A healthy slice of history

Doctors Arthur Franks and John Haddad. Photo:Damjan Janevski

By Goya Dmytryshchak

Victoria’s oldest continuously running general practice last Friday marked 125 years since opening its doors in 1894.

The Clinic Williamstown at 107 Ferguson Street opened its doors on July 19, 1894.

Co-owner John Haddad and Dr Arthur Franks, the latter whom has been at the clinic for 35 years, celebrated the occasion.

Dr Franks, who has been practicing since 1970, still works at the clinic three days a week at 84 years of age.

He said Williamstown had changed since he started at the practice in 1984.

“Williamstown was known as ‘Dog Town’ at that stage,” he said.

“I saw, recently advertised, somebody selling a house in Williamstown here and we were described as a gentrified seaside suburb.

“So, things have progressed in that sense.”

Dr Franks said there were few other doctors when he first came to Williamstown.

“When I came here, there was a well-known doctor in the area, Geoffrey Long, who had been here since about 1932,” he said.

“Then there was another one called Dr Donald Coutts, and he actually was a medical officer in the first world war.

“When I first came down here, down in Kororoit Creek Road there was a centre where migrants used to come … and there was a great outbreak of the measles, which was something I hadn’t seen until that time.”

The Clinic remains a general practice but now offers other services including podiatry, psychology, pathology and a dietician, with audiometry services starting soon.

“It’s been a very enjoyable place to work and live,” Dr Franks said. “It’s a great pleasure to walk down the street and be acknowledged by patients that I haven’t seen for ages.”