Rotary Park, a globally unique dry rainforest remnant, is culturally and spiritually significant for the Widjabal Wiyabal people of the Bundjalung Nation. One of only two urban rainforest remnants in NSW, the park’s circular walking track was opened in 1988 after substantial efforts by Lismore City Council and bush regenerators, led by Rosemary Joseph, to rid the rainforest of invasive weeds. This work is ongoing.

In September 2005 Lismore’s flying fox camp relocated from the riverbank at Currie Park, near the Lismore Racecourse, to Rotary Park where the camp remains today, protected from extreme winds, and at times extreme heat, by the parks unique microclimate created by the gully, creek and the tall trees. Scientific studies reveal that flying foxes’ preferred roosting habitat is where there are emergent trees, patches of dense foliage and an understorey.

Sawbones, Saddle Sores & Soothing Balms

“History is more or less bunk”, according to Henry Ford. Back in the 1850s so was medicine on the North Coast. Dr Neil Thompson’s history of the the local medical fraternity, Sawbones, Saddle Sores & Soothing Balms covers the 120 years from the arrival of medical practitioners in 1866 to the modern era.

Neil Thompson’s fascinating  book, first published four years ago, has recently been released as an Amazon kindle ebook, a format that will enable the stories of the medical pioneers of the region to reach a much wider audience.

Each chapter is devoted to one of the sixteen towns in the local area, detailing the travails and contributions of each town’s medical practitioners in chronological order. 

Catherine King MP

Should Labor win this year’s federal election it seems likely that the Primary Health Network (PHN) system will be retained but face a number of changes. This is the signal coming from the long-serving Shadow Minister for Health, ALP parliamentarian Catherine King who responded to an inquiry about the PHNs from GP Speak.

Established on 1 July 2015, after the disbanding of the Medicare Locals, there are 31 PHNs in Australia, the local one being the North Coast Primary Health Network extending from Tweed Heads down to Port Macquarie.

Despite describing the move to establish the PHNs as “unnecessary and counter-productive”, Ms King said Labor “continues to strongly support” them.

Pictured are medical students with preceptors from the Hospital and General Practice. (L-R) Medical student Jack Archer, GBH staff specialist Dr Kanewala Jayasekara , medical student Keiran Davis, medical student Felix Loschetter and GP Dr Nicholas Cooper.

The staff, students and preceptors that form part of the Clarence Valley University of Wollongong (UoW) Phase 3 Extended Clinical program, celebrated the end of the year in a Christmas get together in November 2018 (pictured here).

UoW in collaboration with the North Coast University Centre for Rural Health ,has a strong focus on preparing medical students for rural practice has been sending students to the Clarence Valley since the establishment of this post graduate medical degree 10 years ago.  Whilst on placement in the Clarence Valley, senior medical students spend time at Grafton and Maclean Hospitals and local General Practices, as well as immersing themselves in the local community.

Jessica Holster – University of Wollongong 4th year medical student

I did not come to study medicine because of any childhood dream or lifelong aspirations to save lives, which is perhaps the more conventional path into this career. I finished high school in Port Macquarie in 2009 and went straight to university to study radiography. I graduated in 2012 and commenced my career as a radiographer in Coffs Harbour.

It was during my time here that I began my journey towards becoming a doctor. A radiologist at my work noticed that I was trying to further my education through various university courses, none of which maintained my interest. He enthused me to sit GAMSAT. I battled with the thought of becoming a doctor for the simple fact that I did not believe I could possibly be smart enough or as brilliant as some of the doctors I had the honour of working alongside of.

With his encouragement and reassurance, I agreed to sit the exam and see what came of it. In 2015, to my absolute shock I passed GAMSAT and received an invitation to interview at the University of Wollongong (UOW). A dream was becoming a reality right before my eyes.