Sir Ernest Edward 'Weary' Dunlop is one of the extraordinary figures in Australia's history. His name and deeds are associated with compassion, courage, steadfastness and hope.
Ernest Edward Dunlop was born on 12 July, 1907 at Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia, the son of James and Alice Dunlop and younger brother of Alan. Ernest Edward Dunlop, Ernie or Ern as he was called, lived on his father's farm at Sheepwash Creek and was exposed to a culture of privation and extremes from an early age.
Edward Dunlop would listen attentively to the tales of his great grandfather's exploits in India and to those of the four family members who had volunteered to serve King and Country during the First World War (1914-1918).
As a youth he was excited about the adventure and challenge of his era; he longed for the bugles of the distant war that was then raging.
Edward Dunlop was a good student and possessed above average intellect but was quoted as saying 'I only did what was necessary'. His main passion was engaging in boisterous activities with his brothers, playing red indians and riding their horses. He had an inquisitive mind, loved to read and at 16 years of age had completed his studies at Benalla High School. He accepted an apprenticeship with the local pharmacist Mr. W. M. McCall Say as well as entering into a correspondence course with the College of Pharmacy in Melbourne.
In 1927 he travelled to Melbourne where he completed his Pharmacy course graduating top of his class and receiving the first H.T. Tompsitt Scholarship. Later that year Edward Dunlop received a letter from the Director of Studies informing him of additional awards: The Gold Medal of the Pharmaceutical Society, the Silver Medal for Botany and certificates of Honour in Chemistry and Materia Medica. By this diligent work Edward Dunlop laid the foundations for his future success and greatness.
In the same year, he began to study medicine at The University of Melbourne, excelling in his studies and also in sport, playing with 'The Wallabies', Australia's national rugby team as well as becoming the University's champion boxer.
Standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, fearless and strong, Edward Dunlop had all the qualities that would ensure his sporting and military success.
Graduating from Melbourne University in 1934 with his medical degree (MB BS), he was granted a fellowship at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
This not only gave Edward Dunlop a great sense of achievement, but the opportunity to become one of Australia's best known surgeons.
Soon after his graduation, Edward Dunlop joined the Coburg/Brunswick Battalion of the Citizen Military Forces and from there he enrolled in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps (R.A.A.M.C.) where he was commissioned as a Captain as well as being given the nickname 'Weary'.
Edward Dunlop as a youth with his mother Alice.
Edward Dunlop and brother Alan as fierce warriors.
Edward Dunlop as a young apprentice with local pharmacist Mr W.M. McCall Say.