Not only is he one of our much loved local Doctors, he’s also a sportsman, fundraiser, and keen local dad. We caught up for a chat with him recently about why Singleton is the place to be.
My parents moved to Singleton when I was a baby to work in the mining industry. I've remained in Singleton ever since. I had a great childhood growing up in Singleton. I went to Singleton Heights Public School and then on to Singleton High. I continued to live in Singleton while I studied medicine at Newcastle University so I’ve never really left Singleton!
I started at the junior club when I was 10 years old. Then at 18, I began playing for the senior rugby team. In August 2019, I played my 300th game for the senior Singleton Bulls Rugby team, which is an achievement that only six other players have reached in our club's history. It's something I'm very proud of!
I've been making noises about retiring, but I think I've got a few seasons left in me! I now coach my son’s Singleton Bulls junior rugby team, so when our games start to clash that'll be the end of my playing career.
Speaking from personal experience, Singleton is a fantastic place to raise children. I achieved well academically attending local public schools. In my final year at Singleton High School, over 10 of us achieved over 90% in the HSC. The educational opportunities here are as good as anywhere else and that can take people wherever they want to go.
I took over my practice, now named Civic Medical, six years ago. Before that, it had been established for 20 years as a solo general practice. I've expanded it into a two-doctor operation. We treat people at the hospital and in our rooms, which is a part of that country medicine tradition, where you do everything and anything.
I'm in a unique position in that I work in a town that I've always lived. It can be challenging, as there can be boundaries that I've got to be careful not to cross. However, it's also incredibly rewarding. I get to care for people I've known for a long time when they or their family members are going through their darkest times. Two of my best mates are cousins, and I looked after their grandfather for the last couple of years of his life. It was a powerful experience for us all.
Due to the mining industry and the defence forces, Singleton offers incredible employment opportunities, career paths and financial rewards. Whether that is for people in these fields, or for those whose businesses and financial opportunities prosper because of them. Also, the location is incredible. Singleton is only two and a half hours away from Sydney, so you get the benefits of being close enough to a world-class city and access to the international airport. It's just an hour away from Newcastle and its beautiful beaches and in the midst of Australia's oldest vineyards with its top restaurants. What's not to love?
It was such a fun and rewarding experience. I participated with two other people from Singleton, Neal Marland from Gromor Enterprises, and Jamie MacNarama from the Albion Hotel. Neal invited me on the charity drive through southwestern, New South Wales. We drove in a 1969 Ford Fairlane raising funds for children in disadvantaged areas.
We often go to the Criterion Hotel for dinner. My wife and I actually met at the Criterion and often we sit at the same table where we initially met.
How romantic! Thanks, Mitchell.