A WIMMERA doctor has become a life member of the Australian Medical Association after five decades of practice.
General practitioner Lindsay Swalwell, of Dunmunkle Health Services' Rupanyup campus, received his life membership in late December.
Doctors who are members for 50 consecutive years receive the honour.
Dr Swalwell joined the medical association after he graduated from the University of Melbourne.
"I was surprised," he said.
"I did not expect to still be working 50 years after graduation.
"I became a doctor because I always had an interest in health matters and the opportunity to make a difference in a positive way.
"I have mostly worked in regional areas, except for a short period in Melbourne.
"I like the more relaxed atmosphere in the country: friendly faces, wide open spaces - all that sort of thing."
Melbourne-born Dr Swalwell attended primary school at Dimboola from 1945 to 1948.
His work eventually took him back to the Wimmera where he is in his third term as a Rupanyup doctor.
Dr Swalwell started his current term in December 2000.
He also worked at Rupanyup in 1978, and then from 1982 to 1987.
Dr Swalwell then worked at Rainbow and Jeparit from 1987 to 1994.
Rupanyup is where he has practised medicine the longest.
"I would not have been able to do it all without the help and support of my wife Ailsa," Dr Swalwell said.
"She has played a supportive role as wife and mother, looking after our children.
"Ailsa also worked as receptionist for me at different places."
Dr Swalwell said he was unsure when he would retire.
"I'm thinking about retirement," he said.
"We have not decided definitely where we will be living once we retire.
"I just like the Wimmera."