Active Labour: Memoirs of a Working-Class Doctor
By Percy Rogers
Nero (imprint of Schwartz Publishing)
ISBN: 978 1760640842, 214 pages, 2018
I haven’t seen much publicity for this humane and simply-told memoir but it deserves a wide readership. The working life of this particular general practitioner is exemplary. He is now into his nineties and although no longer practising as a doctor (after fifty-nine years of medical practise, he is now an advisor to international doctors working in Indigenous communities), this book shows that he still has plenty to contribute to society.
Percy Rogers was born in Perth and grew up in a working class family. His schooling was interrupted by his having to work to support the family. Nevertheless, Rogers entered the University of Western Australia to study science, with his fees and living allowance paid from a benevolent scheme of the then Chifley government (and he notes that this was stopped when Menzies attained government in 1949). He initially began studying education but changed to medicine as he felt that the education system was ‘not the basic agent of social change’. This was the first of six degrees that the author was to gain during his life.
The entire review can be read on Maggie Ball’s The Compulsive Reader.