At Goondiwindi Cotton, we love telling stories about our local community and the people that make it so special. We are thrilled to introduce three generations of nurses and the Goondiwindi Hospital. Read more about their amazing story below and why they love working and living in the Goondiwindi Community.
The Goondiwindi Hospital is synonymous with community: before the sun rises on the Macintyre and cyclists begin their expedition down Goodar Road, our medical professionals in the white walls and halls are caring for our region.
Throughout its life, the facility has received continual improvements and updates to accommodate the needs of a growing community and to ensure the town has the best health care available.
The Hospital offers a plethora of services including emergency care, general surgery, midwifery and outpatient services; cardiac, gynaecology and infusion clinics; and heliport access - to name a few. From January to March this year, there were 388 emergency admissions, 1,690 outpatient services and 32 babies born. The beating heart of Goondiwindi, the Hospital holds many treasured memories and stories. Third year Registered Nurse, Sarah Oliver, has a particularly special one.
Pictured L-R: Lindy, Sarah, Lorraine (in picture frame) and Tracey
Sarah is the epitome of down to earth and is an undeniable beam of light. She represents an impressive family legacy of three generations of nurses that have over half a century of combined service at Goondiwindi Hospital.
A grassroots local, Sarah was born and raised in Goondiwindi. She attended Goondiwindi State Primary School and Goondiwindi State High School; then went on to study nursing at the University of Southern Queensland, fuelled to pursue a career that is equally challenging and interesting.
After completing university, Sarah accepted a graduate position at the Roma Hospital but in August 2021, transferred to the Goondiwindi Hospital in order to be closer to home. Notably, leaving your home town and returning later in life is a rising phenomenon many young locals follow. There certainly is an attractive hum in the Goondiwindi Region that draws people back.
Pictured L-R: Tracey, Sarah, Lindy all wearing new season Goondiwindi Cotton tops
Sarah now lives on farm 125km from Goondiwindi, Northwest of Talwood, with her husband Hugh Oliver. Hugh was originally an electrician in Goondiwindi but moved home five years ago to work on the family farm consisting of cattle, sheep and dry land farming. The pair love the rural lifestyle and being able to couple work with a social life, especially as so many family and friends live in close proximity.
As well as a deep love for Goondiwindi, Sarah inherited the nursing gene. Her grandmother, Lorraine Saunders; her mother, Lindy Ellis; and her aunty, Tracey McLaughlin, are also nurses that have worked at the Goondiwindi Hospital.
Lorraine, who sadly passed away in 2008, began her nursing career at the Warwick Hospital until she met her husband, Gordon Saunders. This led her to Goondiwindi, where Gordon worked on farm for the McMicking family at "Manus" and later for the Mackays at "Merawah".
Seeking some extra Christmas money, Lorraine went back to nursing at the Goondiwindi Hospital in 1972 and stayed until some 28 years later. A significant portion of those years were on permanent night shift, an arduous task.
Lindy, Sarah and Tracey out the front of the Goondiwindi Hospital
Lindy embarked on training as an Enrolled Nurse at the Goondiwindi Hospital in 1981 and remained until maternity leave in 1989. She returned to nursing casually in 1992 before becoming a phlebotomist at the QML Pathology in 1995. In 2017, Lindy joined Kaloma as a Care Supervisor and Lifestyle Officer and recently resigned from both positions to take up a new challenge as a Dental Assistant at Goondiwindi Family Dental. Lindy carries a work ethic Lorraine instilled that
"No matter what job you do, do it to the best of your ability."
Tracey first started working at the Goondiwindi Hospital during school holidays when she was just 15. During this time, her mum taught her a few basic skills at home with Lindy often being the guinea pig.
She recalls with humour the important lesson of a bed bath: "wash all the way down to 'possible', wash all the way up to 'possible', and then hand over the cloth for the patient to wash 'possible'.
Tracey resumed nursing in 1982 when her first daughter Jordan was three. Lorraine and she would work opposite shifts to make sure someone was always around to take care of Jordan. Tracey continued nursing up until the birth of her second daughter Beth in 1992. She now works at the family business Tony McLaughlin Mechanical and T & T Motorcycles which her husband Tony established in 1984.
Sarah, Lindy and Tracey echo each other in their sentiments of Goondiwindi: a wonderful and supportive community with a great Council, schools, facilities and opportunities.
Tracey comments, "You would go a long way to find somewhere that offers what Gundy has in spades".
The Goondiwindi Hospital encompasses a broad spectrum of work and great learning experiences. Nurse Unit Manager Helen Jones, who has worked at the hospital for over 30 years says,
"There is a real emphasis on teamwork and we support our staff really well with educational opportunities."
Clinical Nurse, Amelia Ferrier, chose to move to and work in Goondiwindi because she heard how wonderful the small town is. Amelia says,
"Goondiwindi has given me a strong affiliation with rural life and an understanding of the associated challenges with living and working in the bush, making nurses here more relatable and compassionate."
The Goondiwindi Hospital is a profoundly rewarding workplace occupied by exemplary health professionals. It truly is special to have three generations of nurses all work within same walls and serve a region in which many of their family and friends reside. The people and the legacies make Goondiwindi a prosperous community and an incredible place to call home.