Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Long Wait for Medical Support; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Long Wait for Medical Support; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

FOR people living on the Tweed in the early days of settlement, obtaining medical assistance when it was urgently needed was a drawn-out affair.

There were no resident medical practitioners and in the 1860s the occasional visit by a travelling doctor was all that could be expected. The life of a travelling doctor was fraught with danger. In March 1861, the body of a doctor who had visited the Tweed River was found near a creek by some people chasing cattle. The unfortunate doctoras horse was found in the creek near his body.

The request for medical help on the Tweed took time to reach the nearest doctor, who then made the trip from Brisbane. In early August 1870, a farmer named Joseph Osborne was felling a tree in the scrub on the Tweed River when a vine pulled the tree onto him. His legs were broken in a number of places and medical help was sent for. Brisbane medico Dr Kevin Izod OaDoherty attended the call but before he could reach Mr Osborne, the poor fellow died on August 11, aged only 37.

Dr OaDoherty, along with Dr Thomas Rowlands, travelled to the Tweed to offer medical assistance until a doctor settled in the district.

Dr Rowlands was a native of Flintshire in Wales. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and practised in the English city of Liverpool for a short period before coming to the colonies.

Dr Rowlands arrived in Sydney in 1855 in charge of an immigrant vessel as surgeon-superintendent, but remained in Sydney for only a short time. The doctor preferred to settle in Moreton Bay, where he set up his own practice.

On April 30, 1871, Mr Dugald McMillan had a nasty accident on the Tweed when he was trying to take a shot at some cockatoos.

Unfortunately he had the forefinger of his left hand in the muzzle of the gun, which he was dragging after him, when it suddenly exploded and blew away his finger. Dr Rowlands was called in and did all that was necessary to take care of the damaged hand. In March, Dr Rowlands had attended a man named Fraser who had smashed his leg in an accident and the doctor found that Mr Fraser was continuing to make a fair recovery. …

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