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From a Broom Cupboard:
20 Years of Rural Health at Monash University

Edited by Robert Clough

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The cleaner’s cupboard at the old Moe Hospital is the now-legendary birth place of what has become the Monash University School of Rural Health. This is the fascinating history of the formation of Australia’s first multidisciplinary rural health academic unit in 1992 and its evolution into a school with a footprint stretching across Victoria, from Mildura to Lakes Entrance. The story is told through multiple voices, from insiders and outsiders, that together create a collage of depth and sometimes unexpected harmonics. Many of the authors are themselves recognised as pivotal to the ‘rural health revolution’. The twenty years since 1992 have seen a wave of changes in rural health, a wave that rural health at Monash has been surfing since the beginning. These pages relive that ride.


Robert Clough

1. The early years: Initial vision and foundation
Professor Roger Strasser

2. Changing emphasis: Monash University Department of Rural and Indigenous Health
Professor Elaine Duffy, Professor Peter O’Meara, Dr Janice Chesters, Dr Jo Wainer, AM, and Mollie Burley

3. External environment: The view from the outside
The Hon. Dr Michael Wooldridge, Robert Wells, Di Wyatt, Emeritus Professor Nicholas Saunders, AO, and Dane Huxley

4. Rural medical training: Applying the curriculum in a rural environment
Dr John Togno, Associate Professor David Campbell, Professor Gordon Whyte, Dr Ryan Spencer, John Clark, and Elyssia Bourke

5. Collaboration in northern Victoria: Embedding education in regional health services and communities
Professor Geoff Solarsh

6. Research: Community relevance
Emeritus Professor John S Humphreys

7. Aboriginal health: Leading the way
Associate Professor Marlene Drysdale

8. Administration: Flying under the radar
Robert Clough

9. Gippsland Medical School: Taking advantage of opportunities as they arise
Associate Professor William Hart, Professor Judi Walker, and Associate Professor Shane Bullock

Afterword: Learning from the past for a sustainable future
Professor Judi Walker

About the Editor

Robert Clough was the manager of the Centre for Rural Health and the School of Rural Health from December 1998 to December 2010. During that time the organisation expanded from one primary site in Gippsland to eight major locations and 30 teaching general practices along a broad diagonal geographical slash: across Victoria from Mildura, through to East Gippsland. In that time staff numbers rose from 45 to over 320, while the expenditure budget expanded from around $2 million to over $30 million. Since leaving Monash, Rob has spent his time writing short stories and playing lawn bowls.


Elyssia Bourke
Mollie Burley
Associate Professor David Campbell
Dr Janice Chesters
John Clark
Robert Clough
Adjunct Professor Marlene Drysdale
Professor Elaine Duffy
Emeritus Professor John S Humphreys
Steve Kirkbright
Professor Peter O’Meara
Emeritus Professor Nicholas Saunders, AO
Professor Geoff Solarsh
Dr Ryan Spencer
Professor Roger Strasser, AM
Dr John Togno
Adjunct Associate Professor Jo Wainer, AM
Professor Judi Walker
Robert Wells
Adjunct Professor Gordon Whyte
The Hon. Dr Michael Wooldridge
Di Wyatt

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