Robert Warnock, or “Doctor Bob” as he was known to his patients and friends, was an outstanding rural doctor for 3 decades in Far North Queensland.
Bob was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 5 March 1927, the youngest son of a rural family doctor. He excelled at school at Campbell College, Belfast, where he was school captain, captain of the first XV football team, and captain of the Northern Ireland schoolboys’ hockey team.
He studied medicine at Cambridge University before doing his residency at St George’s Hospital, London. After a stint in the British Army, he migrated to Australia with his first wife, Valerie, and their three children in 1958.
After a short period in general practice in rural Victoria, Bob drove 3000 km to Babinda, north Queensland, to take up the role of Medical Superintendent of Babinda Hospital in 1958.
In Babinda, he developed a reputation as a compassionate, hardworking, supportive general practitioner. He was highly regarded in the disciplines of obstetrics and anaesthesia.
Bob moved to Cardwell in 1974, where he established the town’s first general practice and continued working until his early retirement in 1987 due to ill health.
Bob was a very active community member. In Babinda he was a Rotarian, President of the Kindergarten Committee and President of the Bowls Club. He was also involved in cricket, tennis and water sports. In Cardwell he was a member of the Cardwell Country Club, and his enduring commitment to lawn bowls was recognised with the award of the Royal Queensland Bowls Association’s Meritorious Medal in 1996 and a Commonwealth Medal in 2000.
In his retirement, Bob enjoyed gardening, spending time with his family, and travelling to the United Kingdom to visit former colleagues. He was also a member of Legacy and Probus.
Bob’s dedication to rural medicine was recently acknowledged with the announcement that the new Cardwell community health centre, soon to be officially opened, has been named “Cardwell’s Dr R F Warnock Community Health Centre”.
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