About the Huon Valley
The Huon Valley is a vibrant, semi-rural community located 30 minutes south of Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart. It is Australia’s southernmost municipal area with a population of nearly 17,000 people.
The Valley’s 5,497 square kilometres are characterised by meandering waterways and forested hills. The region’s fertile landscape produces a dazzling array of quality foods that has helped Tasmania earn its reputation as a food lover’s paradise.
There are five main townships across the Valley including Dover, Geeveston, Franklin, Huonville and Cygnet, with many other smaller hamlets and an abundance of beautiful beaches which attract permanent and semi-permanent residents.
The Huon Valley is also a haven for yachting and boating enthusiasts with easy access to the Huon River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel. These waters offer world-class fishing, sailing, diving and rowing.
The Valley prides itself on its pristine environment, rich living history, strong maritime connections, temperate wilderness, unique accessible wildlife, world-renowned food and wine, seasonal climate variations and of course, its people. The gourmet food festival, Taste of the Huon, held each year in March, is a weekend-long celebration of the best produce the region has to offer.
The Huon Valley is home to a number of major industries such as aquaculture, agriculture and forestry, including businesses such as Tassal, Huon Aquaculture, Willie Smith’s Apples and Cider, Hansen Orchards and Glen Huon Dairy.
Education plays a key role across the Valley with ten schools ranging from Kinder to Grade 10, as well as a Trade Training Centre and a Child and Family Centre. A full list of schools is available on the Huon Valley Council website’s Education page.
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Medical Services in the Valley
The Huon Valley Council owns and operates the Geeveston and Dover Medical Centres. A number of years ago, the centres were facing closure due to the retirement of the sole General Practitioners, and as such were purchased by the Council to ensure the community could access medical services into the future.
There are a number of other private practices located in Huonville and Cygnet.
About the Geeveston Medical Centre
The Geeveston Medical Centre is located at 19 Arve Road, Geeveston, 50 minutes from Hobart. Geeveston is the gateway to the Hartz Mountains National Park and has historically been known as a timber town, with attractions such as the Tahune Airwalk, Geeveston Town Hall, and renowned sushi chef Masaki Saito. Geeveston has a population of more than 1300 people, a median age of 46 and a total of 355 families.
The local area includes a private and a public primary school, Early Learning Centre, and Child and Family Centre as well as a bank, pharmacy, library, hardware store, supermarket and cafés.
The Geeveston Medical Centre provides a general practice with Dr Angela Retchford, practice nurses, visiting allied health professionals, practice manager and medical reception staff. It is fully accredited, offering high-quality primary health care services to the rural community.
There is an after-hours service available through a cooperative with the Dover Medical Centre, supported by GP Assist.
About the Dover Medical Centre
The Dover Medical Centre is co-located with Huon Regional Care at 15 Chapman Avenue, Dover, 75 minutes from Hobart.
Dover is one of Tasmania’s most southern towns, sitting at the head of Esperance Bay and overlooking the small islands of Faith, Hope and Charity. It has attractive beaches and unspoilt scenery, while quaint cottages and English trees give the town an old-world charm. Dover is the entrance to the world-famous Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and other popular tourist attractions such as Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, and Cockle Creek.
It is also home to one of the largest Atlantic salmon fish farms in the southern hemisphere – Huon Aquaculture.
Dover has a population of more than 850 people with a median age of 54 and a total of 229 families. The local area includes a public school providing education from Kinder through to Year 12, a Child Care Centre as well as a bank, pharmacy, library, hardware store, supermarket and cafés.
The Dover Medical Centre provides a general practice with Dr Eve Merfield, Dr Patrick O’Sullivan and Dr Martes Alison, Practice Nurses and Medical Receptionists, as well as a visiting allied health professionals.
The Centre provides home visits to patients who live within a 10 kilometre radius of the Centre and have no transport or means of travelling to the Centre. Visits are undertaken of an evening unless the patient’s needs are such that a midday visit is required.
There is an after-hours service available through a cooperative with the Geeveston Medical Centre, supported by GP Assist.
In addition to the Medical Centre, local aged-care provider Huon Regional Care provides residential aged-care facilities for 16 residents, along with a palliative care unit and rural health beds. A 24-hour treatment room is also on site.
Appointments are available Monday to Friday at both practices with appointments available from 8.30am at Geeveston and 8.45am at Dover.
Working in a rural practice can be very rewarding and satisfying. Our General Practitioners understand the importance of training and supporting medical students. They provide the students with a real feel for working in a rural general practice. Both practices host 3rd, 5th and final year medical students from the University of Tasmania and John Flynn placements. The practices are also accredited for Registrar placements, working closely with General Practice Training Tasmania for the placement of GPT1, GPT2, and GPT3 Registrars.
The Geeveston and Dover Medical Centres provide mixed billings. Concession card holders and children under the age of 16 are bulk billed. The practices receive the Medicare rebate for bulk billing concession card holders.