Carcoar's medical centre has a new GP, Dr Tamara Ford who will start on Monday, 25 February to replace Dr Sharmi David who will continue working at Blayney and elsewhere.
Dr Ford said: "I always wanted to be a doctor. My early memories were when people were sick, I wanted to know why they were sick, how did that happen and how do they get better."
She relocated to an historic property in Lyndhurst late last year with her husband, a landscaper, and two pre-teen boys. She had been discharged from the air force.
"I left school at 16, worked, then did year 11 and 12 as a single mother. I could have stayed at home, watched TV, but kept at my studies. I did some work as an infant aquatics teacher, then thankfully I received three university offers to study medicine. I moved to Melbourne to study and was still studying when I joined the military to help fund my studies. I come from a military family," she said.
While she wasn't deployed during her six years in the air force, she did pack a great range of medical experiences and faced challenges in her four years practising medicine. She was involved in victim identification with the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine after the bushfires there in 2009.
"It was heavy going - a big operation and I had to interact with family members who'd lost relatives.
"The most horrific thing was the number of people who also were badly affected by the heatwave before the fires as well as those who had passed away. When we found remains, we had to identify if they were human or animal so they had to go through CT scans. Once we were sure they were human remains, we then had to sift through he ashes to find teeth, source dental records, or look to their jewellery to identify people.
"It was a great experience because it made me very strong about wearing my jewellery. I keep telling my husband - he takes his jewellery off when he's working, but in a disaster, your jewellery is one of the main things you can be identified by."
Dr Ford has a dearth of experience in rural practice, emergency medicine, clinical experience even being the main doctor for a small country hospital near Townsville.
"I was the only doctor for a 10-bed hospital and the GP and I did that for three weeks straight. I didn't get much sleep as it was during the flu season."
Dr Ford will work with Dr Anne Gilroy at the Carcoar practice which has about almost 3000 patients on its books.
Dr Gilroy said: "Dr Ford is an answer to a prayer. I am sorry to see Dr David leave, but we are very happy to welcome Dr Ford.
"It was thanks to Audrey Harman OAM that we found about our new doctor - I am very grateful to her networking."
Dr Ford will work four and a half days a week, which means the surgery will be open from 9am to 5pm weekdays (not Wednesdays, but open until 7pm on Tuesdays). It will also open from 9am to noon on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Dr Ford will also do home visits.
The practice is believed to be the oldest continuing running GP practice and hospital in Australia having opened in the 1850s.
Nursing sister Erin Johns will return from maternity leave next month to the practice.
The Carcoar Medical Centre is at 7 Eulamore street, Carcoar and the telephone is 6367-3030.