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Faith lights the way of much-loved physician

Dr Humphry Cramond: A lifetime of services to others is remembered with deep appreciation and affection.

Dr Humphry Cramond: A lifetime of services to others is remembered with deep appreciation and affection.

DR Humphry Cramond was born in Townsville, the elder child of Stuart and Mary Cramond (née Joyce).

He died in Brisbane on March 15 aged 89.

The Joyce family were Irish pioneers of the cattle industry at Antill Plains.

The Cramonds came from Forfar, in Scotland, to Warrnambool, Victoria, when gold was discovered, in 1851, providing essentials to the miners heading for the gold fields.

Stuart Cramond came to Brisbane when Humphry was five years old, as the deputy manager of the State Government Insurance Office, and they lived in Liverpool Road, Clayfield.

Stuart Cramond died after an elective cholecystectomy when Dr Cramond was just nine years old.

Dr Cramond’s secondary education at Nudgee College had a profound influence on him.

He participated in rugby and cricket, adding humbly “never making the Firsts”.

He played basketball for university, obtaining a Half Blue, and he represented Queensland.

He was editor of the Nudgee Collegian, highlighting his early commitment to the correct use of the English language.

He continued this interest as honorary librarian for the Australian Medical Association and as its honorary archivist.

Completing the Senior Examination in 1940, he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine, graduating in 1947.

As a student he was not only editor of Semper Floreat and Trephine, but also the president of the University of Queensland Medical Society when the students took Queensland Health to court – and won – obtaining an award for doctors which remained operative until recently.

Dr Cramond was appointed to the staff of the then Brisbane Hospitals.

At that time most young doctors spent one year in hospital practice, but he spent four years – at the Brisbane Hospitals, and then as a senior resident at Bundaberg.

He regarded the hospital experience as a wonderful preparation for country practice where GPs “did everything” from emergency surgery to the management of heart attack and road trauma and obstetrics.

In 1950 he went to Dalby where, as medical superintendent, he was responsible for public and private patients, and served on the hospital board and the Ambulance Training Committee, and lectured nurses.

Before he went to Dalby, he married a Brisbane nurse, Margaret Shalcross, who not only supported his practice, but was pivotal in his integration into the Dalby community.

With Dr Cramond, she provided a loving, stable home life for their children, Gordon and Elizabeth, in Dalby, and when they were at Nudgee and Stuartholme colleges.

Her death in hospital while awaiting cardiac surgery, in 1981, was devastating, but Dr Cramond met this with courage and the equanimity he displayed when his father and his two younger children died – Virginia as a neonate and Phillip aged six.

He served on the Dalby Town Council as an alderman for 21 years, as chairman of the Works Committee and the Health Committee, and as deputy mayor for 15 years.

He undertook a cardiology course in Brisbane, establishing the first coronary care unit outside of the metropolitan area, teaching nurses to recognise potentially life-threatening conditions and to provide definitive treatment with a defibrillator.

Dr Cramond was a unifying influence on the general practitioners in Dalby, chairing the Local Medical Association, before being appointed president of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Medical Association for 1984-85.

Federal Council admitted him as a fellow in 1982.

And this was where Professor Tess Brophy entered the scene.

They had known each other as students and she reminded him that she had served afternoon tea and did the washing up at his graduation ceremony – she didn’t regard this as a chore, but was thrilled to attend the graduation and witness the ceremonial entry of young graduates to the profession.

They were married with a nuptial Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians, Hendra, on April 24, 1985, with Fr Peter Gillam officiating and Brisbane Archbishop Francis Rush present.

 The choir of the Mater nuns enhanced the liturgy.

Dr Cramond was integrated into the Dalby community, making time to discuss the crops, the horse and cattle sales, and the progress of children at school and sport.

At a wedding in Dalby, he proposed the toast to the bride and groom.

He had delivered all eight children, including the bride, and cared for four generations.

The emotion displayed at his civic farewell revealed genuine respect and affection. When the council wanted to name a street after him, he declined.

He made an enormous sacrifice relocating to Brisbane – he was always a country GP at heart despite his successful and happy 16 years with Drs Larry and Carole Gahan at Zillmere.

He gave precedence to Tess’ work in pain medicine.

Dr Cramond remained a dedicated Nudgee Old Boy – serving on the committee from 1948 until the mid 1990s, accepting the role of chairman for the Centenary Year.

He was the recipient of the Signum Fidei Award, the highest award of Nudgee College Old Boys’ Association.

His son Gordon, his nephew Doug Carrigan and grand-nephews Jeremy and Alastair Carrigan are Nudgee Old Boys.

The guard of honour of Nudgee prefects was a fitting tribute.

He received many awards – the Member of the Order of the British Empire and the Medal of the Order of Australia and life membership of the Dalby Bowls Club, the Apex Club of Dalby, the Dalby Arts Council, the Endeavour Foundation, the Dalby Swimming Club, the Bush Children’s Health Scheme and the Local Government Award.

Dr Cramond and Tess shared their faith, their commitment to family values, the profession they served, and the community projects they supported – health and education in Timor Leste, Callan Services in Papua New Guinea and St Vincent’s in Brisbane.

Dr Cramond has always been committed to the needs of his parish – in Dalby, the medical care of the priests and nuns – and at Hendra he was lector and extraordinary minister.

Professor Cramond said she would never have married a man she did not respect – and who was not her intellectual superior – and Dr Cramond met those requirements and was worth waiting for.

Written by: Staff writers
Catholic Church Insurance

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