29 May Stanthorpe, Wine and Clinical Skills
The sun comes up; it’s a new day dawning. Together with six cars full of friends we set off to Stanthorpe for the Rural Clinical Skills Trip. There was no looking back- mainly because we couldn’t, as the car was packed to the brim with bags and excitement for the adventure ahead. The majestic mountains of the Great Dividing Range were cloaked in clouds; it was not long before we were surrounded by a flurry of fog and sprinkled with much needed rain in the Darling Downs area. The scenery was juxtaposed with a rustic rural playlist describing the dry, barren Australian landscapes which were barely visible.
We arrived at the beautiful red-bricked Stanthorpe Hospital. The stations were set, and we rotated between advanced life support, delivering babies, cannulation and suturing. It was a great opportunity to practice our clinical skills whether we were making our rural debut, were a little rusty or a well-seasoned rural generalist in the making. Running from station to station with a big smile and wagging tail was the friendly border collie, Cleo, who was a great team player and gave us moral support. We were then led the way through the maze of Stanthorpe Hospital to see the Emergency Department, Maternity suites, Operating Theatre, Helipad- the list goes on.
We hit the track on our way to Jilliby Farm with a fitting en-route stop at the vineyard and winery, Golden Grove Estate. The clouds had begun to clear, grape vines glistened with the rays of sunlight, and sweeping fields continued as far as the eye could see, if not further. We sipped in the sweet scenery of Stanthorpe as much as we did wine.
Jilliby Farm was perched on a gentle slope over the border of NSW near Tenterfield. We went for a sunset stroll to feed hay to the resident horses, the cows ran towards us like dogs to greet us as we entered their paddock and we walked the edge of the dam. Despite the cool, crisp air, we were warmly welcomed by the Halliday Family who kindly put on a lovely dinner. While at the Jilliby Woolshed, I learnt about the process of shearing sheep from the moment their hoofs enter the pen to the industrial equipment that is used to compress and compact the wool. Most interestingly, I learnt about the moisturising properties of the oils contained within the wool and how to differentiate between types of wool based on the fineness of the wool filaments.
We slept over in the Jilliby Woolshed which was a wholesome experience to share with a group of friends surrounded by wool. There was no need for an alarm clock as the rooster’s crow was heard by all. This was soon accompanied by the sheep in the pen next to where we were sleeping and the cows who joined in for a morning song. With a cup of tea in hand, a few friends and I headed for a walk in the sun to defrost which was a pleasant start to the day. We headed to Tobin’s winery for some more wine tasting, as you do in Stanthorpe, which was a wonderful experience. We went on a tour of the vineyard and learnt about the winemaking process. As a group, we continued onto Sutton’s Apple Orchard for lunch and tried their famous apple pie. At the core, the Rural Clinical Skills Trip was a fantastic hands-on experience and a great taste of rural life in Stanthorpe.