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Order of Australia honour for RCS Adjunct A/Prof Dr Paul Mara

A long career of service to the Gundagai community and rural and remote areas has led to Dr Paul Mara being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Dr Mara - who is an Adjunct Associate Professor at UNSW Rural Clinical School's Wagga campus - and his wife Virginia, also a GP, have been practicing at Gundagai since 1982. 

He received the award for significant service to medicine, particularly through the recruitment and retention of medical practitioners in rural and remote areas. 

The husband and wife team met at university and after training at Canberra and in New Zealand, they moved to Gundagai.

Dr Mara said his goal in working in a country area was to care for people “from the cradle to the grave”. 

”Small country towns are extremely important in Australia’s economics and they’re under appreciated,” he said. 

“We’ve actually been able to make a difference and that was part of appeal of coming to Gundagai, being able to take on the extra responsibility of caring for patients rather than referring them to other doctors or specialists.” 

Dr Mara and his wife have maintained a 24-hour, seven day a week service in Gundagai.

“I think it’s much better for patients to have that availability and we now have another couple of doctors to help so in the last five years it has been a lot easier.”

The Maras raised their four children at Gundagai and have been involved in school and community organisations over the years.

“Being in a small country town you have to get involved in the community for the community to progress,” Dr Mara said.

“I think if you see that there’s issues you’ve just got to take the responsibly and work for the good of the town.”

Dr Mara founded the Rural and Remote Health Medical Infrastructure Trust, is a founding executive member of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and was president of RDAA from 2010 to 2012.

He was a co-founder of the Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) in 1987, served as secretary from 2006 to 2014 and 1987 to 1990 and president from 1990 to 1991.

He has been a member of the Australian Medical Association since 1985 and was the group’s inaugural director of general practice from 1990 to 1991.

This story is from the Land and was written b