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Professor Louella McCarthy and Associate Professor Kathryn Weston are available for interview via the contact details below or through the UOW Media Office. High-resolution photographs are available for download from Dropbox.


Ben Long, Media and Public Relations Coordinator, T: +61 2 4221 3887 | M: +61 429 294 251 | E:

UOW Media Office, T: +61 4221 4227 | E:

Contributions sought for history of rural medicine

Community asked to share memories, stories and images

While medicine and healthcare play a crucial role in people’s lives, and help shape a community’s history, these personal medical stories are too often lost to history.

Now medical historians Associate Professor Louella McCarthy and Associate Professor Kathryn Weston from the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) School of Medicine are working with rural communities around New South Wales to preserve this history, and are inviting community members to share their memories, stories and images of the history of medicine in Forbes.

These stories will be collected in an online museum that will both tell the history of rural medicine in NSW, and provide a place for the ongoing collection of sites, images and memories of medicine in rural Australia.

Professor McCarthy said the aim of the project was is to identify and collect stories and memories before they are lost.

“Medicine plays a central role in the history of our communities. From birth and throughout our lives, medicine has played a part. For rural Australia especially, the presence – or absence – of medical care had a significant impact on life in the region,” Professor McCarthy said.

“Medical practice is present in our community’s history in a variety of forms. It can be about important people, important buildings, strong memories, miraculous cures or tragic losses.

“Despite the important part medicine has played in the history of our communities, this history is often neglected or overlooked. Stories are lost, buildings are demolished, and memorabilia is discarded.

“Each of these individual losses leads to another bigger loss: the lost opportunity to better understand the history of our communities.”

rural medicine collageCommunity members with an interesting story, a photo, or memorabilia about the history of medicine in rural NSW are invited to contribute them to an online museum.

The researchers are working with the Forbes and District Historical Society and would like to invite community members to a town meeting on Thursday 10 May from 2pm in the Forbes RSL. Community members who have an interesting story to tell, a photo to share, or ideas about the places, events and people they think have played a role in the history of medicine in Forbes, can bring them along to the meeting.

The researchers will also be visiting other rural communities around NSW with ties to UOW’s Graduate Medicine program.

From Byron Bay, Ballina and Grafton in the north, Murrumbidgee, Orange and Broken Hill in the west, to the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands and South Coast in the south, each year UOW sends dozens of medical students to rural and regional settings around New South Wales to undertake a year-long clinical placement.

Designed to help address the critical shortage of medical practitioners outside the major cities, UOW’s Graduate Medicine is the only medical school in Australia that provides opportunities for all its students to undertake such a long-term placement in a rural or regional setting.