This is rather a large leap from sailing home across the Pacific with Ted in 1919 but that is the nature of A to Z. It takes you where it wants with the letter of the day, a bit like a Ouija Board. This is the only place I can write about my mother’s favourite doctor who has been referred to as “a formidable Mildura institution”.
I felt I knew a lot about him before the DNA results came through. My mother often talked about him as the doctor she visited when she found she was pregnant. She was impressed with his qualifications and his professional manner. He may have seen both my parents before my conception to determine why my mother had not become pregnant but any speculation is pure fiction because we will never know what really happened. He did bring me into the world however so I thought I would pay him this tribute.
John Strahan Bothroyd’s parents were both teachers and he attended a different school every year of his primary education. After attending Scotch College in Melbourne he graduated in medicine at the University of Melbourne. Before arriving in Mildura he worked at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital up until 1931. To further his studies while based in Mildura he made the long train journey to Melbourne many times to obtain qualifications from the Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian College of Surgeons. During World War 2 he was a Squadron Leader and Specialist Surgeon in the RAAF.
It is said in his obituary that he was one of that group of early specialist trained doctors who chose to live in provincial areas and in doing so established medical standards there comparable to city based practice.
According to N Fleming, who wrote in his College Roll, Bothroyd is credited with some revolutionary ideas for his time. He performed a novel technique of open prostatectomy with tonsillectomy instruments, explored internal fixation of fractures and realised earlier than most the inherent risks of smoking. He took a delight in being difficult with people he thought were incompetent. Nevertheless he cared for his patients with meticulous attention.
He would have known Edward Turner as he was on the hospital board and their two families also later became related through marriage. That is all I know and the rest is conjecture. His name is one of the few clues I have of my conception and birth in Mildura.
For whatever reason, thank you Dr Bothroyd for helping me come into the world.