Dr Beet’s Fountain

Dr Beet's fountain

Dr. Ashley Beet was appointed medical officer to the Beaudesert Hospital in 1903, where he served almost continuously for 44 years. At that time the hospital had 8 patients with a table from matron’s room serving as an operating table.

Many babies, both Aboriginal and white, were named Ashley after him. 

At first he travelled to his patients on his “grey”, and station owners along the way often provided a fresh horse to rest his own for the return journey. As transport progressed, the doctor graduated to a pony trap, then motor-bike and sometimes a tramway tricycle when roads became too muddy. Finally, his mode of transport was the motor-car.

Stories still surface about the days when Dr Beet walked amongst us. With the right to private practice, he imported from England a lighted ‘DOCTOR’ sign for his home in Albert Street. Each evening flying-foxes prattled in the trees around his home. Deciding to shoo them, he reached for his rifle, took a pot shot and smashed his precious light. 

Upon Dr Beet’s retirement in 1947 the community gathered in the thousands to bid him farewell with a procession of floats, decorated cars, and the stirring music of the Town Band. The Aboriginal community presented him with a mulga wood boomerang, in the hope that, like the boomerang he would return. He did ten years later, spending his last few days as a patient in Beaudesert Hospital. 

A sculptured drinking fountain featuring two possums can be found in the gardens of the hospital. Talented sculptor, Leonard Shillam, was commissioned by Mrs Beet to create the drinking fountain, after the doctor in his final days watched the children walking home from school looking so hot and thirsty. 

Leonard Shillam and his wife Kathleen are well known in art circles for their Pelicans in the water mall at Queensland Art Gallery. The drinking fountain can be found today in the gardens of the hospital. 

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Small town newspaper Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady.