Dubbo medi­cos hon­oured in re­mod­elled ma­ter­nity unit

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NA­TALIE HOLMES

TWO men with in­trin­sic links to the his­tory of Dubbo Hospi­tal were hon­oured in a nam­ing cer­e­mony at the health fa­cil­ity on Mon­day.

With a strong em­pha­sis on fam­ily, the old ma­ter­nity unit was given a new lease of life as the Ian Locke Build­ing, while Ge­orge Hatch’s me­mory lives on in the med­i­cal li­brary, af­ter the build­ing bear­ing his name was de­mol­ished ear­lier in the year.

Sur­rounded by her fam­ily, Ian Locke’s widow Jen­nifer spoke about their de­ci­sion to move to Dubbo and his time as the first pae­di­a­tri­cian in the re­gion.

“It’s the most won­der­ful feel­ing to be back here and to be nam­ing this build­ing af­ter him.

“We had been liv­ing in Saudi Ara­bia and the Arc­tic, and just wanted the qual­ity of life that a coun­try town would give us.”

Af­ter nar­row­ing down their new home to the cities of Perth, Cairns, Dubbo, Tam­worth and Or­ange, Mrs Locke said that “Dubbo won hands down”.

“For 11 years, he was the sole pae­di­a­tri­cian for all of Western NSW, a third of the state.

“This build­ing also has spe­cial poignancy be­cause two of our chil­dren were born here.

“Thank you for re­mem­ber­ing my late hus­band and the fa­ther of my chil­dren.”

In re­mem­ber­ing Dubbo’s first male nurse Ge­orge Hatch, Rae Will­ing de­scribed him as ‘gen­tle and quiet’ but also ‘strict but fair’.

Af­ter a stint in the Royal Aus­tralian Army Med­i­cal Corps, Mr Hatch be­came some­thing of a pi­o­neer in his field.

“He was the first male to grad­u­ate from the NSW Col­lege of Nurs­ing. Dur­ing the po­lio epi­demic, he also as­sisted with op­er­a­tion of the Iron Lung.

“He gave us his time, shared his fam­ily, and showed us just how much bet­ter we could be,” Ms Will­ing said of his tute­lage.

“He was some­one who earned great re­spect and love.”

With his grand­chil­dren un­veil­ing the plaque in Ian Locke’s hon­our, other fam­ily ties were cel­e­brated.

Lewis Burns, who gave the Wel­come to Coun­try, said his four chil­dren were all born there, while Dubbo MP Troy Grant ex­plained that his wife and daugh­ter had also used the fa­cil­ity at a cru­cial time for them.

“My daugh­ter Tay­lor was born pre­ma­turely six weeks early in Wal­gett, so she and Toni were flown here.”

Mr Grant said the build­ing’s re­vival, hous­ing records, the med­i­cal li­brary and as a meet­ing venue and com­puter train­ing area, would en­sure its on­go­ing im­por­tance in the hospi­tal land­scape.

“The Dubbo Hospi­tal re­de­vel­op­ment is one of the proud­est parts of my par­lia­men­tary ca­reer. To pro­vide some­thing that is meet­ing the com­mu­nity’s needs, and to be hon­our­ing the his­tory of the hospi­tal through the fam­i­lies of Ian Locke and Ge­orge Hatch, has very spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance and will add to the hospi­tal’s longevity and value to the com­mu­nity.

“I am sure this build­ing will be long­stand­ing to the me­mory of those em­ploy­ees.” ADDING an ex­tra 24 min­utes to the travel time along the soon-tobe-con­structed In­land Rail would pre­vent the rail­way line “slic­ing through some of the state’s most pro­duc­tive farm­land”, ac­cord­ing to NSW Farm­ers’ Pres­i­dent James Jack­son.

“The added travel time still main­tains a jour­ney of less than 24 hours and, sig­nif­i­cantly, keeps it faster than the equiv­a­lent road jour­ney,” Mr Jack­son said in a state­ment last week.

“Us­ing ex­ist­ing rail cor­ri­dors be­tween Nar­romine and Narrabri in­stead of cut­ting farm busi­nesses in two re­flects just a 0.01 per cent in­crease on the cur­rent pro­jected cost of the in­land rail,” he said.

While his or­gan­i­sa­tion has been a long-time sup­porter of the in­land rail, Mr Jack­son said it shouldn’t be at the cost to fam­ily farms.

Wal­ter Hatch, the brother of the late Ge­orge Hatch, helps open the Ge­orge Hatch Med­i­cal Li­brary on Mon­day. PHOTO: SUP­PLIED.

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