Missionary doctor

One can only imagine how many lives were saved/changed/blessed by physician Gilbert McLaren during his 40 years of service in Adventist hospitals around the world.

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Gilbert McLaren (pictured right).

Missionary physician Gilbert Henry Alexander McLaren was born into an Adventist family, in Preston, Victoria, on February 13, 1913. Moving to Fiji with his missionary parents when he was five, most of his childhood was spent there and in Papua New Guinea.

Studying medicine at Melbourne University, Gilbert graduated in 1937 (MB, BS) and married Miriam Alice Redward on January 12, 1938. To this happy union three children were born: Margaret (1938), Thomas (1942) and Jillian (1946).

Gilbert McLaren began his denominational service career in January 1938, initially for just a few months at Warburton Sanitarium and Hospital before transferring mid-year to the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital, serving there as a staff physician until the end of August 1950, though he and his family spent 1948 in the United States where he undertook further study and gained some international experience.

Returning to Warburton in September 1950 for three years as the medical director, Dr McLaren then took up a new appointment in the Far Eastern Division of the Adventist Church as a staff physician at Youngberg Memorial Hospital in Singapore.

After working at St Johns Hospital in Baltimore, USA, during 1958, the General Conference called Dr McLaren to the Andrews Adventist Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, where he was the medical director for two-and-a-half years before returning to Australia where he became, once again, the medical director of the Warburton Sanitarium and Hospital, in mid-1961, remaining in that role until April 1965.

Following five years in private practice in Morisset, New South Wales, Australia, Dr McLaren then returned to denominational service, spending three years until mid-1973 as the medical director of the Saigon Adventist Hospital in Vietnam during the difficult years of the Vietnam War. His next posting was as a physician at the Hong Kong and Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospitals.

From his return to Australia in late 1975, Dr McLaren served, once again, as a GP at Sydney Adventist Hospital until he retired in late 1977.

Survived by his wife and all of his children, Dr McLaren went to his rest on January 20, 1989 and now awaits the resurrection in the Avondale Cemetery. He was a devoted husband and his wife paid him the ultimate marital compliment, stating that in their 51 years of marriage he never spoke one unkind word to her.


Lester Devine is director emeritus of the Ellen G White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College.