Loyal doctor who went beyond the call of duty

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Loyal doctor who went beyond the call of duty

April 30, 2019

Dr Ewen Downie succeeded his father, Taylor, as Rushall Park’s honorary medical officer. He introduced new initiatives to improve the welfare of the residents, including the system of daily visits, which still exists.

Ewen was 33 when he started visiting the honorary role. His interest in many different medical fields, from diabetes through to asthma, nutrition and metabolism, benefited residents enormously.

His standing within the medical community, and his connections with the Alfred Hospital, Baker Medical Research Institute, and other hospitals ensured speedy referrals to specialists for residents with health problems which could not be treated in the village. He emphasised the importance of these links in his November 1939 report to Council.

His keen interest in public health saw him advise the Council on the living conditions of the cottages, advising that some of the older cottages ‘fell short of modern ideas of lighting and sanitation.’[1]

Dr Downie resigned in 1953. By then, medical care was changing with the majority of residents preferring to choose their own doctors.

Survived by his wife, son and daughter, he died on 1 August 1977 at Kew and was cremated; his estate was sworn for probate at $162,649.

[1]Annual Report 1938 – 1939

Caption: Dr Downie is sitting and holding a baby.

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