contributed to another tsunami and a number of other events with his continued interest in disaster and emergency medicine.

He has given almost 20 years to the Australian Resuscitation Council leading Advanced Life Support courses and as a state chair and council member. He was the inaugural professor of paramedics at Flinders university till 2018. During this time his sailing consisted of (and still does) of an 18 ft 80-year-old gaff rigged cutter dayboat which provides almost as much entertainment maintaining it as sailing it.

Hugh has become involved with the tall ship One and All In the last five years where he combined his love of teaching and sailing with the necessary tasks of being ships doctor and chairman of the board when needed. At the end, Hugh said to me "Oh, and I still get seasick!"

The above personal bio is contributed by:

Prof Hugh Grantham ASM MBBS FRACGP

Adjunct Prof Curtin University

Adjunct Prof QUT

Senior Medical Officer Flinders Medical Centre ED

Senior Medical Officer S.A. Ambulance Service

Chair Emergency Medicine Foundation QL

Board member St Johns SA

Academic board member Equals International

Chairman One and All Board

State ARC chair and member of ARC council

Educator ARC Instructor courses

Independent advisor dept of immigration

Clinical governance advisor HSS

Clinical governance advisor GP Axis

Member of HREC committee Bellberry

Consultant medico legal

Photo image provided by Professor Hugh Grantham

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