Saturday 11 April 2015

The Racing Doctor

Doctors were few and far between in the area south of Liverpool known as the Cowpastures in the 19th Century. This area included Campbelltown. There was no guarantee of their skills or qualifications so for the sick and injured, life was risky.

A highly interesting and useful addition to the library's collection is The Racing Doctor: Tales of Medical Care in the Cowpastures by Elizabeth Villy. Published in 2014, it takes a look at the experiences of various doctors practising in the Cowpastures in the 19th Century. It starts with a chapter on the area's first and well known doctor William Redfern.

The Racing Doctor was the name given to Dr William Kenny and a chapter is devoted to this doctor who provided much medical help to the the folk of Campbelltown. The author writes that he had a dubious background in medicine but was renowned for his prowess on the race track! He was charged with supervising floggings at Campbelltown Gaol of which he seemed unperturbed.

Another doctor that is featured is Dr William Bell who I have written about in a previous blog article. There is a fascinating look at the skills used by Granny Long, a midwife of the Burragorang Valley and a chapter that specifically deals with home remedies for the early settler.

Make sure you check this book out next time you visit our library. It's a real gem.

Written by Andrew Allen

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