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John Yu AC

b. 1934

Dr John Yu (b.1934), retired paediatrician and hospital administrator, was born in Nanking, China and moved to Australia with his parents when he was three years old. Educated in Sydney, he worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (which became the New Children’s Hospital, Westmead) from 1961 to 1997, becoming Head of Medicine and serving as its Chief Executive for 19 years before retiring in 1997.

For many years he chaired and served on diverse bodies related to children’s health, education, medicine and the arts. Chancellor of the University of New South Wales from 2000 to 2005 and Chair of the Australia-China Council from 2001 to 2006, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1997 to 2006, when he was made a Life Governor of the Gallery. From 2004 he was Chair of VisAsia, promoting appreciation of Asian visual arts and culture. He has published a number of books and many papers on paediatrics, hospital management and the decorative arts.

John Yu was Australian of the Year in 1996 and is a designated Living National Treasure. Accepting his Australian of the Year Award, Yu said, ‘I am proud of my Chinese heritage but even prouder to be an Australian’.

Updated 2018