Edward Oswald Marks

By Jim Nixon

Edward Oswald Marks was known as Ted or E.O., he was born at the family home on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland in 1882; the son of Dr Charles and Elizabeth Marks. Charles Marks was later to become a Member of the Queensland Legislative Council. His mother had three sons from her first marriage to Robert Dods, including Robin Dods, who became a prominent architect in Brisbane, and Espie Dods. 

Ted Marks attended the Southport College in 1895 and Brisbane Grammar School from 1896-1900. His family sent him to Ireland to study engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, alongside his brother Alexander Marks (1880-1954), who was studying medicine. Marks graduated with a BA in January 1905 and a BAI (engineering) in December 1905. He took every possible prize for a student of engineering. He received practical experience on the Isle of Man, Wales, and a year at the Royal School of Mines in London after which he returned to Australia, where he worked at Mount Morgan Mines as a metallurgist. He then joined the Geological Survey of Queensland in 1908 as Assistant Government Geologist, preparing one of the first geological maps of Queensland.

After becoming engaged to childhood friend, Nesta Drury, in 1913, Marks returned to study medicine in Ireland. Edward and Nesta were married in London in July 1914. He was a Resident at St Patrick Dun's Hospital during the Easter Rising in Dublin of 1916 and that year joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. However, he contracted rheumatic fever in the trenches of France and was invalided out of the army with the rank of Captain. He and Nesta's only child, Elizabeth Nesta (Pat) Marks, was born in 1918 in Dublin. EO Marks graduated MD in 1919 but concerns about the lingering effect of rheumatic fever on his stamina induced him to pursue ophthalmology. He was a Resident at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, and then did a locum at the Shrewsbury Eye and Ear Hospital, before returning to Australia in 1920.

E.O. had a special interest in children's health and was an Honorary Member of the Brisbane Children's Hospital from 1921-1938 and a senior ophthalmologist from 1938-1946. Marks directed the Wilson Ophthalmic Hostel for Trachomatous Children at Windsor and made four surveys of the eye disease, trachoma, in western Queensland. He retired from practice in 1957.

He died in 1971 and was survived by his daughter, Pat Marks, who was an entomologist with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. She also served as a member of the Marks Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History.

Reference: Crammond Tess, Two Pioneer Queensland Ophthalmologists New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology (1990) 27, 371-374


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