“During the war the institute’s policy is to assist the Defence Department in every possible way.”1
Institute staff and space are increasingly given over to aiding the war effort. Research priorities focus on those infectious diseases most likely to affect service personnel, including influenza, scrub typhus, Q. fever and malaria.
Wartime activities include:
Institute director Dr Charles Kellaway, a World War I veteran and by now a well-known public figure, is appointed director of pathology at Army Headquarters, Melbourne.
He also acts as adviser to the Chemical Defence Board and the Army Inventions Directorate, and chairs the NHMRC’s Armoured Fighting Vehicles Committee studying the physiological requirements for tank crews. Kellaway later becomes scientific liaison officer to the Australian Army Medical Corps, with the rank of colonel.
At the request of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Great Britain, Kellaway travels the US, Canada and UK to study the latest developments in war medicine and to facilitate greater collaboration with Australian medical research.
1 Walter and Eliza Hall Institute 1939-40, Annual Report, Spectator Publishing Co., Melbourne