A timeless world for Dr Ung
Gayndah’s GP since Feb 2, 1969
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.”
GREEN THUMB: Gayndah's Dr Henry Ung, nearing his 50 year anniversary of practice in the country town, says he unwinds by gardening.