At Goondiwindi Cotton, we love telling stories about our local community and the people that make it so special. We are thrilled to introduce one of our local General Practitioner's, Dr Charles'. Read more about his amazing story, involvement with Goondiwindi Cotton and why he loves working and living in the Goondiwindi Community.
Dr. Charles is a dedicated General Practitioner at the Goondiwindi Medical Centre renowned for his skills and his smile. He is also a maverick for the rural lifestyle, advocating for medical students to go beyond the bounds of hospital walls to see all that small towns have to offer. Charles leads a busy life, spending his weekends at medical conferences or visiting his children at boarding school. We had the pleasure of speaking with his wife, Naomi, gaining insight into his professional journey.
Charles’ interest in medicine was the product of his empathy and passion for helping people. He acknowledges the invaluable mentorship he has received in shaping his clinical practice, patient-centredness and approach to holistic care.
In 2008, Charles and Naomi made the move to Goondiwindi where he joined the team at the Goondiwindi Medical Centre. From the very beginning the pair adored the Goondiwindi Community and all the little things like having room to breathe and not being stuck in traffic. The lifestyle enabling a better work-life balance and more time to allocate towards family.
Over the years, Dr. Charles has acquired additional qualifications and training, developing skills including skin cancer diagnosis and surgery, emergency and rural medicine. The Goondiwindi Community is envied by having such a meritorious physician. Charles is passionate about inspiring the future generation of rural doctors. He is the Senior Lecturer in Rural Medicine at Griffith University and is responsible for the medical students visiting Goondiwindi.
Medical students are provided with accommodation and are mentored by knowledgeable, experienced and approachable senior GPs. They are also exposed to the full spectrum of general practice – a benefit of pursuing training in the country.
Previous student, Dr. Julius Soriano says, “GMC is well equipped, state of the art, up-to-date and is at the forefront of general practice.”
Beyond their time learning at the GMC or Hospital, Charles hopes to give the students an enjoyable and well-rounded experience. Believing that it is important to expose students to local businesses and farms.
He recently reached out to Sam Coulton to arrange a Goondiwindi Cotton Tour for the students. Sam showed the students the entire Goondiwindi Cotton operations from start to finish. They then ventured to “Alcheringa” for a farm tour and Sam explained the importance of the land, its produce and its culture in our community. They finished with a social and Sam showcasing the remainder of the cotton farm operations.
By promoting the community and getting the students involved, Charles hopes that they witness the beauty of our region and return to Goondiwindi to practise in the future.
The GMC stands proudly on the corner of Bowen Street and McLean Street and has a rich history of doctors practising in the establishment.
After World War II, Dr. Lusby started a practice where the Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology currently serves. Dr. Lusby sold to Dr. Scanlan, who sold to Dr. Garry Shaw. Dr Shaw’s tenure lasted 19 years before selling to Dr. Bruce Dixon and Dr. Rowena Shepard in November 1988.
In 1988, the practice was a single box, only about 80 square metres. Bruce and Rowena had grand visions to build a hub that offered comprehensive rural general practice. They made an expansion to 150 square meters to accommodate initial growth. In 1996 they purchased the house next door and expanded to 640 square metres to include the brick building it is now.
The creation of the GMC officially began in 1998 after the amalgamation of two practices; Dr Ian Thompson joined Drs. Dixon and Shepard. By the early 2000s, the GMC was quickly evolving and was joined by the likes of Dr. Eddie Roos and current partners Drs. Matt and Sue Masel.
The GMC is now a pillar of the community, serving countless families and individuals. The team consisting of doctors, nurses, and administration is managed by Drs. Matt and Sue, Dr. Anna Carswell, Dr. Sarah Gleeson, Dr Ronelle Nicholson and Dr. Charles. The GMC provides excellent healthcare and services to the Goondiwindi Hospital and outreach services such as the Boggabilla Health Centre.
Dr. Charles has served for 15 years in Goondiwindi and has saved many lives and relieved much suffering. He is a champion for rural medicine and rural living; he reiterates the sentiment that there is a bright future for those outside the metropolitan mould. Goondiwindi is proud to have in him such a fantastic doctor and role model.