On Saturday 2nd July 2011 the Maltese Community in Melbourne lost one of its prominent members when Dr Edgar Gatt passed away aged 89 years. Dr Gatt migrated to Australia in 1966, where he practised as a general practitioner and anaesthetist mostlyin the western suburbs of Melbourne between 1966 and 1990.
Dr Gatt served as President of the Maltese Ex-Services Association, RSL Sub-branch, for three years between 1996 and 1999. In that role he effected a number of reforms in the Association’s constitution leading to its incorporation. He then continued to serve for a few years as Immediate Past President and member of the committee.
Dr Edgar Anthony John Gatt, MD, Ph.C, General Practitioner and photographer, was born in Hamrun, Malta on 8th June 1922 and educated at the Lyceum and the Royal University of Malta, where he graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1945 and as Doctor of Medicine in 1949. He continued his medical education in the UK specialising in anaesthesia. He joined HM Overseas Medical Service and worked as anaesthetist in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia between 1952 and 1963.
Dr Gatt’s main hobby was always photography. He attended the School of Art in Valletta in the pre-war years. He was Vice-President and President of the Melbourne Camera Club, which involved him in teaching new members in the “Introduction to Photography” course run twice yearly. He was Director of International Portfolios for the Australian Photographic Society and editor of the Newsletter of the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies. He has also served as President of the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies.
Dr Gatt was also a member of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. He lectured on photography at country clubs and was a judge at both national and international exhibitions. He was the recipient of the honour ‘State Service to Australian Photographic Society’, and of ‘Special Service to the Victorian Association of Photographic Society’. Dr Gatt held a number of exhibitions of his photographic work in Victoria.
In appreciation of Dr Gatt’s involvement with the photographic associations and the hobby of photography in general, the Australian Photographic Society conferred the honour of SSAPS (State Service to APS), while the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies bestowed on him the honour of SSVAPS (Special Service to the Victorian Association of Photographic Society).
Edgar has had a number of exhibitions of his photographic work, including:
- 1990: exhibition in the Administration Building, in Parkes, NSW, organized by the Knights of the Southem Cross. Funds raised on this occasion went to help the Knight’s project for building homes for the elderly.
- 1990: “Flavors of the Mediterranean” at the Gallery of the Melbourne Camera Club, in conjunction with his son Robert.
- 1994: exhibition opened by Dr Anton Tabone in Sunshine, Victoria on his visit.
- “ISLANDS IN THE SUN – Cultural Contact in the Maltese Archipelago” exhibition organized by the University of Melbourne
- Other exhibitions were held over a number of years in Sunshine, Victoria.
In 1995 Dr Gatt was the recipient of the Manuel de Vilhena Award in 1995 for his “Wonderful Contribution to Maltese Culture in Australia”.
Dr Gatt married Queenie (Regina) Gatt, Ph.C. in 1952 and has four children: Charles, Rosemarie, Robert, and Raymond.