Category Archives: Life and Times


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Dr Geoffrey Edelsten has had a major impact on medical treatment in Australia.  His legacy will continue long after him.  On the basis of illegally obtained ambiguous evidence his reputation has suffered, but only amongst those who do not know him.  Despite everything thrown at him, Edelsten continues to advance his clinics and to his contributions to Australian medicine.


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Edelsten expects charity from no one.

On the other hand he currently expends a considerable investment of time and money to his favourite charitable pursuits.

As a result of his past history with Fred, and their doctor/patient relationship, Edelsten holds the Fred Hollows Foundation in the highest esteem and is proud to recommend it to all Australians.

He has donated substantial sums to Music Rostrum to foster young music talent, the Australian Sports Foundation, The Autistic Children’s Society, his school, Mt. Scopus Memorial College, and many junior sports groups.  He has donated more than $500,000 to charities.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Sydney Swans

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By 1985 the Sydney Swans were in dire financial difficulty and the Victorian Football League had supported the club to the best of its financial capability.  The other clubs were balking and unwilling to pour further monies into Sydney.  The experiment was almost over and South Melbourne supporters were preparing for a homecoming.  Ongoing funding of the Swans was critical and a white knight was badly needed.  In Dr Geoffrey Edelsten the VFL found their white knight.  Others considered Edelsten to be a walking wallet; others considered him to be a pigeon; others a patsy.  Whatever way it went, Edelsten had the cash and the pizzazz that the VFL and the Swans badly needed.


 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Contrary to popular belief Edelsten did not buy the Swans.  Edelsten purchased a franchise or licence to operate the Swans.

Edelsten leaped in and changed the face of Australian Football.  He was approached by the directors of Westeq a publicly listed company to assist them establishing medical centres in Western Australia.  They became enamoured with Edelsten’s procurement of the Swans and together with Edelsten’s assistance facilitated an IPO of Powerplay Ltd where Edelsten remained the largest single investor and spent 1 million dollars of his own money.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times  Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

He remained chairman of the Sydney Swans following the Powerplay listing.

Westeq and Powerplay, with Bob Pritchard responsible for the marketing of the Swans, mismanaged dismally the process.  Following Edelsten’s resignation as Chairman of the Sydney Swans, Powerplay went belly up losing more than 20 million dollars and the licence was resumed by the AFL for 1 dollar.

The Swans have been rescued.  The VFL coffers have benefited, the VFL is saved, and the AFL is being born.  Who needs Edelsten anymore ?  But we don’t want to give back any of his money! Any money-recovery action must be headed off.

Millions of dollars are at stake.

Who won, who lost ?

The licence was then purchased by a number of high profile Swans supporters such as the TV personality Mike Willessee who had been criticised for drunk TV appearances.  Twelve months after commencement the licence is again rescinded and now Willessee is out (good little money earner for someone).

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times


 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times  Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

New Medical Career

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New Medical Career

Edelsten sold off his Sydney practices in late 80’s and returned to Melbourne,

He then embarked upon a new medical career in 1999 by commencing one of the first DNA paternity testing services – Gene-e Pty Ltd.  In 2001 he commenced Victoria’s first 24 hour bulk-billing medical centre and this was followed by several others.  His success has resulted in his operating several of the largest clinics in Melbourne and consulting to other groups.

Edelsten’s inability to practice medicine as a result of the NSW Medical Tribunal’s (MT-NSW) decisions has proven no obstacle to his owning and operating medical centres.  Re-registration is a nicety only.  And as he’s operating outside their sphere of control they are of little consequence.  He understands the jealousy of his achievements by certain sections of the medical profession and forgives them for their petty revenge.  They have taken away his ability to practice as a medical doctor, but this does not change the fact that he qualified as a doctor, had a significant career as a doctor, and has and does put more into medicine and doctoring than many put in over several lifetimes.

Up till now, the main factor against Edelsten’s re-admittance has been his constant protestations of innocence.  Whilst Edelsten continues to assert his innocence the Medical Tribunal will continue to point to his failure to re-habilitate himself, citing as proof his assertions of innocence.  Stand-off Catch-22 style.  To be re-admitted Edelsten must admit guilt and agree to their terms.

In the meantime Edelsten will continue to achieve far more as a medical company owner than he ever did as a GP.

Edelsten’s ongoing mentoring and teaching of overseas trained doctors is continuing apace, and this is proving to be a most valuable contribution to the individual practitioners and to their clinics.

Other New Businesses

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Edelsten commenced an innovative service providing movies to hotels called Video Cinema Pty Ltd.  This was the first time in Australia that movies could be watched by patrons in hotels in Australia.

The fitness revolution had not yet begun but Edelsten could clearly see that weight control and fitness would become major elements in society health.  He took over the John Valentine Health Club chain and expanded the fitness centres to new locations.  They were glamorous, upmarket centres, with pools and gymnasiums.

Edelsten then took over another underperforming group of weight loss centres in Sydney and Melbourne and became an expert in the Protein Sparing Modified Fast weight control program [refs from website].

Centrefold Nightclub

By | Centrefold Nightclub | No Comments


In 1975, Geoffrey Edelsten established a nightclub which he called "Centrefold".  It was located in the heart of Sydney’s entertainment district.  The site had previously been a licensed club.  It was the largest club of its type in Sydney, and could accommodate more than 2,000 people.

The Club consisted of three floors, in addition to a ground floor reception.  On the first floor was a theatre restaurant and provided live Australian productions served with dinner.  On the second floor was the showroom where top international acts of the time starred, whilst an a-la-carte restaurant provided cuisine from leading chefs.

Hit makers, such as the Stylistics, Billy Jean Bodine, George McCrae, and many others, performed.  It was the place to be – visitors and patrons included the Australian A-list, along with a continuous stream of international stars including ABBA.

On the top floor was a penthouse private club to which people clamoured to be invited.

On the grounds of fire exits, the authorities opposed the granting of a liquor licence, despite the premises being previously licensed.   It was here that Edelsten was subject to his first extortion threats when substantial payments were demanded to provide warning of police raids.  The club continued trading whilst conducting appeals, but the logistics of supplying liquor bought from retail suppliers, and on-selling, were onerous and unduly expensive.  After one year the club was closed.

Medical Career

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1 Intern

During Edelsten’s intern year he showed his penchant for innovation and business by rostering his colleagues to provide relief (locum) work for surrounding private practices.  Edelsten also commenced the first home visiting service in Melbourne.  This was Melbourne’s first after-hours medical deputising service.

2 Music

During Edelsten’s medical undergraduate years he developed a love for popular music, and after helping promote a number of artists, including the Francoise Hardy Number 1 "Only you can do it", formed his own label "Scope Records" and began managing bands.  During the second half of the 1960s, Edelsten played a significant role in the Melbourne music scene. An early discovery was John Farnham, who come for an interview and sang in the nurses room at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, before signing with EMI and a hugely successful career followed.  Geoffrey Edelsten managed the group The Last Straws and helped co-write their first hit record "I can’t stop loving you baby" and "A woman of gradual decline".[7][8]

Geoffrey Edelsten produced two number one records – "Everlasting Love" by the Town Criers (this song has been recorded many times since by numerous artists including Doug Parkinson, U2, Gloria Estefan and others, and was in the “Bridget Jones Diary” film).  Other groups with whom Edelsten was involved in the early days of Australian music included Cam-pact which in 1967 were signed by Edelsten’s Hit Productions company. Their first single "Something Easy"/"Michael" charted in Melbourne in early 1968[9] and they had more than ten Top 10 records.  Later in 1968, Edelsten co-produced the single "Love Machine" for the studio group Pastoral Symphony, comprising Glenn Shorrock & The Twilights and other musicians.[10]  It reached number 1.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

3 Flying

Following his term as an intern Geoffrey Edelsten became a country doctor at Birchip in Western Victoria, and then Wauchope in N.S.W. where he commenced learning to fly.  He completed his private pilot’s licence whilst at Aramac in Western Queensland.  He commenced a aviation charter company based at Bankstown airport in Sydney.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

4 Country Doctor

In Aramac, Edelsten was the only doctor for approximately 100km and he used his plane to service remote communities.  At the end of his contract period at Aramac he moved to Walgett in North Western N.S.W. where he purchased his first practice.  Edelsten used his plane, a Piper Cherokee Arrow VH-PFB, to provide a medical service to the surrounding towns of Lightning Ridge and Burren Junction, and would regularly visit Coonamble, Coonabarabran and Dubbo, using his plane to take ill patients from Walgett to the Dubbo Base Hospital.  Edelsten has been widely acclaimed for his life saving work.  Because of the absence of veterinary surgeons, Edelsten was called upon to assist with veterinary emergencies.

As a result of his love of flying, he pursued, and was granted, accreditation  as a civil aviation medical examiner, providing medical examinations for pilots.  As the only doctor in the town he was a State and Commonwealth Government Medical Officer, and performed autopsies for the Coroner.  Edelsten was also an Honorary Medical Officer for Walgett District Hospital.

In 1971 Edelsten moved to Sydney.  Edelsten recruited another doctor to work at Walgett and would return using his plane at least once per week.  Edelsten then purchased a practice in Coogee and an apartment near by.

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

5 Group Practice

The Coogee practice was followed by practices in Hammondville, Moorebank, Chipping Norton, Georges Hall, Fairfield, Liverpool, Macquarie Fields, Campbelltown and Eastlakes.  This was the first time in Australia that a group practice had established multiple locations.  Key medical practitioners were recruited for many of the sites, but Dr. Edelsten visited all sites in a gruelling work schedule, which commenced at 5.00 a.m. operating 6 days per week, and then would consult until midnight virtually 7 days per week (and these continue to be his working hours to the present day).  Edelsten was informed by Government authorities that he was the busiest doctor in Australia.

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times   Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times   Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times
 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times   Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times   Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

6 Obstetrics

Edelsten was appointed an Honorary Medical Officer at Liverpool District Hospital, Fairfield District Hospital, Bankstown District Hospital and Greenoaks Private Hospital.  It has been estimated that Edelsten has delivered approximately 20,000 babies in his professional life.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

7 Surgery

Edelsten’s work as a country doctor equipped him to undertake a wide range of surgical procedures which was increasingly rare for a GP.  Edelsten would regularly do Ts & As (Tonsils and Adenoids), Appendectomy, Laparoscopy, D & C (Dilatation & Curettage), Vasectomy, Circumcision and many other procedures.

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

8 Pathology

In the early 1970s Edelsten changed pathology practices in Australia forever with the first commercial pathology laboratory – Preventicare.  Until this time a GP would refer patients to a pathologist for pathology collection and testing.  This was performed at the pathologist’s rooms.

In the Preventicare model, GPs would collect the specimens from the patient, couriers would then collect the specimens and they were then processed at a central laboratory.  Results were provided to the referring GP via telecommunications using IBM’s "call 360" service.

Edelsten introduced the most modern pathology testing equipment for the first time in Australia, and this included a biochemistry analyser, which could process 12 different biochemical examinations in a very short time, at a fraction of the cost of existing equipment.  This resulted in other pathologists being forced to duplicate the technology in order to compete.

This was the first time in Australia, and one of the first times in the world, that these pathology practices were introduced.

Preventicare expanded rapidly and was supported by leading medical practitioners of the day such as Professor Fred Hollows.  The rapid expansion was funded by a merchant bank, Development Underwriting Limited (DUL), and a laboratory was set up in Melbourne in addition to the Sydney laboratory.  Within months, hundreds of general practitioners and specialists had joined the network.

After a stock market downturn, DUL was unable to continue its funding and Preventicare was forced into provisional administration.  After a brief period under provisional administration, Preventicare changed its name to “Morlea Pathology” and traded out of its difficulties, and out of debt. Within a short period Morlea became most successful.

Edelsten predicted that as a result of new technologies, the rebates under the government’s medical benefits scheme would be reduced significantly.  Although this took several years, Edelsten decided to sell his interest in Morlea Pathology to his junior co-shareholder, Dr. Thomas Wenkart.  Dr Wenkart changed the name of the company to Maquarie Health Care Group which went on to become  one of the largest pathology companies in Australia. Dr Wenkart ran Maquarie for twenty years before selling to Mayne Health for $45 million.


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1 Childhood

Geoffrey Edelsten was born opposite the Carlton Football ground at Princes Park in Carlton, an inner suburb of Melbourne.  He was the elder son of Esther and Hymie Edelsten.   Edelsten attended Princes Hill Public School and his early childhood in Carlton was an important contribution to his love for Australian Football and the Carlton Football Club in particular.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Edelsten’s parents instilled in him a strong work ethic.  They both worked intensively after Hymie Edelsten (now deceased) returned from World War 2 having served in the Australian Defence Forces from 1940-1945.  They moved residence from Carlton to Brighton, and Esther and Hymie commenced a lingerie retail chain "Linda Leigh" which they operated successfully until they sold it in the late 1970s, and retired.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Geoffrey Edelsten changed schools to Mt. Scopus Memorial College, Australia’s first Jewish co-educational school, whose first and major campus was established in Burwood.  Edelsten excelled academically and was an outstanding sportsman, where he captained the school football and cricket teams, won the 100m sprint and was the first House Captain of Bialik House, which won the school competition in its first year.  Edelsten was a senior officer (C.U.O.) in the school cadet corps and a school prefect.

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

2 Awards

At Mt Scopus Edelsten was awarded the Lovaran Cup as the most outstanding student athlete, and the M S Bromberger Prize as the student that others most wished to emulate.

 Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times    Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

3 Scholarship

Edelsten was awarded a Commonwealth scholarship to the Medical School of the University of Melbourne.

4 University

Geoff Edelsten had a distinguished undergraduate career where he obtained honours in many subjects, and was awarded the Exhibition (1st in class) in Anatomy, including Histology and Embryology, sharing this prize with Richard Larkins (now Vice-Chancellor of Monash University).  Edelsten’s name appears on the honour board in the School of Medicine as a prosector in Anatomy.  Honours in medicine in his final year ensured his appointment as a junior medical officer (intern) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Prof Dr Geoffrey Edelsten Life and Times

Geoff Edelsten’s Life

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Edelsten in the U.S.A.

In 1976, Edelsten went to the U.S.A. West Coast for the first time and fell in love with Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

Edelsten returned shortly after his vacation determined to spend more of his time in the U.S.A.  Through Edelsten’s various business interests in Australia he had met Mr. Herb Margolis, who had produced and directed movies such as the ‘Wackiest Ship in the Army’ and was a lecturer at UCLA in the Performing Arts. Margolis also worked for Penthouse Magazine as its West Coast editor, and had provided actresses and models for the opening of the Centrefold Night Club in Australia.

Edelsten moved into a beautiful home off Coldwater Canyon, since which had been owned by the British movie star, Lawrence Harvey ("Room at the Top") before his death.  This magnificent home overlooked Beverly Hills.  Edelsten engaged a welsh couple, Lillian and Ray, who left Dean Martin’s employ to work for him.  Lillian was Housekeeper and Cook and Ray was the Chauffeur. 

Through househunting and Morgolis, he met celebrities such as Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Linda Carter, Sylvester Stallone, Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards, Shirley McLean, John Travalto and many others.

Edelsten was a guest of the Academy Awards.  Australian newspapers carried stories of romantic involvement with Diana Ross and Linder Carter [8].

Edelsten commenced his medical business in Los Angeles purchasing three clinics – Vedugo Hills Medical Center in Greendale, Santa Monica Medical Center and East Los Angeles Medical Center, together with a pathology laboratory named Preventeine Inc. and would reside in Beverly Hills for 3 weeks each month and return to Australia for the remaining one week each month.

In Australia Edelsten would manage the 64 clinics in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.  He would also consult patients, and conduct the confinements of his pregnant patients.

Other trips from L.A. to Sydney or Melbourne were made to watch his beloved Carlton Football Club, particularly in finals.

After a year in his Beverly Hills residence, Edelsten moved to Perugia Way Bel-Air.  This magnificent home, with beautiful tennis court, pool and 7 bedrooms, became his home during his remaining stay in L.A. prior to moving back to Sydney to properly manage his burgeoning medical empire.  The Bel-Air home was sold to Barry Manilow.


[8] Melbourne Herald 1977