Dr Thomas Henry Fiaschi was born in Florence in 1853. He was educated at the Universities of Pisa and Florence. In 1875, at the age of 22, he migrated to Australia and established a medical practice in Windsor. Between 1879 and 1883 he was surgeon to Hawkesbury Hospital and Benevolent Society, pioneering modern surgery through Listerian antisepsis, dramatically improving the post-operative mortality rate. Dr Fiaschi also pioneered work in anaesthesia, thoracic and cardiothoracic surgery, facio-maxillary surgery, the treatment of goitre, skin grafting, hydatid disease and bone surgery. People came from all over the colony to be treated by him.
Fiaschi had other interests. In 1882 he was President of the School of the Arts, and in the same year he purchased 230 acres at Sackville Reach and established a vineyard. The vineyard had expanded to 54 acres by 1889. In 1887 he built the Tizzana Winery, and soon became known as an expert vigneron. He was considered by some to be the father of the modern wine industry. He won a medal for his exhibit of wine at the Centennial International Exhibition (Official Record of the Exhibition, p.599 - NU 20484), and was President of the Australian Wine Producers Association from 1902-1927.
In 1883 Fiaschi moved his practice to Sydney, and in March 1891 he became honorary surgeon captain in the New South Wales Lancers. He was appointed surgeon at the Sydney Hospital in 1894, a post he held for 19 years. He remained honorary consulting surgeon there until his death in 1927. Fiaschi served with the Italian Army in Abyssinia in 1896, and during the Boer War, he commanded the NSW 1st Field Hospital and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. He was honorary surgeon to the Governor-General from 1902-1909.
When war broke out again Dr Fiaschi left Sydney for Lemnos, where he commanded the 3rd Australian General Hospital. He began to suffer from beriberi due to a thiamine deficiency, and was evacuated to England. He temporarily resigned his commission to allow him to serve as a surgeon with the Italian Red Cross in a military hospital at Schio. Fiaschi returned to Australia in October 1917 and joined the Australian Army Medical Corps Reserve. He retired in January 1921 as an honorary Brigadier-General.
During his medical career Fiaschi held influential positions and took an active interest in areas such as medical education, art and literature, agriculture, language and professional groups associated with medicine and nursing.
Fiaschi died of pneumonia in 1927.
Hawkesbury District Health Service website http://www.hdhs.com.au/thomas_fiaschi.shtml
Tizzana Winery website http://www.tizzana.com.au/history.html.