I’ve been really blessed in my career as one of the town’s GPs. I really fell on my feet when my wife and I arrived here 47 years ago. Somewhere in that time, I went from being ‘the young Doctor Rose’ to ‘the old Doctor Rose’, but I don’t mind. I knew right away, in my first year in Taree, that I’d come to the right place. I had no anticipation of general practice at the time, let alone rural general practice. I came to Taree from Sydney in the early 1970s to do my ‘country term’ as it was known in those days — back when I was a senior resident at the Royal North Shore Hospital. At the time, I was thinking along the lines of specialising in paediatrics, or perhaps anaesthetics. It was during that country term that I met my lifelong friend and colleague Dr Bruce Hunter. We stayed in touch after I left for the UK with my wife Diana. He wrote to us during our travels, never forgetting to mention there was an open invitation to join his practice upon our return. I remember thinking while I was in the UK, doing my diploma in child health at the University of London, that I reckon Taree might have the mix of medicine that I want. Lo and behold, who should be waiting for us when we touched down in Sydney but my parents, Diana’s parents and Dr Bruce Hunter! He was a wonderful mentor, and because there was no paediatrician in the region in those days, and because of my training in London, I soon became known as ‘the kid GP’. I never kept track, but I must have delivered about 3500 of the town’s babies in my 35 years doing obstetrics. One of the most defining experiences of my career happened in the first year. That was when I knew for sure we’d come to the right place. I was looking after a newborn baby who was quite sick. Although we had stabilised him, the baby needed special care in Sydney. In those days, we didn’t have breathing machines, so a nurse and I would transfer such cases to Sydney by air ambulance. But both were busy, so we called the commercial airline about to leave and explained the emergency. Not only did they hold the flight up for us, but they made room for us in the back of the plane so that we could continue to hand-ventilate this baby all the way down to Sydney. The pilot asked all the passengers to stay seated while we got off the plane to be met by the ambulance, and the passengers — most of them townsfolk — clapped. But the part that really moved me was when we got back to Taree because, for the next week, three or four people rang every day to see how ‘our town baby’ was going. That’s Taree in a nutshell, really.


Dr Colin Rose
Taree, NSW