The passion for helping bring new life into the world has never waned for Warrnambool obstetrician/gynaecologist Chris Beaton.
Dr Beaton signed off for the final time after 37 years at Warrnambool's South West Healthcare on Wednesday, doing what he does best, delivering babies.
"It is still fascinating to watch a baby delivering from a watery environment and immediately adapt to air without much help," Dr Beaton said.
Cavendish parents Jodie and James Young had the honour of being the parents of the last baby delivered by the skilled hands of Dr Beaton, when they welcomed their baby girl into the world via a C-section on Wednesday.
An excited Ms Young was one of many patients and colleagues to pay tribute to Dr Beaton on his retirement.
"You know you're in good hands after such a long time doing the job," Ms Young said of Dr Beaton.
"Chris delivered both our second and now our third children."
While Dr Beaton has ushered many lives into their home town of Warrnambool, his own story began on the other side of the world.
Dr Beaton was born in Yorkshire, England. His childhood was spent in a rural part of the famed county, with his father a consulting physician.
Dr Beaton said his father's career may have provided some inspiration but the main reason for his own foray into medicine was likely more simple.
"It was more a lack of imagination really," Dr Beaton joked.
Whatever the reason, Dr Beaton's talent in the field of medicine found its way to the other side of the world when he and wife Margaret emigrated to Australia in 1978.
It was a lack of opportunity and disillusionment with where his home country was headed that was behind the move.
"England was a mess, there was rubbish on the streets, the miner's strike was on and there was a bottleneck in the line to get work in the health industry," he said.
"Margaret was a language teacher, German and Russian, and opportunities were limited in her work as well.
"Add all of this to the fact we both wanted to travel so we emigrated to Queensland."
The young couple worked their way through their new country with an opportunity to start a practice in Warrnambool in partnership with Ian Pettigrew in 1985 turning out to be a perfect fit.
"For a long time I was on-call every second weekend, Ian was the same, so it was a big commitment," Dr Beaton said.
"But we had such a fantastic relationship and we provided so much support for each other."
Warrnambool was home for the Beatons and their three children with the lifestyle suiting the self-confessed "country bumpkin".
The town was perfect for the family's love of the outdoors and Dr Beaton's passion for fishing.
This work-life mix has Dr Beaton excited about his future.
"I will just keep doing all the things I love to do, except now I won't have to go to work as part of my days," he said.
"We'll probably do some more travel but not much will change."
That travel will include visiting their two grandchildren who live in Perth. As the Warrnambool community reflects on a job well done by Dr Beaton, his work colleagues are keen to highlight not just his capabilities, but his willingness to mentor.
South West Healthcare maternity nurse unit manager Janene Facey said she started working with Dr Beaton when she was a graduate nurse. "Chris has mentored many midwives and medical team members," Ms Facey said.
"It has never mattered if it was 3am or 3pm, he has always relished in sharing his knowledge and expertise.
"South West Healthcare and women of south-west Victoria have been fortunate to have had Chris a part of our obstetric team for the past 37 years.
"His kind nature and contributions will be sorely missed."
South West Healthcare head of obstetrics and gynaecology Dr Rosy Buchanan described Dr Beaton as a "fabulous colleague, mentor and inspiration".
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