Paul Hedditch to retire from being Gloucester's dentist

After just over 40 years, Paul Hedditch is transitioning from dentist to patient. Photo Anne Keen
After just over 40 years, Paul Hedditch is transitioning from dentist to patient. Photo Anne Keen

When deciding what to do at university, a teenage Paul Hedditch was looking for a little bit of excitement.

"I put dentistry on the form because my brother, who was doing ag (agricultural) science at uni, said the dentistry students had all the fun," Paul laughed.

And now, after just over 41 years, Paul is retiring from being one of Gloucester's longest serving dentists.

He grew up in Wagga Wagga and in the early 70s, after students finished their high school certificate, they applied for a list of preferences of university courses. The outcome, for everyone was then published in the newspaper.

"When the paper came out I found out I had got into dentistry and I thought I'd give it a try for a while," he explained.

And he's glad he never left.

"It's been a good job; a good people job," he smiled.

It's the social aspect he'll miss the most when he finally gives up the profession for good at the end of November.

"I'll miss the daily interaction with my patients and my amazing staff," Paul said.

Except for working a year in Deniliquin, Paul has spent his entire career in Gloucester, buying the practice from Charles Penn in August 1978.

Gloucester taught me how to be a dentist.

Paul Hedditch

"I used to weekend up here while I was working at BHP in Newcastle and I had a lot of pleasant memories of the place," Paul smiled.

"So when I found out there was a practice for sale here, I thought it was a good choice."

Paul moved here with his future wife, Sue, whom he married on Australian Day the following year.

Together they became part of the Gloucester community, along with their four children, who all went to school here.

Being a part of such as small community is one of the things that kept Paul here.

One of his most cherished memories is not about his dental surgery, but about how the community supported him in his time of need.

"When I'd just turned 50, I got a crook back and when I went to the doctor, I found out I had a tumour on my kidney," he recalled.

"After having my kidney removed I was unable to work for three months."

"The way the community supported me; the way they all rallied around me.

"That's my fondest memory," he smiled.

Although Paul sold the practice about five years ago, he's continue for work while gradually reducing his time in the surgery.

Once he stops working completely, it will free up more time to spend on his property, travelling with his wife and hanging out with his four grandchildren.

Did you know?

When Paul first bought the practice it was located up a long flight of stairs above Sansom's Menswear on Church Street, where Gooch Agencies is currently located.

He eventually decided it was time to build a new, more modern practice where it's currently located on King Street, moving the business across in 1985.