A bush doctor’s rugged life

A 24 horse team from the New Zealand Express Company Ltd was used to deploy the 4 kilometre long...
A 24 horse team from the New Zealand Express Company Ltd was used to deploy the 4 kilometre long wire rope, weighing more than 13 tonnes on the Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company’s line from Lower Stuart Street to Kaikorai Valley. — Otago Witness, 16.3.1920.
It is stated that during the recent conference of the New Zealand Medical Association in this city one of the members, speaking upon the proposed State medical system, and the payment of State subsidies to ‘‘back-block’’ doctors, related some of his experiences as a bush doctor. 

He said that no medical man’s education was complete until he had spent two or three years in a bush settlement.  One had there to do everything for one’s self.  The day’s work began by cooking a little of any supplies there might be in store.  This over, he sallied forth to shoot a rabbit, bird, or pig, as chance happened, to stock his larder. 

Then he took a crosscut and axe and felled sufficient timber to last for a week or two.  If a call came for him, he saddled his horse, and carried a supply of instruments, medicines, and splints sufficient for any emergency.  In addition, he had to carry appliances against the contingency that his horse might be bogged.  

As for a trap or motor ride, that was a luxury reserved for a few weeks during the summer.  He was sportsman enough to possess a car to carry serious cases from far out and nurse them in his own hut. 

He was a stone-napper, bushman, farrier, vet., nurse, cow-spanker, carpenter, and rouseabout all in turn.  After some time in this school he thought his education was completed, and so he took his departure. 

The Government had ever since been trying to find a successor, but no one so far has offered, even with a State subsidy, to take his place.

Author Zane Grey challenged

The following letter has been addressed by a New Plymouth resident to Mr Zane Grey, the well-known American writer: ‘‘I am one of your constant readers and have appreciated all your books, but I am not altogether pleased with your latest, ‘The Desert of Wheat’.

Evidently you, like all other Americans, think you won the war.  One does not mind you thinking this — but to write it hurts the feelings of those who had brothers buried in Egypt, Gallipoli, France, and Belgium years before America came in.  Can’t you Americans see that this constant repetition of what America did is undermining your commercial relations with the dominions of the British Empire as well as other countries?  No one wishes to dispute what America did.  We are all grateful, but what did she do? 

New Zealand, my country, with a population of a little over one million, had more casualties than your country, although we had only 80,000 men in the firing line.  You don’t see us advertise the fact; we just did it because of the future of democracy, and we started at the start — did not wait three years to get into it.

Be a man; judge as you would be judged; and don’t overstep the canons of good taste by accrediting to your country something which she never did.  Look us up on the map, compare populations, and then think what we think when we read your American skite.’’

Rum and milk’s different effects

A drink which would keep a man drunk for the longest period, and at the same time eliminate the worst effects of getting drunk, according to Dr E. Mellanby, addressing the Medical Society of London, is a mixture of rum and milk, which was generally taken in the North of Scotland.  This was, Dr Mellanby thought, undoubtedly due to the fat in the milk.

— ODT, 13.3.1920.


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