Rare honour for former local doctor

A FORMER Graftonian has been awarded a Honorary Fellowship of The Council of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (CRACS).

Doctor Mitchell Notaras left Grafton after finishing school and went on to become an international surgeon and founder of a multinational company.

Dr Notaras, 72, said the fellowship was the highest tribute he had received in his long and distinguished career.

"It is a great honour to have started out in Grafton and I naturally feel greatly honoured to be given this fellowship," Dr Notaras said.

The retired surgeon is now based in London.

CRACS fellowships are only issued from time to time to recognise significant work of eminent individuals in any field of endeavour.

Dr Notaras, the son of Greek immigrants, grew up in Mary Street along with his siblings Angelo, John, Betty and Irene.

Before graduating from the University of Sydney Medical School in 1957, Dr Notaras would volunteer at Grafton Base Hospital during his holidays.

He said as a Commonwealth Government Scholarship recipient, he felt an obligation to give back and donated $1.1 million to the University of Sydney to fund a perpetual colo-rectal surgical scholarship. After university, Dr Notaras travelled to the United Kingdom as a ship's surgeon to study for his fellowship in surgery and was later awarded the English, Edinburgh and American fellowships.

Dr Notaras established leading European company, Abgene, which specialised in gene and DNA technology and also developed new surgical techniques.

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