R W Medlicott was born in Waimate and was educated at Waitaki Boys’ High School. He became a leading figure in psychiatry in New Zealand and Australia. He joined the staff at Porirua hospital as medical officer in 1939 and later became senior medical officer.
R W Medlicott was medical superintendent at Ashburn Hall for 31 years from 1947 until 1978. Even after he retired from being medical superintendent, he continued on a part time basis as staff psychiatrist. He was instrumental in bringing Ashburn Hall up to date with the latest developments in mental health treatment, including modern physical treatments as well as group therapy.
He had particular interests and expertise in forensic psychiatry and was respected nationally and internationally. In his retirement he worked in this field at Porirua Hospital and the southern North Island in the early 1980s.
In 1978 Professor Medlicott was also personal professor of graduate studies in psychological medicine at the University of Otago and honorary psychiatric physician at the Dunedin Public Hospital. He became professor emeritus at the University of Otago’s Medical School.
After his death some of his library was bequeathed to Porirua Hospital for its library. With the closure of that library the collection went to the Wellington Medical School library.
“Ashburn Hall – 99 years of mental care”, Otago Daily Times, 28 February 1981.