Dr Fred Keating has announced he is retiring after 44 years in the medical field in Rockhampton.
Dr Fred Keating has announced he is retiring after 44 years in the medical field in Rockhampton.

‘It has been a pleasure’: CQ doctor retires after 44 years

A WELL-RESPECTED Rockhampton doctor has announced his retirement.

Anthony "Freddo" Keating will hang up his stethoscope today at Mt Archer Medical Centre after 44 years in medicine.

The 68-year-old medical practitioner, who attended The Cathedral College, started his career in the 1970s at Rockhampton Hospital, working there for three years as a resident doctor, before starting his 41 year long career at Mt Archer Medical Centre.

His time at Rockhampton hospital was not his first, with Dr Keating revealing he paid his way through university by working as a wardsman there while he was a student.

"I also worked for many years on university holidays for Tucker and Nankivell Funeral Directors," he said.

When speaking about the highlights of his long medical career, Dr Keating said countless moments came to mind, "there have been more than a thousand".

"Going to work every day was a highlight for me," he said.

"I used to deliver a lot of babies back in the early days and had a lot of wonderfully rewarding times with young mothers and fathers.

"The last babies I delivered are teenagers now.

"I have looked after a lot of people with different conditions. Sadly, a lot of them were at the end of their lives.

"It is always very difficult watching someone's final moments. But you know the patient and the people around them discover tremendous inner strength when they are in that situation.

"If I have learnt anything over the past 44 years, the thing that strikes me most is a mother's love. I have learnt what a mother's love means to people."

Even though every day had its special moments, Dr Keating said the job also offered an equal number of difficult ones.

"There were terribly sad times when you realised the sort of battles people in some families go through," he said.

"It has been a pleasure to ­provide whatever help I could to those families."

About three years ago Dr Keating was made a life member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

He also served on the board of Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland for a period of time.

He said he had worked with some wonderful colleagues at Mt Archer Medical Centre, and throughout the town, over the years.

"I have been blessed to work with some great colleagues here; there are some wonderful general practitioners in town," he said.

"They have been very kind to me, and it has been a privilege supporting them.

"I have worked with some giants in modern medicine in this town over the years, like the late John Learmonth, the late John Birks, Frank Champion, Paul Khoo, Hilary Mercer, Tom Lynch, Tom ­­Dewar, and Bill Renton-Power.

"In more recent times, some standout colleagues I have worked with are people like Deborah Garcia, Joe Putman, Gerrit Burger, Andrew Russell, and Mark Hendricks."

Dr Keating said the thing he would miss the most were his loyal patients and the contact with people.

"I have been lucky to have the support of a large number of loyal and respectful patients over the years and have been fortunate enough to be involved in lots of families, sometimes four generations of families," he said.

"I have watched kids grow up, marry and have children of their own.

"I have watched other people age and retire, and sadly watched some of them die.

"It's been a great privilege to look after all of those people and it'll be very hard saying goodbye to them."

Dr Keating said he hoped he had been helpful to both ­patients and families, as well as a mentor to students and young doctors.

When asked what plans he had for his retirement, he said that was the great mystery.

"Hopefully I get to see a few more cricket tests," Dr Keating said.

"There will be a bit of travel and more time spent with my gorgeous and supportive wife Penny.

"It would also be nice to spend some more time with our four adult children."

He wanted to thank all of his patients who had been loyal to him over the years.

"It's just been lovely to be part of these people's lives, through all the good times and the sad," he said.

"It would be nice to think I have been of some use to them."


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