Dr Graeme Wood studied at Melbourne University, trained at the Austin Hospital and thereafter posted in Echuca, Ballarat and Ararat. It was then that he was inspired by the country lifestyle. Through a friend of a friend, who was looking for a partner for his practice, he was invited to Kerang. Dr Wood travelled up to see the place and took up the offer to move to Kerang as he thought it was a perfect fit with his background in anaesthetics, and to a practice of shared life values. Since that day back in 1976 he still continues to live and work in Kerang.
Till 1984 the practice remained in a two consulting-roomed building till the practice relocated to ‘Fitzroy Street Medical Clinic’ which was a purpose built building with multiple consultation rooms, x-ray, treatment rooms, 3 doctors, a practice nurse and 3 receptionists. With colleagues, Dr Wood has encouraged and mentored many registrars and medical students, and the practice has become a renowned teaching clinic.
Dr Wood and his wife raised 5 children in Kerang and thinks that “quality of life is excellent’ in rural Victoria. He encourages health professional to practise in the country, saying “you get to know your patients, many of whom are neighbours and it gives children a broader perspective on life”. Dr Wood thinks it is important to be “an integral part of the local community – to be able to walk down the street and smile, or stop and chat, and share good times and bad with the locals.” “Country life can be so rewarding,” he says and it is such a change to the fast paced, pressured life in the city. Dr Wood has been involved in many local projects, including the establishment of the Kerang Christian Community School, delivering meals on wheels, and working very closely with the local Church among many other involvements.
He continues to practise in Kerang and is enjoying working in the newly-rebuilt local Hospital as well. Dr Wood attributes the longevity of his service to the lifelong friendships they have made over the years, and the teamwork that has developed not only in the Clinic & Hospital, but also the community who were so supportive and made sure he and his wife felt at home. The way the Community works together in time of disasters, be they floods , train crash, or whatever, has also been so appreciated. “I never envisaged the ‘two years to help out’ would extend to 40 years in Kerang.”
Dr Wood is very grateful to RWAV for “being proactive, sourcing high quality doctors whenever the practice needed them and for the support in providing locums”.