Every rural GP knows the tragedy
of road death in a small town. Local teenagers were taking turns to have ‘driving lessons’. Six
were on the back of the ute when it skidded out of control and
flipped. When emergency service workers arrived they met a scene of devastation. The town’s GPs, Drs Clem Gordon and Di Coote, were busy at their surgery when they got the call to the hospital. After driving to the hospital, just a few minutes up the road, Dr Coote sent a message back
to her husband. “Tell Clem to get his butt up here.”
One day in 1983, Dr Patrick Giltrap decided to stop moving. Six years working as a locum GP in every corner of country NSW, from Narromine to Cooma, had convinced him that rural general practice was the thing for him.
So Giltrap got a map of NSW and picked a place to start his own practice. Gilgandra, a small town of about 3,000 people 65 kilometres north of Dubbo, was where he went.