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With thanks to Trentham & District Historical Society.
The distinctive 1970s clock in High St, Trentham, holds special significance for the town: it commemorates the life and career of Dr Gweneth Wisewould (1884-1972).
From a well-to-do Brighton family, Dr Gwen had already enjoyed a full career in Melbourne by the time she arrived in Trentham in 1938. She had worked at the Melbourne, Alfred and Queen’s Memorial hospitals, performed surgery at the Women & Children’s, and instructed students in anaesthetics.
Her unconventional life attracted much rumour, so she sought escape in country Victoria.
Here she used her considerable skills to face the realities of life as a rural GP, working tirelessly for the community, often free of charge. She carried out daily consultations, made house-calls day or night, and performed operations in isolated cottages or Trentham’s Bush Hospital.
Tall and sturdy, invariably wrapped in a greatcoat (see below), she observed “you cannot do this work looking pretty”. The community quickly took her into their hearts.
Dr Gwen’s reminiscences, Outpost, published in 1971, is regarded as a minor socio-medico classic – a portrait of a community and the doctor they loved.
✍️ Sue Worthington, curator of Trentham & District Historical Society.
🗺️ Trentham & District Historical Society has developed a walk around Trentham to remember Dr Gwen. Email the society for a free map of the route.
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