Dr Daniel Bills

The routine is monotonous but, somehow, part of the appeal. The alarm sounds at 4.45 am and I swing my legs from under the covers, and guide them onto the floor boards, the only clue as to the season. The ritual continues… feeding of animals, breakfast and coffee, the goal being to exit the the garage at 5.15. The journey is invariably notable for the lack of recollection, with arrival at the pool being the first stable memory of the still-young morning.

The next is the cool of the water as it rushes over my skin, focusing my attention on the present.

I was always something of an “aquanaut”, a competitive swimmer in my early teens before playing waterpolo for the Victorian junior team, representing USyd at the University games in water polo and being selected in the Universities’ Green and Gold side.

But then somewhere in the melange of training, work, and life at large my love of the pool slowly evaporated. Whilst playing waterpolo I continued swimming but its rewards had disappeared. Then, five years ago, I started a comeback of sorts, swimming at Lismore baths with a local coach.

The Man in the Red Coat

This learned and beautifully produced book delivers the story of Dr Samuel Pozzi, a pioneering gynaecologist, and two fellow bon vivants, into the hands of one of the finest contemporary novelists. This is Barnes’ eighth foray into non-fiction, helped by a heaven-sent character and a time in history, the Parisian Belle Epoque, when almost anything went.

The tale begins in the mid 1800s when what Barnes dubs a “strange trio” embarked on what they called an “intellectual shopping trip” to London. While luxury shopping was undertaken, and museums visited, carousing and debauchery were more often on the agenda.

The tale oscillates between the capitals of France and England, more often the former as the author explores the mores and social connections of the period, helped greatly by his passion for the French language and Gallic ways, which led to his being awarded the Legion d’honneur in 2017.


At the AGM of the Northern Rivers General Practice Network on 19 December 2019 it was resolved to widen the membership of the organisation to include all doctors from Tweed Heads to Grafton. The meeting also resolved to change its formal name to the Northern Rivers Medical Network (NSW) Limited and to trade under the name “Nordocs”.

The Board members of the organisation are Nathan Kesteven, David Guest, Bronwyn Hudson, Louise Imlay-Gillespie, Joe Gormally and Trafford Fehlberg. While the Board is composed of three GPs and three specialists it is planned to widen its membership to include representation by doctors in training and other practitioners from outside the Richmond Valley.

The new direction for the organisation was outlined by Chairman, Dr Nathan Kesteven, in his Annual Report for 2019 with the focus in the coming year being on communication and education of medical practitioners on the North Coast.

Bali- building bamboo

As the accompanying photos show, the Indonesian island of Bali is still an extraordinarily beautiful place, despite the endlessly negative stories about the behaviour of foreign tourists, including plenty of Australians, around coastal resort areas such as Kuta and Legian.

I’m more aware of this than most, having visited Bali in 1971 on the way back to my then-hometown of Hong Kong and being the only… read that again, the only, foreigner on Kuta beach to view the wondrous sinking of the afternoon sun into the sea. Now that spectacle must be shared with thousands of tourists gathered on beanbags outside bars blaring reggae, the Rolling Stones, whatever, over huge speakers, with collective cheering when the sun sets.

The Redgum song “I’ve been to Bali too”, released in 1984, implied that one visit to Bali would be enough, that box was ticked, but for me too much Bali has never been enough, assuming you stick to the best places, Ubud in the hills being prime amongst them, and avoid the rest.

JFPP students Ruben and Clare with Dr Alastair McInnes

The Clarence Valley Regional Training Hub has partnered with the Clarence Health Service and the NSW Rural Doctors Network to support the return of John Flynn Placement Program (JFPP) students to the Clarence Valley region. Students from the University of Wollongong, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, University of New England and University of New South Wales had the opportunity to undertake clinical placements at Grafton Base Hospital (GBH) from November 2019 through to January 2020.

These students were very pleased to have had the chance to experience clinical training in the emergency department of GBH under the guidance of JFPP mentor Dr Alastair McInnes. GBH has diverse presentations that enable the students to observe the team managing everything from run of the mill ailments to retrievals.