Local Hero – Suellen Cook, Blayney
Suellen Cook is the Manager of the Blayney Meals on Wheels service and the Chair of the local Health Council. Suellen is the fifth generation and her children are the sixth generation in the region, and she couldn’t imagine a better place to live!
“My family came here around 1810. One side started in Bathurst and the other in the gold mines at Kings Plains. So I’m local, local, local, local!
I like the town because of the people in it. Mum and Dad still live here. I’ve just got so many great friends and I’ve got a good job. I think small communities are very passionate about each other, it’s not like a bunch of strangers – I suppose we’re family in a way.
In Blayney you’ve got Orange and Bathurst nearby, you’re three hours to Canberra, three hours to Sydney, and only two hours to Dubbo. We are very central to everything. We’ve got good transport, trains and buses.
We have the four seasons. Beautiful Springs, Summer and Autumn. And there is not as much pressure on the kids here. They don’t need to have the best of everything and I think the kids have more freedom here than in the cities.
We’ve got great schools. The Catholic school goes up to year six and the High school goes up to year twelve and we have buses to take kids to private schools in Orange and Bathurst.
The cost of the housing – well, you could build the most beautiful place here for something you couldn’t even dream about in Sydney! Blayney is amazing really – what’s not to like about it!?
My job is to look after people. We have to work together (as a region) because Blayney can’t support everything on its own, so to have all the services we need we have to draw them in from other places. The new HealthOne in Blayney is fantastic for that. We have all the specialists we need visiting regularly.
I would say to health professionals thinking about Blayney, you are not just coming to a community, you’re coming to a family. You will fit in and have the support from the people because we are very generous and very loyal to our own. We have everything! The community welcomes doctors with open arms. Absolutely. And their families. We love it. The doctors up here have fitted in very well.
Health workforce is a constant issue. Our ER at the Blayney hospital isn’t open at the moment. Emergency needs more than one doctor to run – we need about three.
We have a really good Health Council here. The Mayor is on it, I went to school with him, he’s a nice fellow. I suppose we’re a pretty pushy group – we fight for what we need!”