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Elizabeth Green, Class of 1976, has worked as a Flying Doctor and Paediatrician, caring for over 40,000 children from the burbs to the bush. She continues to advocate for children as a Writer and the Author of ‘Parenting is Forever; a Paediatrician’s Tips for Parents, Teachers and Carers’.

Dr Elizabeth Green,
Class of 1976

There are two lines from the School Hymn I recall from my final assembly at Ivanhoe Girls' in 1976:

Give of our best, so when the gates swing wide,
And through the larger world our way we choose…

Somehow that raw version of me: seated in a church pew, camouflaged by brown and cream summer uniforms, knew that my life was about to change. I was excited, elated and a hundred per cent terrified. I had just turned 17. Six years later I would walk out another set of gates at The University of Melbourne with a medical degree but no concept of what it meant to be a doctor — the challenges and hard slog of caring for families with physical and mental ill health. Of having strangers trust you with their lives: with their children. A great privilege to have been gifted.

How I coped being a hospital Intern, Resident and Registrar Doctor; a rural and metropolitan General Practitioner in Victoria; a Flying Doctor in the goldfields, Central Deserts and Nullarbor of remote Western Australia; a parent; Perth-based Paediatrician and advocate for children and young people, and author of the book, ‘Parenting is Forever; a Paediatrician’s Tips for Parents, Teachers and Carers’, was passion, grit and a lathering of luck. A segue for a memoir…

For any person taking my place, 47 years later, questioning their life’s purpose and self-worth I say: ‘Stay curious, not about what your life has been or is, but what it could be.’.

You may feel that your life script has been written for you, but as I learned, you can change the plot. Not because you gain the highest scores or are the most likeable, but by working hard and selflessly to make a difference. And because someone believes in you and instils hope.

Good luck for the choices you make — some good, a few questionable, but all valid, and part of the flaws and strengths that will define who you become.