Looking back

CONTINUING the series on the doctors and nurses who worked at the Old Bega Hospital with more on the story of Dr Evershed. 

Dr Evershed was one of the medical officers for the Bega Hospital when it opened in 1887 and remained so until his death in 1927.

Memorial: The clock tower erected in memory of Dr Montague Frederick Evershed. Dedicated in 1930, the tower cost 237 pounds and the clock 168 pounds.

Memorial: The clock tower erected in memory of Dr Montague Frederick Evershed. Dedicated in 1930, the tower cost 237 pounds and the clock 168 pounds.

During his years of practice he consistently updated his qualifications and the Pioneers' Museum has his certificate for the performance of public vaccination.

After his death it was decided to build a memorial in his honour. The committee undertaking the task suggested a water fountain, gates or a window at St John's or a scholarship, but it was eventually decided to build  a clock tower, despite the fact that it would be very expensive.

The clock tower was dedicated in May, 1930, and a “great gathering of town and country people” assembled for the ceremony.

The tower cost 237 pounds and the clock, which cost 168 pounds, was supplied by Proud's Ltd, Sydney and was run by electricity.

Sir John Sulman, the noted architect, designed the tower which was made from rock overlooking the late doctor's old paddock.

When officially opened the clock tower was fully subscribed with even the advertising for the function paid for.

Many spoke at the dedication including Mr Blomfield who said the doctor never sought the limelight, but his kindness of heart was so great, and he was much esteemed by people, that they could not help but perpetuate his memory.

One of the stories told by Mr Blomfield was when the doctor had come to him worried that he was owed so much money that he didn't have enough to educate his sons. Mr Blomfield looked through the list of creditors, and those he knew could pay received letters reminding them of their debts. Most paid and apologised “as the doctor had saved the lives of them or some of their families”. To those who did not pay, Mr Blomfield sent a summons. On finding out about this, Dr Evershed was shocked and upset as he “had never summoned a man in my life”.

Mr Cole of Pambula told of a poor family from the Old Country who had taken ill. They were not game to go for the doctor as they had no means, but they were told to go to Dr Evershed, who called in day after day and never asked them for a penny.

Mr Cole said “there was not another man in the land who would have done what Dr Evershed did. That family subsequently prospered and always said the doctor had saved them from the grave.

Mr Heffernan of  Candelo summed up how people felt about the doctor by saying “he taught by example the brotherhood of man”.

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