Dr Walter Osmond Pye MBE
The featured image shows Dr Walter Osmond Pye in consultation with Dr Toby Barton and Mrs Janet Barton in the garden at Belmore House (‘Geraldton’).
I have many illustrious peers in Scone in writing and recording important social history. Nancy Gray would head the list with Audrey Entwisle following closely behind. The latter wrote several books when closely associated with the Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society which the Grays (Mr & Mrs) instigated.
Among the many fine tributes recorded by Audrey is her possible personal apogee: ‘Walter Osmond Pye 1905 – 1994 A Celebration’. I treasure the copy I have. When I was Chairman of the Board of Strathearn Village I purchased all the last available copies from the Historical Society. I presented them to fellow Board Members and the new CEO as ‘mandatory homework’. I’m not sure if it worked or not?
Audrey’s encomium embraces the full circle of life of an outstanding rural medical practitioner. In her foreword Audrey says there is no doubt that Scone’s “Man of the Century” is Dr Walter Osmond Pye. Many would agree. Federation Publication No. 3 of the Scone and Upper Historical Society 2000 chronologically lists the litany of achievements of this ‘leviathan’ medico. There are tributes from fellow doctors and nursing sisters. Three great totems to Walter Pye endure in the form of the Upper Hunter Village Association (now Strathearn Aged Care); Scone Aerodrome and St Luke’s Anglican Church. Memorials in his honour are the MBE awarded in the 1973 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘Services to the Community – especially Medicine’; Walter Pye Wing at the Scott memorial Hospital; Inaugural Hunter McLoughlin Citizen Award; ‘The Town Says Thank You’ celebration at St Luke’s Parish Centre on 13 October 1991 and Aged Care Australia’s Award of Life Membership of the Upper Hunter Village Association.
‘Hobbies and Interests’ is Audrey’s finale tribute. These are many and varied and include dairying (‘Little Fields’ Dairy); Scone Golf Club; Cars including the vintage RR and Model T Ford; Scone Historical Records Centre and finally his last resting place at “Oakland”, Coraki. At his funeral service in St Luke’s the Reverend Paul Robertson summed up Dr Pye’s life with exactitude:
“God gave many gifts to Walter Pye and used them well. He will be remembered by a grateful Scone and Upper Hunter Community as a dedicated medical practitioner, a fine community servant, and generous Christian benefactor. We mourn his death, we celebrate his life and its achievements, we express our thanks to him and to God for his life’s work among us.”
Dr Walter Pye’s prevailing philosophy in founding the Upper Hunter Village Association is summarised as follows:
“People should be able to remain among their friends and their workmates, hopefully close to their family, their doctor, their clubs, their pub, friendly trades-people and neighbours where they are known”.
“In retrospect it would seem that the greatest and kindest care would be the ability to allow people to be able to die peacefully and quietly in their own home and to supply the comfort and care which is required to do so”.
“People living far out of country towns would need to be cared for in the towns (hostel or villa) where the auxiliary services are available”.
“Remember: The height of any civilization can be judged by the manner in which they care for their aged. This community must rank high”.