Percy Rogers was no ordinary doctor. Raised in small Western Australian towns, at fifteen he saved enough to buy a train ticket to Perth, where night school was free, with a hope to study science and medicine. From there he embarked on a medical career that would take him around Australia and the world, from Hobart’s busiest hospital to a practice in suburban Melbourne; from remote Arnhem Land communities to a Saudi Arabian city; from the beaches of Cocos Keeling Islands to the Papuan jungle highlands. Rogers, an obstetrician by training, was a passionate advocate for reproductive rights, arguing that women should have greater say in their childbirth and medical care, and a pioneer of the Lamaze technique in Australia. A one-time communist and the subject of a secret ASIO file, he was also an outspoken critic of social discrimination and a defender of those who could not speak for themselves, whether due to illness, gender or language barriers. His work took him into communities near and distant, where he confronted poverty, disease and appalling living conditions as he sought to provide individuals with a basic human right – access to free and safe healthcare. This is the inspiring, warm and moving story of one of the most pioneering health practitioners in the country. It is a testament to one man’s abiding, passionate belief in the power of medicine and the importance of community health.
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