Imagine yourself critically injured or seriously ill in the middle of nowhere. You’d be hoping like hell there was a doctor nearby to take charge; someone resourceful, who’d think quickly and stay calm under pressure; or even someone who could, if necessary, take charge from a distance. You’d want to be in the safe and sure hands of one of these clever bush doctors.
Meet some of the extraordinary GPs, specialist medicos and Royal Flying Doctors who save lives every day beyond the great divide. From the bestselling author of Nurses of the Outback and Our Vietnam Nurses, Bush Doctors is a powerful and captivating tribute to all rural and remote doctors – 16 unsung Australian heroes who truly do care.
Annabelle Brayley now answers the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions.
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born and raised on a farm at Miles on the Western Darling Downs in Queensland. I went to the local primary school until I went away to boarding school in Brisbane in Year 8.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At 12 I don’t think I’d even thought about it. At 18 I wanted to be a hairdresser. It’s a creative but essential service that makes people feel good and look fabulous. I trained as a nurse because my father said nursing or teaching were the career choices for me. I should have been a hairdresser! At 30 I was married and living on a remote sheep station wanting to be a good wife, good mother and good multi-tasker since women on the land have to be able to manage numerous roles often at the same time!
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
I thought some people were lucky. Now I know there’s no such thing. You have to work hard and embrace opportunities. The trick is recognising them.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
1. Our mother reading to us every night when we were young thus teaching my brothers and me to love literature.
2 Mark Muller, Editor of RM William’s OUTBACK Magazine publishing my first story in 2006.
3. Doing a Fearless Flyers course and learning how to stay on the plane.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book?
I don’t get the electronic thing myself. Give me books any day. As they turn each page, readers can share in all the emotion and texture of the story at a pace of their own choosing and in a way that’s impossible with any other media. It’s a relationship…
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
When Anne rolled into Derby after three days on the road, she stopped at the roadhouse to wash and brush herself off before proceeding to the hospital. It was about 8 p.m. by the time she strolled into the ED, where she was greeted at the triage window by a poker-faced old nurse peering at her over a pair of narrow-framed spectacles. Weary but full of enthusiasm, Anne said cheerily, ‘Hello, my name is Anne Richards and I’m the new doctor here at the hospital.’
With a lift of one eyebrow and a twitch of her lips, the nurse looked Anne straight in the eye and said drily, ‘Dr Richards, if you choose to turn around now and escape, no one will ever know you got here…’
Bush Doctors shares the remarkable stories of sixteen doctors who work in rural and remote areas of Australia. Often exhibiting courage beyond their experience, the doctors share the challenges, the pain, the joys and the rewards they experience as they care for people who live vast distances from metropolitan medical services.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
It would be people’s lack of appreciation for extraordinary things that ordinary people do. Regardless of who they are, where they come from and what they do, everyone has a story and understanding that might help people to be more tolerant and accepting of others.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
Malala Yousafzai because she refused to let anything, even a bullet, dissuade her from her mission to defy the Taliban who were denying the women of Pakistan their right to an appropriate education. On the rare occasion I think I really can’t do something, I remember Malala. I also admire the three young Royals who, even as they are changing the face of the British Monarchy, continue to display enormous composure and grace despite very public scrutiny and pressure.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
To be recognised as a writer whose reputation for honesty, accuracy and sensitivity was never tarnished and whose stories were easy to read.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Forget about imagining what the book you’d like to write might look like in print and get the words written on the page.
Thank you, Annabelle!
Imagine yourself critically injured or seriously ill in the middle of nowhere. You’d be hoping like hell there was a doctor nearby to take charge; someone resourceful, who’d think quickly and stay calm under pressure; someone who could, if necessary, take charge from a distance. You’d want to be in the safe and sure hands of one of these amazing bush doctors.
They might work in some of the most spectacular locations in Australia – from the splendid isolation of the Kimberley and the wide open spaces of outback Queensland to the freezing icecaps of Antarctica – but their profession demands long hours, extensive medical knowledge and, sometimes, courage beyond their experience....
About the Contributor
Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.