Suther­land Wing hon­ours legacy

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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