A time­less world for Dr Ung

Gayn­dah’s GP since Feb 2, 1969

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Alex Treacy alex.treacy@cnbtimes.com.au

THE gar­dens around Dr Henry Ung’s fam­ily prac­tice in Gayn­dah are green and lush, an oa­sis in the pre­vail­ing dry con­di­tions thanks to his hand, but they weren’t al­ways like this.

On Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 2, he will have been tend­ing them for 50 years to the day since Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 2, 1969.

When he first built his prac­tice, it was on a “bare block”, his near­est neigh­bour be­ing the Gayn­dah Ladies Bowl­ing Club – oh, and the “brown­ies” (brown snakes) which would in­fil­trate town.

While the snakes have largely been ban­ished to the scrub out­side of town, Dr Ung says not much has changed in Gayn­dah in five decades.

“(The) pop­u­la­tion is the same, not much change in 50 years I’ve found. (Peo­ple’s) as­pi­ra­tions are the same.”

The big change, he said, was how med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy had de­vel­oped.

“We never had ul­tra­sound or CTI ma­chines... and blood tests were very hap­haz­ard,” he re­called.

“In the 1970s, we had to send the blood by rail to Bris­bane, would you be­lieve. “It was hor­ri­ble. “Pathol­ogy started in late 1980s, what a god­send, we got re­sults back the next day. It was like mak­ing bread in a proper over, we got re­sults. We’d treat you the next day. Pre­vi­ously, it was a week.”

Dr Ung also said mo­bile phones were a game-changer, as pre­vi­ously he would need to be at his land­line “176 hours per week.”

When he first ar­rived in 1969, he said his plan was to stay for two or three years at most, be­fore de­part­ing for Ed­in­burgh for a fel­low­ship in surgery.

“(We) just grad­u­ally set­tled in the town and the com­mu­nity and loved it. Never left it.”

He and wife Elaine, who man­ages the prac­tice, had three of their five chil­dren in Gayn­dah and all three re­main in the com­mu­nity.

“I have en­joyed my stay. Love the peo­ple, love the com­mu­nity. I’ve had great sup­port from them.”

PHOTO: ALEX TREACY

GREEN THUMB: Gayn­dah's Dr Henry Ung, near­ing his 50 year an­niver­sary of prac­tice in the coun­try town, says he un­winds by gar­den­ing.

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