OBITUARY FOR PROFESSOR JOHN CORBETT 18.12.1940 – 8.4.2023
Passing of eminent Gold Coast neurologist, Professor John Corbett
One of the Gold Coast’s most respected medical practitioners, Professor John Corbett, has died.
An eminent neurologist, Rhodes Scholar and founder of Corbett Neurophysiology Services, 82-year-old Professor Corbett served the Gold Coast for three decades in the fields of neurology, neurophysiology, and sleep medicine. His passing closes a medical, scientific and business career that spanned more than 50 years in the UK, US and Australia.
Born in Brisbane in 1940, John Corbett excelled in his early studies becoming Dux of his primary school and a captain of Gregory Terrace. The recipient of an Open Scholarship to the University of Queensland, he graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery.
In 1965, Professor Corbett was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and spent the next nine years at the University of Oxford, where he completed his PhD in Neurophysiology. He also became the inaugural BMA Research Fellow, an Oxford Don and published more than 50 articles in learned academic journals.
New opportunities tempted him away from Oxford and in 1973 he took up senior neurology appointments at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.
Returning to Australia in 1974, he fulfilled a Senior Neurology role at the Royal Brisbane Hospital before launching his private neurology clinical practice in Sydney. His expertise proved invaluable in the medical arena and the law, culminating in more than 5,000 medico-legal reports and regular appearances as an expert witness. He was involved in placing the first ever CT machines in Australia into the North Shore Private Hospital and other locations.
In the 1980s, Professor Corbett decided to try his hand at business and industry. To this end he worked in the field of mining of minerals – clay, tin and gold and he was an innovator in the development of ultrasonic engineering applications for piling, earthmoving, mining and mineral processing. His next foray was Weapons Training Systems, involving high level contracts with the Australian Army and various international contracts, such as the USA Army. He was regarded as the saviour of the Kemtron and Lomah groups. Like everything he turned his mind to, he proved to be a successful businessman but he missed the challenges medicine had given him and ultimately, resumed his medical career.
Professor Corbett launched Corbett Medical Services on the Gold Coast in 1994, operating out of the magnificent family home, Surrey House, in Southport. He was also a founding member of SNORE Australia, which became Australia’s largest provider of Level 1 sleep studies.
In 2000 John and Lorraine purchased a 156-acre botanical estate at Springbrook adjacent to the World Heritage Rain Forest and spent 22 years fulfilling his love of nature, he worked tirelessly on beautifying the land. He could then be found on the weekends on a tractor plowing fields and planting tree farms.
He received the Australian Centenary Medal Award in 2001 for Distinguished Service in the Field of Medicine. In 2011, Epilepsy Queensland presented him with its Flame Award for his years of services and support.
He is survived by his devoted wife Lorraine, much loved daughter Vanessa, son in law Sean, and grandchildren Brooke and Harrison.
A true gentleman of wisdom and compassion, who will be greatly missed by all who knew him