Sutherland Wing honours legacy
West Wimmera Health Service has dedicated a wing of Natimuk Nursing Home to former Natimuk doctor Roderic Sutherland and his wife, Barbara.
Officials unveiled the Sutherland Wing yesterday in recognition of the outstanding dedication of service Dr Sutherland and Mrs Sutherland made to Natimuk.
Dr Sutherland bought the medical practice in 1959 and the couple now lives in the nursing home.
At the naming ceremony, West Wimmera Health Service’s acting chief executive Ritchie Dodds said it was a privilege for the service to acknowledge and honour the Sutherlands’ invaluable commitment to the Natimuk community.
“We are thrilled to be part of the unveiling,” he said.
“Our local doctors play a vital and unique role in our relatively small and remote communities, and the dedication of Dr Sutherland’s service for close to 30 years as doctor is a magnificent accomplishment.
“He and Barbara have helped to shape the community that we know and love today.”
After completing his medical studies in 1952, Dr Sutherland worked at several hospitals including Melbourne’s Royal Women’s and Royal Children’s hospitals.
The couple spent time in England before returning to Australia and settling in the Wimmera, where Dr Sutherland had worked as a locum during the 1950s.
In 2016, Dr Sutherland won national recognition as a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant contribution to medicine as a general practitioner, and to the Natimuk community.
As the only doctor in town, Dr Sutherland said he had seen ‘just about everything’ and ‘had stories that could fill a book’.
As he once recalled: “One time I went out to a party in the middle of the night where there had been a bit of a fight. When I got there a man was dead and suddenly I was looking down the barrel of a shotgun.
“The man told me if I didn’t save the man’s life he was going to shoot me. My hair was standing on end, but I grabbed his gun, un-cocked it to get the cartridges out and it was then that I discovered there were no cartridges loaded at all.”
During their time living in Natimuk the Sutherlands were busy members of the community.
Mr Sutherland is a life-member of Natimuk Bush Nursing Hospital and the Australian Medical Association.
He founded the Horsham branch of the Bird Observers Club of Australia, now Birdlife Australia.
He has also been involved in a long list of local community groups and committees, including Horsham Rotary Club, Mt Arapiles-tooan State Park Advisory Committee, Natimuk Field and Game Club, Natimuk Tennis Club, Natimuk Golf Club and Natimuk Book Club.
Roderic and Barbara’s children are also pursuing careers in the health industry, with son Ian a general practitioner, son Bruce a pharmacist and daughter Anne a nurse.
RECOGNITION: Barb and Rod Sutherland unveil a Natimuk Nursing Home wing named in their honour.