The Parrot Press

One Quiet Life:
Memoir of a Country Doctor

Arthur E. Brown

197 pp. • paperback • ISBN 9780987155641 • $17.95

Published 20 February 2013 (out of print).

Ebook edition available from Google Play.

Book cover - One Quiet Life, Arthur E. Brown

About the book

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, boys were boys on Lake Colac, and swans were fair game. Arthur Brown (1889-1976) evokes his childhood pleasures in a country town in Victoria. His father was a prominent doctor, and his mother presided over a large house and garden, "The Elms", and several servants. Sent away to school, Arthur recalls the pleasures of Greenvale and the unpleasantness of Melbourne Grammar. In Britain he loved the Edinburgh Academy.

At Cambridge, where he studied medicine, he became deeply involved with an evangelical Christian group that had links to a boys' club in London. He wrestled with spiritual and sexual issues, and eventually became disenchanted with the activities and counsel of his evangelical friends. He played much golf with English relatives. Before long, he decided never to go to church or to play golf again. Tennis was another matter.

As the British Empire went to War, he served as a doctor first with the British Army, then with Australian forces. Returning to Colac, he joined his father's practice. His evangelical inclinations led to advocacy for radical, progressive reforms to the medical profession and hospitals. He was known as the "Red Doctor."

These memoirs were written in 1957 and revised in 1963. They were intended principally for his own and his family's amusement. Fifty years later, they are published for the amusement of a wider public. They have "period" interest, as he correctly noted, and give "a view of what life looked like to a very ordinary man living in the years between Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II."

About the author

Arthur Brown was born in Maffra, Victoria in 1889. He moved to Colac in 1891. He was sent away to boarding schools and to England to train as a doctor. During the First World War, he served as a medical officer. After the War he joined his father's practice in Colac.

In addition to his medical writings, he wrote and spoke widely on the reform of the medical profession and hospital administration. In 1943 he was appointed by Prime Minister Curtin to a Medical Survey Committee to investigate the medical and hospital conditions in all the States and the Commonwealth. In 1946, he published a book The Doctor and Tomorrow. He retired in 1950. After many quiet years in Colac and many overseas trips, he died in 1976.

Get the book

The book is now out of print. If you are in the Colac area, it can be borrowed from the Colac Community Library, 173 Queen Street, Colac. If you are in Melbourne, it can be read at the State Library of Victoria. An e-book version is available for download from Google Play.