Dubbo medicos honoured in remodelled maternity unit
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.