Paul White was born on 26 February 1910, in Bowral, New South Wales, the only child of Richard Sibford White, a farmer, and his wife, Rose, née Morgan. Richard White enlisted in the A.I.F. in 1915 but died one month later of meningitis whilst in camp. (White, Alias Jungle Doctor 4). Paul was a sickly child, suffering from bronchitis, so the family moved to Sydney where Paul attended Heathford Grammar School and Gordon Public School before attending Sydney Grammar School. White became a Christian when he was converted at a meeting held by Irish evangelist William Petteson Nicholson, and decided he wanted to work towards becoming a medical missionary (White 25). Athletics Champion at Sydney Grammar School, he won an Exhibition to the University of Sydney to study medicine. He was actively involved in athletics, being awarded a ‘Blue’, and was a founding member of the Evangelical Union (White 51). He graduated MB BS in 1935 and worked in several hospitals before spending four years as Superintendent of the Church Missionary Society Hospital in Tanganyika from 1938 with his wife Mary. The couple had two children, a son, David, and a daughter, Rosemary Helen. Returning to Australia in 1942 he began radio broadcasts on his time in Africa. These broadcasts continued until 1975. His first Jungle Doctor book was published in 1942 by Paternoster Press and he quickly became a popular author. By 1959 over one million copies of his books had been published (White 134). He was best known as ‘The Jungle Doctor’. By 1977 his books had been translated into over 50 languages and sold over two million copies and his radio show ran for 32 years. Until 1973 all royalties from his novels went to Tanganyika for missionary and Christian work (White 136). His wife suffered from mental illness and died in the 1970s. Paul married his secretary, Ruth Longe, who was 25 years his junior. White died in 1992.
Despite his prolific writing career and widespread fame in both print and radio as ‘The Jungle Doctor’, Paul White has received little scholarly recognition in Australia. He does not appear in major Australian literature references like The Oxford Companion to Australian Children’s Literature. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that the majority of his stories were set in Africa, but he deserves recognition for his extensive career and influence.
White, Paul. Alias Jungle Doctor: An Autobiography. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1977.
December 3, 1926: Jungle Doctor Signed a Decision Card Christian History Institute
Wikipedia article: Paul_White_(missionary)
Wikipedia article: Paul_White_(missionary)
The Ranford Mystery Miler Exeter, Devon: The Paternoster Press, 1960. 158 pages. Not illus.
Ructions at Ranford. London: The Paternoster Press, 1961. 156 pages. Not illus.
Ranford Goes Fishing. Devon: The Paternoster Press, 1962. 151 pages. Not illus.
The third story in the Ranford series, Ranford Goes Fishing centres on the conversion of Irish schoolboy, Pat McGarrigal, more commonly known as ‘Mac’. Mac is almost a masculine version of the Irish madcap heroine so favoured by British girls’ school story authors1 which established the stereotype of a wild undisciplined yet kind-hearted schoolgirl – Mac is undisciplined, does not like school rules, regularly breaks bounds and has run away in the past. Mac is often in conflict with his chemistry teacher, Mr Mildwater. Mac had been friends with Horsey and Cowie, but becomes distant after Horsey becomes a Christian. Mac, a true Irish madcap, thinks there are too many rules in Christianity. Despite this, Dick and Horsey try to convert him. Mac meets a young man, Alan, during an illicit fishing trip, and when he later finds out that Alan is a Christian, he is shocked, as he had thought Alan was too much of a sport to be a Christian. White and Britten feature a similar attitude in Ructions at Ranford. Mac is moved to Griffith House under Mr Mildwater and begins a campaign of ragging against the master. When Mac learns that his father has lost his money and he will have to leave school after the current term and he becomes even more rebellious. After a rag backfires, Mac breaks bounds and becomes a Christian, realising the error in his ways. Mac is able to stay on at Ranford when he is rewarded by the grateful father of two girls he had rescued from the surf.
The Ranford series is continued in a fourth title, Ranford in Flames (1965), in which the wayward Perky becomes a Christian during an Inter-Schools Christian Camp. The story is set solely in the camp with no school action.
White, Paul and Britten, David. Ranford in Flames. London: Paternoster Press, 1965.
1See Pixie series by Mrs G Horne de Vaizey, Madcap Melody by Judith Carr, etc