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Bertel Sunstrup 24.1.1931 / 22.4.2017

OBITUARY - Bertel Sunstrup   24.1.1931 / 22.4.2017

05 May 2017


Bertel Sunstrup   24.1.1931 / 22.4.2017

On the 24th of January 1931, Bert was born in Wondai Queensland. His early days were spent in Gympie.

He went to ‘Shore’ Grammar School in Sydney and graduated MBBS at Sydney University. He did his residency in Launceston and Hobart Hospital before joining Dr Gunson at the Northern Suburbs Medical Clinic in 1958. During this time he (like many GPs) also gave the anaesthetics for the surgeons in both the private and public hospitals. Bert then accepted the Registrar job for the Launceston branch of the Peter Mac Callum Radiotherapy Unit working with Dr Harry Holden.

After a few years he went to England and obtained his ‘Radiotherapy/Oncology’ qualification. Bert returned to the Launceston Hospital to work with Dr Holden and then took over the Radiotherapy/Oncology unit when Dr Holden retired. In 1986 the unit name was changed to the Holman Clinic after its founder in 1928-32.

In his profession Bert witnessed a lot of pain, despair and suffering on a daily basis. He was a dedicated and inspirational clinician who always listened with compassion to his patients being mindful of their difficulties especially in coping with everyday challenges with cancer.

In the 1990s Bert “fought Tooth and Nail” to stop the bureaucrats from transferring the Radiotherapy/Oncology Unit to Hobart. He was steadfastly determined and presented irrefutable arguments that we must continue to treat the patients with all forms of cancers in the North of Tasmania. Were it not for him there would be no clinic in the North. Thankfully the Government agreed to keep the Holman Clinic at the Launceston General Hospital

In 1983 Bert purchased a farm in Pipers Brook and started a vineyard with the help of his wife Anne, her sister Jill and son Christopher. His wine ‘Dalrymple’ soon became well received and they won many medals at the wine shows.

Bert’s other significant interest was skiing. When he returned to Tasmania he married Anne, a registered nurse, had three children. They built their own shack in the Ben Lomond Ski Village. He was a wonderfully entertaining, witty and generous man who had some great parties in their shack. Bert and Anne soon joined the Ben Lomond Ski Patrol and he was promoted from Patrol Doctor to President and eventually to Life Member. Once again it was his infectious energy and enthusiasm that encouraged many to join the patrol and keep the skiers safe and, if injured, to provide them with the correct treatment before they left the mountain.

I loved talking with Bert we shared the same values and had similar aspirations and concerns. He was better informed than I in history and would constantly come up with some interesting trivia.

All past, present and future patients in the North of Tasmania and in particular the Launceston General Hospital are indebted to this friendly, unassuming and dedicated man.

I am certain that his children; Katrina, Ingrid and Christopher as well as his medical colleagues will keep his spirit and legacy alive.

Professor Berni Einoder   A.M.
Director of Surgery at LGH 1984 to 2014

Published: 05 May 2017