Veteran Colac doctor closes book on career

General practitioner Dr Michael Connor, 73, is retiring this month after 47 years of medical service to Colac and district patients.

Colac’s longest-serving doctor Michael Connor will retire this month after almost half a century of continuous service to patients.

The general practitioner remembers once delivering babies and doing minor operations from a solo practice at Beeac in 1970.

But the following year as more patients frequented Colac’s established practices and hospital, Dr Connor moved to the Colac group practice now known as Otway Medical Clinic, where patients have come to know him ever since.

“That was the main reason I moved into Colac; it started off quite busy at Beeac and the nights were busy when people would come to me because it wasn’t so far to travel,” Dr Connor said.

“But it wasn’t such as busy day practice.”

Practice records show Dr Connor is likely Colac’s longest-serving doctor, and he says it is “the continuity” that has been most rewarding.

“I’ve looked after a couple of families for five generations. I’ve had a bloke doing a 50-kilometre drive each way to see me from Werneth since I first came to the area in the 1970s,” Dr Connor said.

His father worked as a doctor at Kaniva on Victoria’s western border and Dr Connor chose to also become a rural doctor after studying medicine at the University of Melbourne.

He said he valued family life in the country, and he and wife Denise have six children, 15 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

“I’ve had contemporaries of mine who have gone on to become professors and things, and say to me ‘we don’t know why you decided to work out there’ because I was up near the top of my class with exams,” Dr Connor said.

“And then they’ve said ‘we’ve got to the top of our profession, but we’ve wrecked our family life’.”

But he said the opportunity “to do everything” at a rural practice also motivated him.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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