International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Cyril John Austin

    Status Medical Missionary
    Country United Kingdom


    Cyril John Austin (1900-?) was a British medical missionary known for his work in Fiji and China.

    Austin was born in Devon, England, the sixth of seven children.

    He spent 6 months in the Officers Training Corp during WWI before studying medicine in Edinburgh.

    In 1923 he went to China to serve as a medical missionary. He was first sent to Wen Chou, and subsequently to Chau Tung Fu. He began his work on leprosy at Chaotong Hospital in Yunnan, China, and helped to start the anti-leprosy campaign at "Stone Gateway."

    In Chau Tung Fu he met and married his wife (also a medical missionary), who gave birth to their daughter in 1927. Soon afterwards the situation in China became unstable, and all missionaries were recalled from the country. After a few months in England, the Austins took their work to Fiji where Dr Austin was posted to Levuka and Taveuni as Medical Officer, then Rotuma as Medical Officer and Resident Commisioner. A year later, in June 1930, he was tranferred to Makogai, where he was in charge of the Leprosy Hospital for 23 year and oversaw considerable improvements.

    Dr Austin was responsible for many leprosy surveys conducted in the South Pacific, including Nauru in 1951 and the British Solomons Protectorate in 1952. He received an OBE in 1946 and a CBE in 1955.

    He retired to New Zealand in 1953, where he continued to act as a Consultant on leprosy for the Medical Health Department. He was a member of the New Zealand Lepers' Trust Board and of its Leper Relief Ships' Committee.


    International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973.

    E M Ellery, Dr C J Austin, C.B.E., M.B., Ch.B. [8pp - no date or place of publication listed].

    Entry updated January 2016


    Austin, C. J. "A study of leprosy in Fiji." International Journal of Leprosy 4 (1936): 55-70.

    Austin, C.J. "Effects of sulphetrone treatment in Fiji", International Journal of Leprosy, 18.3 (1950): 345-9.

    Austin, C. J. "Leprosy in Fiji and the South Seas." International Journal of Leprosy 17 (1949): 4.

    Austin, C. J. "Modern leprosy treatment." Leprosy Review, 25.4 (1954): 174-8.

    Austin, C. J. "Regional and racial differences in leprosy." Leprosy review 19.1 (1948): 20.

    Austin, C. J. "The tuberculin reaction in patients of the Fiji leprosy hospital." International Journal of Leprosy, 19.1 (1951): 45-9.



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