16 Facts About Basil Hetzel


Basil Stuart Hetzel was an Australian medical researcher who made a major contribution to combating iodine deficiency, a major cause of goitre and cretinism worldwide.


Basil Hetzel's parents were originally from South Australia but in London at the time while Kenneth worked at the University College Hospital.


Basil Hetzel studied medicine at the University of Adelaide from 1940 to 1944.


Basil Hetzel later applied to join the Royal Australian Air Force as a medical officer but was denied on grounds of being unfit due to a long bout of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1945.


Basil Hetzel was a Fulbright Research Scholar in the 1950s which included an appointment at New York Hospital.


Basil Hetzel then undertook the role of Reader in Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide before moving to Monash University as the Foundation Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine.


In 1956, Basil Hetzel became a founding member of the South Australian Mental Health Association, and along with other members, went on to assist with the establishment of the crisis support service Lifeline which still runs today.

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Basil Hetzel held the position of first chief of the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition.


Basil Hetzel was the Chancellor of the University of South Australia from 1992, shortly after its establishment, until 1998.


In 2005, the building for health sciences at the university's City East campus was named the Basil Hetzel building and the campus library has a Hetzel room which contains a collection of his research.


Basil Hetzel was Lieutenant Governor of South Australia from April 1992 to May 2000.


Basil Hetzel was chair of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre from 1998 to 2007.


Basil Hetzel worked in remote areas of Papua New Guinea with the Public Health Department of the then Territory, and his research concluded that the endemic goitre and associated cretinism was attributable to an iodine deficient diet.


Basil Hetzel demonstrated that dietary supplementation would entirely prevent these illnesses.


In 1983 Basil Hetzel married again, to Anne Fisher, the widow of the headmaster of Geelong Grammar School, Charles Fisher.


Basil Hetzel was a member of Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide.