When  ‘Doctor’ Paul Rene Loubet was unmasked as an imposter in September 1917 he left behind a grieving, bewildered young widow. Nell Kent Loubet (nee Hughes) immediately moved back to her family’s home  in Toorak.

More positively, she graduated from Melbourne University in January 1918 as a Batchelor of Medicine and Surgery and was the first female doctor to be employed at Geelong Hospital.

Paul Loubet's widow was employed at Geelong Hospital


The new graduate would not have appreciated the patronizing tone of Punch Magazine’s  ‘Ladies Letter’ on the same subject;

‘Nell Kent Hughes has landed the position of resident surgeoness at the local hospital down Geelong way. Despite her matrimonial tangle, the brave little Australienne has fought through, and this paper think’s it’s up to it to reach out and shake her heartily by the hand for so splendidly upholding the tradition that Australian girls are scoring great success in the medical profession at home and abroad.’

Nell’s baby boy, David, was born on May 7. Soon afterwards she was appointed to the staff of  The Queen Victoria Hospital for Women and Children in Melbourne. It was agreed by the board that she could reside at the hospital with her young baby  and his nurse.

A few years later Dr Loubet married Francis Garde Wilson. She went on to have a wonderful career, specializing in women’s health. While working in Kingaroy she became the first woman elected to a local council in Queensland.  She died aged in 1979, having retired only two years earlier on the advice of her GP.

David Loubet Wilson became an army officer. He enlisted in WWII and was discharged with the rank of Major. Having served in Malaya he returned there post war, where he married and raised a family.  He spent many years in the Malay Civil Service and was awarded an MBE. He died in 1992. I can’t help wondering how much he was told about the father he never met. The truth would have been such a lot for him to cope with.

And what became of Paul Loubet’s daughter Yvonne? Well, sadly she died in London  aged only 23. Little is known about her life except that she married an American.



There was also fallout for those who allowed Paul Loubet to join a major hospital on the strength of a diploma that Detective Piggott so easily  recognized as fake.

The Victorian Government, as far as can be ascertained, has taken no action in the direction of clearing up the scandal connected with Paul Rene Loubet, a shameless imposter, who succeeded in inducing the Melbourne Hospital authorities to give him a position as a qualified medical practitioner on the staff of that institution. That the administrative machinery of a public hospital should be so defective as to admit of the entry into such a position of a mere adventurer without any qualification has not yet awakened the government to a sense of its responsibilities……‘   (The Age, Oct 6 1917)

A few days later the Loubet affair was raised in the Victorian parliament by member  John Billson, although he completely mishandled it.  Billson suggested that the Melbourne Hospital appointment  was due to the influence of the Hughes family and commented that it was most unfair that someone with social connections had been preferred over those without such connections, but with   proper qualifications.

This was very unfair, and of course the fault also lay with the  New South Wales medical registration  board.  They had accepted Loubet’s 1914 certificate from the Paris University without checking its validity. He had continued to be registered in NSW on the strength of that fraudulent certificate  until 1917.  A NSW registration would have given Victoria the confidence that all was well.

A retraction in regard to Loubet’s widow and her family came  from Billson the very next day;

He now believed that so far from Loubet’s  wife’s family aiding him, the opposite was the case, and the circumstances had brought deep sorrow to the wife and her relatives. He would be the last man to injure anyone, and he had mentioned the matter in the first place merely in the public interest, His sympathy was entirely with the lady whom Loubet married and her relatives.

The Premier stated last evening that he intended to discuss with the Inspector of Charities this morning the circumstances connected with the appointment of Loubet on the staff of the Melbourne Hospital. He  would then decide whether the circumstances warranted an inquiry into the question as it affected the administration of the hospital. (The Age, Oct. 10 1917)

NOTE – In an extraordinary co-incidence, the same month Loubet was appointed to the staff of the Melbourne Hospital, Dr Victor Ratten joined the staff of the Hobart Hospital as Surgeon Superintendent. Ratten’s medical diploma was also bogus, having been purchased from a ‘medical school’ operating from a room in a  Chicago bank building in 1907.

Dr Victor Ratten and colleagues from the Hobart Hospital. Paul Loubet was not the only imposter!

Victor Ratten, (seated centre) with fellow staff members at the Hobart Hospital.

However, by the time Ratten’s  qualifications were exposed as fake in 1919 he was so popular that the public and the government of the day refused to acknowledge the fact. He continued in the role until 1936.

It’s worth remembering that by 1917, with WWI still raging,  there was an extreme shortage of doctors throughout the country. It was a situation that facilitated  deception by imposters such as  Paul Loubet and Victor Ratten.






  1. Con Man doesn’t even begin to describe this imposter… And what a tale of destruction he left in his wake!

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