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Meet Scott Mason – Orthopaedic Surgeon

How long have you lived in Ballarat?
I first came to Ballarat in 2010 where I spent 6 months working as an Orthopaedic registrar at the Ballarat Base Hospital during my training.

I returned in 2013 with my family to commence practice and work as a consultant Orthopaedic surgeon.

Tell us a bit about where you grew up and your career path.
I was born and raised in Townsville, North Queensland.
As you can imagine there is a big contrast with the climate in Ballarat! After spending time chasing a dream at Manchester City FC as a young lad, I returned home to finish school and went on to study Biomedical Science at James Cook University. I graduated with honours in 1996 and went into work as a research scientist for 4 years in the fields of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Biology at the University of Queensland.

After always being interested in a career in medicine and surgery, I moved to Melbourne and completed my medical degree with honours in 2004 at Monash University. I gained entry to the Orthopaedic training program in 2008 and commenced this in Sydney then completed my training in 2012 after transferring back to Victoria. I was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and then went onto complete further training in hip and knee replacement surgery.

When did you start to consider a move to Ballarat?
I first considered a move when I was here as an Orthopaedic registrar in 2010. My family and I really enjoyed my 6-month rotation here. We were really impressed with the city and how friendly the people were. Additionally, I also really enjoyed working with my colleagues and the staff at the hospital.

When I was finishing up my training I heard about an opportunity to set up in Ballarat, it sounded like an offer too good to pass up.

What factors influenced your move?
There were multiple reasons that influenced my move. Ballarat is a good place to raise a family with its high quality schools and friendly community.
My surgical colleagues and the hospital staff were also factors.
Ballarat has a laid back lifestyle which suited me coming from Townsville, close proximity to extended family and also very close to Melbourne for events and experiences. It seems like great place to settle and put down roots!

How did you set the wheels in motion?
I guess I discussed the prospect of returning to Ballarat at the completion of my training with some of my senior orthopaedic colleagues when I was here as a registrar. They seemed happy with me and quite receptive and supportive of the idea.

I kept in touch with them over the years and when I was informed of a potential opportunity to comeback and set up practice in Ballarat, I jumped at the chance.

What were your friends/colleagues/family reactions?
Some friends were a little surprised but overall people were very supportive. My family were hoping I would move back to Queensland and at times I do miss it. However at this point in time we are happy here and enjoying living, working and raising a family in Ballarat.

What have you discovered that is unique to Ballarat?
I wish I could say I discovered a giant gold nugget…but no…at least not yet!
What I like about Ballarat is the history, that is pretty unique I think.

What do you enjoy about living in Ballarat?
I love the great community feel and the friendly people. We have nice cafes and restaurants and the charm and quaintness of some of the surrounding towns.
Ballarat’s close proximity to Melbourne is a factor – an easy day trip with the kids. Also professionally, the hospitals and healthcare facilities, colleagues and nursing staff are all excellent to deal with on a day to day basis. The lake is a favourite of mine, especially fishing and kayaking in it with my son is a highlight.

The weather is the only thing that is a bit variable but having said that, I quite like the concept of having seasons as it is so different to the climate where I grew up. A beach would also have been nice…but I guess you can’t have it all!

What advice would give someone considering moving to a new town?
We have had lot of experience with this as we moved nearly every 6 months when I was on the training program. Sydney, Melbourne, Ballarat, Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta, so many places. At times it was a little unsettling, but overall it was a great experience.

As we moved a lot, I think one of the key things is to try and resume the “pursuit of happiness and contentment of life” as soon as you can. This is particularly important with a family where it’s important to be optimistic and really supportive of each other with respect to moving. You need to move forward and not live or pine for things in the past . Be open and adaptable to new things and to do your best to meet new people. Try and settle in quickly to work, school and normal routine life in general. Aim for a good work life balance – this is the biggest challenge for me.

Enjoy the positive aspects and benefits of what the new town has to offer,
getting involved in community and support local sporting bodies and recreational activities.