Dr Lishman

Why the Val Lishman Foundation?

In 1965 Dr Val Lishman, a surgeon, was the first specialist to work away from the city, in the South West Region of Western Australia. We are inspired by his example of selfless community service, kindness and concern for holistic health. The Foundation, established at his retirement, celebrates his extraordinary career.

Dr Ian Valentine Lishman arrived here from the UK in the mid 60s to work at the hospital only to find that it hadn’t been built. The first surgeon to practice outside of Perth, he was pioneering in many ways. Dr Lishman had great humility and was much loved and respected both for his work and for his personal kindness. 

In 1992, Val Lishman became a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to medicine through the establishment of a surgical practice in the South West of Western Australia. Given his outstanding contribution to medicine Val has been recognised by many awards. These are surpassed by the regard in which he is held by his patients and venerated by his profession. 

In 1996 Anne Donaldson, CEO of the Bunbury Regional Hospital, and Dr Graham Fisher, then Medical Director Bunbury Hospitals, were discussing Bunbury’s rapid development as a regional medical centre of excellence. Anne suggested local medical research should be a priority. As a member Bunbury Leschenault Rotary Club, she mobilised Bunbury Rotarians and prominent citizens to the task.

An inaugural board first met on July 21st 1997. Members were Ross Bedford (Chairman), Clive Young, Charlie Martella, Stephen Foster, Rob Prestage, Graham Herring, Alan Newbon, Anne Donaldson and Garry Birch.

They organised a constitution, incorporation and ATO approval for tax-deductible gift recipient status. Research would focus on health issues affecting people in the South West.

In 1997, when Dr Lishman announced his retirement, the inaugural board asked his permission to name the Foundation in recognition of his service and contributions to medicine in the South West. Val was stunned and honoured by the establishment of the Foundation. He said, “Every hospital or group of doctors should have research. Research directly benefits hospitals. Young doctors, registrars, and interns should be encouraged to work on projects. Advancement results from everyone looking at their work critically, following up ideas and sharing them with other people”.

(Excerpts from “The Man in the Surgical Mask; Val Lishman. A Life Well Lived”. Compiled by Margaret Mardon (Quality Press 2013)

Dr Ian Valentine “Val” Lishman died peacefully on April 21, 2016.


Dr Lishman

The “Man in the Surgical Mask” contains anecdotes and stories about the life and work of Dr Val Lishman. It is an excellent, entertaining and inspirational read. With stories written by Dr Lishman and by people whose lives he has touched, it is a must read and the perfect present for everyone. 

Copies are available from the Foundation office at the Chamber of Commerce, 15 Stirling St. Bunbury or you can email jackie.ross@vlfoundation.com.au, phone 0475 705 417 or complete the online form below.

Books are $25 each or $35 for a signed copy (GST incl.). Payment can be made by cash, direct debit or credit card.