The Life of Leslie Averill M.D: First into Le Quesnoy: Battles, Babies & Boardrooms
Biography of a soldier in WW1, obstetrician and health leader.
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"Dr Leslie Averill (1897-1981) was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and became one of that city's most admired and respected public figures as chairman of the North Canterbury Hospital Board (1956-74). In this role he supervised the building of the Princess Margaret Hospital and started
the rebuilding of Christchurch Hospital with the Riverside ward block. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Christchurch Clinical School of Medicine and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.
As one of the city's first specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists he contributed to significant improvements in maternal welfare in the 1920s and 1930s. He was medical officer of the Christchurch St Helens Hospital and led the campaign to build what later became Christchurch Women's Hospital. For many years he was chairman of the Executive of St George's Private Hospital.
This long and busy career as a leader in hospital services in Christchurch and Canterbury was preceded by distinguished service near the end of the First World War. He won the MC at Bapaume and was the first to gain entry to the besieged town of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918. His later
efforts to foster a cordial relationship between this town and New Zealand was recognised by his appointment as a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. He has been remembered in Le Quesnoy by the naming of a street and a school after 'le Docteur Averill'.
Co-author Colin Averill has written a rich and interesting family history while historian Geoffrey Rice has researched the public career from archives and newspapers. Many of the photographs are here published for the first time"--Back cover.
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COLIN AVERILL is a retired lawyer. He became a partner in the Christchurch law firm
of Ronaldson Wylie and Averill in 1961. Following a merger with Lane Neave in 1983 he
was then chairman of that firm for five years, remaining a partner or full-time consultant
until 2002. He was active in the NZ Law Society at both provincial and national levels
and was chairman of the Nurse Maude Association for nine years. He has also chaired
the University of Canterbury Foundation and served on the boards of Medbury School,
Christ's College and several public companies.
GEOFFREY RICE is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Canterbury, where
he lectured for nearly forty years and was Head of Department before his retirement in
2012. He has published 15 books (10 with Canterbury University Press), 34 academic
articles and chapters, and over 60 other articles, reviews and encyclopedia entries. He is
a leading scholar of the 1918 influenza pandemic and its social impact on New Zealand.