Dr Ken Hicks

Vale Ken Hicks – Wilkes 1963, Wilkes 1965

Kenneth Edward Hicks was born on 26 November 1921. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney in 1946. Ken served two years with ANARE, going twice to Wilkes station. In 1963 he was both Medical Officer and second-in-charge, and again in 1965, as Medical Officer and second-in-charge to OIC Jack Lanyon.

Ken was a very popular member of the 1965 expedition. He supplemented his medical duties with an ongoing medical research project, and his role as chief projectionist on film nights. He also patented recipes for crème de menthe and crème to cacao for memorable party nights. He willingly undertook routine tasks around the station, and his ham and red bean soup that bubbled on the stove for hours in a huge pan was known to all as “Hicksy’s Farting Bean Soup”. Ken was an amateur radio enthusiast, with the call sign VK0KH at Wilkes. It was not unusual for him to be on the radio for a 24 hour stretch when a competition was on. Ken was awarded the Polar Medal for his year at Wilkes in 1965.

Ken was married first in Sydney in 1943 to Joyce Anne Elizabeth Murphy. They had a son David, but divorced in 1957. He later married Paulette, who was a nurse on Lord Howe Island whilst Ken was the Island doctor between 1972 and 1988. They had a son Simon.

Apart from his time on Lord Howe, Ken, who had an association with the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Sydney, also spent some time in the Cocos-Keeling Islands. He was a keen yachtsman and maintained his ham radio interest with the call sign VK2BKE (and later on Lord Howe, VK9LK).

Paulette and Ken retired to Inverell in New South Wales where Ken died on 19 October 2013, at the age of 90.

Ken Shennan

Published Aurora Journal Winter 2014