Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Exiles > Exiles - Catherine Moore - Australia

Exiles - Catherine Moore - Australia

Former pupil Catherine Moore has fond memories of her time at Sullivan before emigrating to Australia where she finished her education and made her career as a GP, often practising in remote towns.
4 Mar 2023

Catherine attended both Sullivan Prep and the Senior School before leaving Northern Ireland for Adelaide, South Australia in 1973, aged 14. She would have been part of Class of 1977 has she completed Upper Sixth at Sullivan.

“To me at the age of 14 it was a big adventure. It has only been as an adult with children of my own that I realise the enormity of this decision for my parents.

My father’s business (in children’s clothing) like so many businesses in Belfast at the time was struggling financially at the height of the ‘Troubles’. My mother was a teacher with readily transferrable skills which I think influenced their decision to emigrate to Australia”.

Catherine and her family in 1973

By that stage Catherine had been at Sullivan for five years, starting in Prep 6.

“I will be forever grateful to the headmaster Mr ‘Freezer’ Frost for accepting me as a student to Sullivan at that time. He was tolerant of my many indiscretions that resulted in me frequently visiting his office but despite this, I remember him as believing in me and that I could do better if I applied myself. I was to remember this during the rest of my schooling in Australia”.

Catherine aged 10 in Prep 6 at Sullivan

“I went to Scotch College in Adelaide which was a private school with  a very relaxed attitude to teaching. My parents were horrified when I came home in the first week calling all the teachers (including the headmaster) by their first names”.

In 1977 Catherine was accepted to study Medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide where she received a very modern medical education, experiencing clinical practice from first year instead of fourth year as in most other medical schools. 

After six years of medical school and a few years in the hospital system, Catherine headed to Broken Hill, a frontier mining town in the far west of New South Wales, in the Australian outback. 

“I learnt to appreciate its remoteness and beautiful outback scenery as well as the difficulties of not having enough General Practitioners in town”.

Catherine met and married her  GP husband Donald there and the pair had two children, Sarah and Sean.

In 1995, the family moved to Esperance, a coastal town in Western Australia with a population then of 8000 people (see mapa photo below).

“There were no specialists in town which meant we had to manage both General Practice patients and hospital patients. We had to handle any emergency that came in, relying on each other’s skills and being aware of when to call for the Royal Flying Doctor Service to fly the patient to Perth which was some 700km away.

I enjoyed delivering babies for several years in Esperance and often thought I should have become a Paediatrician!”  

Catherine also worked for three years as the single Doctor for the small, remote, desert town of Norseman.

“At times it was daunting being the only Doctor for 200 kms but I enjoyed the camaraderie of the nursing staff and paramedics who all stepped up to help with difficult cases”.

Catherine now lives in Albany, another coastal town in Western Australia, some 500km west of Esperance. Still working full-time, she’s a Medical Advisor with Australia’s Public Service but with her children and two grandchildren living in Perth, she is looking forward to a time when she can visit more frequently.

Catherine was a keen musician at Sullivan and still enjoys musical interests.  

“I played the Oboe and was in the school orchestra. Unfortunately, my school in Australia was not very musical but I did return to the Oboe and learnt the Saxophone in my twenties, playing both instruments in the Broken Hill Orchestra. In Albany I belong to a choir and play Ukulele.”

Unfortunately the distance to Australia and a move at a time before the internet and social media means that Catherine found it difficult to keep in touch with old school friends.

“I did see Julie Brown, Ann Grieve and Elizabeth Strachan (surnames as I knew them by) in the early 1980s and was in touch with Marion Graham online in the 90’s but have lost touch since then.

I would love to hear from anyone that knew me from Sullivan. My school education was over three schools and I always tell people Sullivan was by far the best!”


Similar stories

Our latest Exile is Sharon Fitzsimmons (Class of 1977). Sharon's career in accountancy took her from Belfast to Miami, Cinncinati and New York before she settled in Washington D.C. More...

A chance meeting of two former Sullivan pupils took place recently on the other side of the world in Perth, Australia. More...

Are you a former Sullivan pupil now living and working abroad? More...

Malcolm 'Mac' Robertson (Class of 1967) enjoyed a long and distinguished career in aviation, spent largely in Australia.… More...

Our latest chat with an SUS 'exile' is Ian Fitzgerald, Class of 1986. Ian lives and works in Groningen in the Netherland… More...

This website is powered by