Bulli Medical Practice celebrates an astonishing 125 years of health service

Dr Jeff Hall Bulli Medical Practice 2020 a

Dr Jeff Hall with the drawing by the late Neville Roberts of the original Bulli Medical Practice. The medical practice is celebrating 125 years of health service to the northern Illawarra during 2020.

Bulli Medical Practice building (1)

The Bulli Medical Practice, one of Australia’s oldest operated medical practices is celebrating 125 years of health care in 2020


Dr Clifton Sturt, State Records EDITED

Dr Clifton Sturt, who established the Bulli Medical Practice in Park Road in 1895. Picture: NSW State Records

BULLI Medical Practice is proud of their long history.

Just two years after the opening of Bulli Hospital, Dr Clifton Sturt began his practice in a little weatherboard elongated building alongside his Park Road home.

This year marks 125 years of health care from the site.

A “history wall” with a poster including photographs and information on past doctors, including Dr Sturt, is a feature of the now modernised practice, and helps celebrate the special milestone.

Dr Jeff Hall said remembering the history of what is one of Australia’s oldest continually operating medical practices is important.

“It’s great to celebrate the rich history of the practice and to reflect on the massive changes in the way health care is provided,” he said.

“When I first started at the practice, there were patients who remembered Dr Crossle’s home visits with his horse and sulky. Now there’s online bookings and electric cars.”

Besides the “history wall”, there’s also a clock made from a decades old Norfolk Island Pine that once grew in the medical practice grounds, until it died in the early 1980s. The clock was carved by World War II veteran David Gordon-Smith.

There’s also line-drawings by coal miner and artist, the late Neville Roberts, showing the original 1895 weatherboard practice, along with the modernised premises, built in 2013.

Dr Barton Dixon took over the practice from Dr Sturt in 1903.

Dr Dixon was instrumental in the development of Bulli District Hospital, and was a keen photographer, taking many images of Bulli and Wollongong in the early 1900s.

In 1922, the practice was purchased by an Irish migrant, Dr Francis Crossle.

Dr Crossle was a colourful character who visited patients via horse and sulky until he bought a car. He caused a scandal when he published his novel ‘Dona Juana’ in 1931 as it was considered risqué at the time. Some of his friends included D.H. Lawrence and Norman Lindsay.

Dr Bertram Cook took over the practice in 1938 and was superseded by his brother, an ex-army officer, Dr ‘Captain’ Cook.

In 1958, another ex-army serviceman joined the practice, Dr William ‘Bill’ Feneley.




Dr Francis Crossle and Dr William ‘Bill’ Feneley


Dr Feneley’s commitment to medical services and education earned him an Order of Australia in 2000. He received the ANZAC Medal for services to charitable and community organisations in 2001.

Dr Julie Blaze joined in 1997, and, together with Drs Jeff Hall and Michael Hanson, expanded and modernised the practice.

The old weatherboard building was replaced and expanded with modern premises in 2013. Incorporated into the old building was an adjoining shop (Many would remember as a general store, and in latter years as Burton’s Barber Shop) and an adjoining miner’s cottage to the west.

The larger practice now has 10 doctors, four practice nurses and a dedicated administrative team.

Like it has done for the past 125 years, the Bulli Medical Practice continues to provide the latest healthcare to residents of the Northern Illawarra.

Bulli Medical Practice welcomes new patients. For further information visit the Bulli Medical Practice website or call 4284 4622.

Dr Jeff Hall Bulli Medical Practice 2020 b

Dr Jeff Hall with the ‘history wall’ at the Bulli Medical Practice



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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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