How destiny’s hand guided West Wyalong’s beloved doctor duo
When a random holiday nearly ten years ago presented a chance to buy a medical practice, Dr Wail Waili and Dr Huda Matrook knew it was destiny’s hand guiding them on a new path.
“Our move to Australia was totally unplanned,” said Dr Waili.
“We came to Australia for a holiday. The only plan was to do a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney and to visit friends from medical school in Iraq. These doctors were scattered, from Melbourne, Gulgong, Shepparton, Jerilderie, Henty to Tamworth and Sydney. We then thought that it might be nice to check to see if we could come for a year or more to practice rural medicine after the huge positive effects of the sun and goodness.”
Although Dr Waili had been dreaming of relocating downunder since 1995, the couple ended up working and studying in London instead. Originally from Iraq, the couple moved to the United Kingdom together, and married upon completion of their studies.
“It was destiny, it all happened so quickly. Word passed amongst our friends and on our way back from Sydney to Melbourne to catch our plane back to the UK, two hours before our flight, we met with Dr Fergus McGee, who was selling his practice in West Wyalong in Bland Shire, and here we are,” added Dr Matrook.
Since purchasing the West Wyalong Medical Centre, they have created a thriving and much-loved community-centred service. The doctor duo purchased the nextdoor building which they renovated and made into a purpose built medical centre with eight consulting rooms and two nurses’ rooms.
“We are a hardworking team and continuously trying to upgrade our services to provide the community with the best healthcare possible,” said Dr Walli.
The move also helped Dr Matrook re-establish her love for painting, even joining a local painting group. While Dr Waili joined the Lions Club and enjoys a few games of social bowls. They are also superbly focused on supporting the community in other ways.
“Knowing the community, their life stories, achievements and families… it is unique and something you don’t find in other countries,” said Dr Matrook.
Meet some of the Bland Shire community and fellow Tree Changers!
Heather Ward & Barbara Last
“Wail has I started a Cancer Support Group with Can Assist, which unfortunately due to Covid-19, had to cease. We are also participating in the building and support of a Bird Aviary for the Riding for the Disabled and have also held educational events with Douglass Hanly Moir,” explained Dr Matrook.
The move has also opened up a range of extra curricular activities. As well as regular trips to Sydney to get their ‘city fix’ the family love the range of outdoor activities at hand.
“As a family we enjoy hiking, walking our dog together, family barbeques, and watching movies,” added Dr Waili.
The local community and Bland Shire Council have proven a huge drawcard to the husband and wife team, who say the support they’ve received has made it easy to return the love.
“The Council has been so supportive of us and our nurses. The support continued when we built the medical centre which we appreciated. We are so proud of what we have been able to achieve,” added Dr Matrook.
As a close knit community, the Shire rallied when COVID-19 hit. In September 2021, those who went above and beyond to help the community were recognised for their efforts through the “Gratitude Project” created by local business Evolution Mining (Cowal) and Bland Shire Council, Dr Matrook and Waili were among the recipients of the community nominated awards.
For the husband and wife team, their message to other people considering a random holiday- come-country change is straightforward.
“Please give it a go. We love it here. We feel like we are home. Coming to West Wyalong has changed our life. It is a beautiful town and we have made lots of friends and learned a lot about Australia. The Bland Shire enriched our life with its beautiful culture. It has offered an outstanding life experience,” urged Dr Waili.