Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : February 28, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 2 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2017
THERE were doctors in Korumburra going right
back to the town’s very early coal mining days, in
the late 1800s, some of them involved in the long
struggle to get a hospital established here, finally
opening with a bush nursing hospital in the 1930s.
Drs McGee and Ick were among the early pio-
But it’s 50 years ago this week since the brothers
Lapin, Dr Muir Lapin and Dr Allen Lapin, got to-
gether to open Korumburra’s first medical centre
in 1967. And they were joined on opening day by a
newly graduated doctor Ron Murley.
It’s an event that’s worth celebrating, as are the
incredible developments in medicine over the past
50 years, which year-after-year have revolutionised
And that’s exactly what they plan to do with an
open day for the general community on Wednes-
day, March 1, between 3pm and 4pm, when you’re
invited to come along, to enjoy a piece of birthday
cake and a cuppa, to have a look around the rede-
veloped centre in Radovick Street, check out the
facilities and equipment, meet and chat with staff
and doctors and contribute your stories about the
medical centre over the past 50 years.
Later on, the medical centre has invited all past
and present staff members; including doctors, of-
fice staff and nurses to come along for a special
get-together to mark the occasion.
“We’d have had more than 200 doctors work
here in that time, I guess, when you take into ac-
count our resident doctors, part-timers, visiting
doctors and trainees,” said medical centre stal-
wart, Dr Phil Huguenin.
“The Lapins have both passed away now but we
do have some of the Lapin children coming along,
some of whom have become doctors, and we’ll
have a number of others joining us.
“Ron Murley was here from day one and no
doubt he’ll have a few good stories to tell.”
Dr Murley will be the special guest at the open
day on March 1.
Where it all began
A doctor who gained significant surgical experi-
ence at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after WWII,
Muir Lapin arrived in Korumburra in the late
1940s, shortly after the war, and brought his con-
siderable expertise with him.
Having started practise here, working out of a
surgery adjoined to his home in Radovick Street,
he persuaded his bother Allen, who was part-way
through a commerce degree, to switch across to
medicine with a view to joining him in Korum-
burra. After completing his studies and also work-
ing in a hospital in Melbourne, Allen arrived here
in the early 1950s and together with Ron Murley,
they became a formidable force in health within
the local community – Allen as the designated an-
aesthetist, Muir as the surgeon and Ron ranging
across all areas, while also developing his own an-
aesthetic and surgery skills.
“They used to have their own X-Ray facilities
here, in a lead-lined room, until those services
were picked up by the hospital, there was a
separate gynae room as well for the Pap smears
and we’ve continued to move with the times as
services were required, now with a separate pa-
thology service connected to the medical cen-
tre,” said Dr Huguenin.
The medical centre has always prided itself on
attracting skilled physicians, staying in touch with
the latest treatments and developments through
regular training and also as a result of being very
active as a teaching practice.
“We’ve had a lot of doctors go through here and
on to important roles elsewhere. I had a letter this
week from one of them, a doctor now in charge of
anaesthetics at the Ballarat Base Hospital.
“Others have gone on to specialist surgery, spe-
cialising in thoracics and the like but one of the
good things about having worked in a country
practice is that you understand what you are deal-
ing with and sending your patients back to when
they go home after treatment.
“We stopped doing obstetrics 20 years ago be-
cause of developments in that area and the role
of a doctor is markedly different from what it was
when I started out but that’s a reflection of the
incredible technological advances that have been
made as much as it is social changes as well,” Dr
“Once upon a time the doctors did everything
and we were on call all the time but if one thing has
really changed the way we care for our patients,
it’s the fantastic support we get now from practice
nurses and office staff. I really don’t know how we
got on without the wonderful work they do.
“It’s very much a team approach these days.
“As doctors we would like to offer access to us at
all times, and in the past doctors were available an
awful lot, but we know it’s a much more sustain-
able model now, not just for the patients but for
the doctors’ families as well.”
Dr Huguenin said the aim of the Korumburra
Medical Centre was to provide for the holistic
health of patients and to make accessing medical
services as easy as possible.
“We want to be helping people work through the
process of getting their tests and all the rest and
our front-of-house staff are excellent in that area.”
As well as 10 family doctors, the centre has a vis-
iting audiologist, podiatrist, psychologists, echo-
cardiographer and pathology in-house.
“And we’re very fortunate that we can admit pa-
tients who might need a few days in hospital into
facilities in the local area.”
He also agreed that the medical centre had de-
veloped a network of excellent specialists and con-
nections with other hospitals when procedures
and a higher level of treatment was required.
“We are committed to quality health care for
our patients in a supportive environment,” said
50 Radovick Street, Korumburra
Phone: 5655 1355 | A.H. 5654 2753
Monday to Friday 8.30am - 6pm | Saturday 8.30am - 12noon
Closed Sundays and public holidays
We invite you to our celebration
Wednesday, March 1st at 3pm
Special guest: Dr Ron Murley
Celebrations between 3 - 4pm
The Korumburra Medical Centre is celebrating its 50th birthday this week, on Wednesday, March 1, and given the number of doctors,
allied health personnel, nurses and general staff members who have worked there over that time, plus the advances in medical science
embraced by the centre; it’s an occasion worth celebrating. But such is a busy nature of the practice that we could only call together a rep-
resentative group of 10 from the 25 people who provide the service today. They include, from left, Dr Phil Huguenin, Donna Smith, Wendy
Sellings, Maddie Dixon, Tara Dixon, Michelle Bensley, Barb Lumby, Susie Alger, Dr Joon Ming Wong and Dr Peter Lewis.
Celebrating 50 years of health care in Korumburra
Today, the Korumburra Medical Centre in Radovick Street is a modern, well-resourced
health centre providing quality medical care to the people of Korumburra and South
Gippsland, having undergone significant redevelopment in the past couple of years.
What’s the biggest development in medicine?
OF ALL the developments in medicine over the past 50 years; including treatment for heart
disease, kidney dialysis, inhaled therapy for asthmatics and all the rest; Dr Ron Murley be-
lieves something more fundamental has had the biggest impact.
“The advent of the desktop computer has really brought about the biggest change and there’s
little doubt it has saved many thousands of lives,” he said this week.
Dr Murley was acknowledging the 50th anniversary, on Wednesday, March 1, of the opening
of the new medical centre in Korumburra, a service which he says has stood the test of time,
remaining strong and independent and well accepted by the local community.
“I joined the practice the day they opened, on March 1, 1967, in fact, I was probably the
reason why they opened the new centre,” said Ron, a recently graduated doctor at the time.
“Yes, certainly, there have been some amazing developments in medicine over that time, but
I really think the desktop computer was the thing that changed us most.
“It helped greatly with keeping good records, and access to information changed completely.”
Ron said that both Muir and Allen Lapin were excellent general practice doctors, with particular
strengths in surgery and anaesthetics respectively, areas in which he himself developed expertise.
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