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After completing time at NSBHS in ’61, I was one of, I think, 25 of our number who went on to do medicine (23 at Sydney Uni and Bruce Gerard and Peter Keith at Uni of NSW). I struggled and repeated but persisted and finally was allowed out as a graduate. I fled the state to Launceston where I met another Sydney med graduate Sue Suthons (formerly a Queenwood school captain) and we later married in New Zealand during our next resident year. We have just past the 30 year mark (celebrated in Cairns) and although we have had our good and tough times, still reckon that marriage has much more going for it than the alternatives!
We then moved to Darwin (pre. “Tracy”) in preparation for medical missionary work where our first son was born. After a tropical medicine diploma at Sydney Uni and further training in Melbourne, we headed off to East Africa with CMS (Church Missionary Society) both Peter Keith and Noel Clark did “time” also with CMS. Language training continued in Nairobi, Kenya then we finally reached Central Tanzania where I was in charge of a Leprosy Hospital for almost 6 years – I’d had a previous stint of 6 months as acting super of the NT (Northern Territory) Leprosy Hospital (responsible for approx. 950 leprosy patients in the NT at the time). This was followed by 12 months in Dodoma (capital of Tanzania) doing GP work amongst the expatriate and African community.
We returned to Sydney in ’81 and finally worked in, then bought a practice from David Fulton – an old boy of earlier vintage. Sue and I worked and built this practice up at Harris Park until ’98 when we moved into Parramatta into a medical centre owned by Mayne Health. We have no illusions about the corporate world running general practice and are keeping our options open! Sue in fact has already moved out – having completed a Masters in Psychological Medicine and now does counselling in Wahroonga (really couldn’t wait to get out). I’m beginning to reduce my work load and continue to enjoy general practice but look forward to more leisure time – to deep sea fish, to improve on holiday-hacking golf, to read, etc. I’m an ardent armchair Wallaby follower – quite happy to pass up atmosphere for the close-ups on Tele.
We have 4 boys – all determined not to be medicos (?). Brad and his young family plan to go to Ethiopia next year with another Christian mission – SIM. He is a special education high school teacher. David is a civil engineer – also rock climber/mountaineer – spent 3 months in Antarctica with 2 other adventurers. Luke at Uni in ACT studying Industrial Design has just returned from Beijing and World Uni games – finishing 10th in 20km race walking before a 70,000 crowd. Steven is completing a Health Science degree prior to travelling and more snow boarding, has already suffered surgery to both knees!
My Christian faith still means much to me – having its roots at NSBHS in 3rd year. And after the events of the last week, who is unaware of the fragility of our grasp on the mortal coil? During this email correspondence 2 of our number have succumbed. Probably wouldn’t hurt any of us to look ahead to what we’ll say to our maker when we meet him. Of course it would be reassuring to know he wasn’t there???
Looking back at years at NSBHS I enjoyed them – certainly memories flood back of teachers very good and variable. I think I may have been one of Bashers’ “village idiots” at times – the destruction of 2D classroom, Jack Moffet (I wonder what little Jack Moffets are like?). I think I’m one of Rod Wise’s conservatives but reckon it’s less tiring than being a rabid radical. Well must away – am leaving for hols and conference in Argentina and Peru in the morning.
See many of you on Saturday 20th – if all is well (D.V.). P.S. How about some sort of thanksgiving service on the Sun after dinner – somewhere in North Sydney?