BARRY Hoffensetz is finally trading his chair at the doctor's surgery for the bumpy seat of an old Massey-Ferguson - and he couldn't be happier.
After 45 years as a GP in Ipswich, Dr Hoffensetz put an end to his full-time professional career on June 30, with a view to spending more time with his wife Jan, his three children and his Purga vineyard.
One look at the 360-degree view from Dr Hoffensetz's ridge-top, 24-hectare patch between Ipswich and Harrisville, and you would rightly guess that he was a very committed man to have left his retirement until the age of 75.
"I got to know all my patients and we just became friends," Dr Hoffensetz said.
"After 45 years I've got an awful lot of friends."
Born in Ingham, Dr Hoffensetz attended school in Brisbane.
He developed an interest in medicine through his other passion, athletics.
While visiting Maryborough as a teenager, he met a GP who invited him to go and sit in on an autopsy.
The procedure may have shocked him a little, but the overwhelming response was one of intrigue.
"I remember watching it and thinking, 'oh hell, there's a heart, and there's a lung'," he said.
"In my time you didn't have to be really smart to become a doctor - you just had to have the desire."
The story of how Dr Hoffensetz came to settle in Ipswich is one that many will be able to relate to.
He was stationed at Amberley after joining the RAAF as a medic in about 1966.
"I remember the first time we drove through town, and I said to my wife, 'why would anyone want to move to Ipswich'," he said.
"Back then it was like a country town."
The people of Ipswich soon saw to it that Dr Hoffensetz became a permanent fixture.
He started at the old East St clinic and also worked at surgeries in Wharf St, the Westway shopping centre and Medicross before returning to the East Clinic in the twilight years.
East Clinic practice manager Selina Harding said Dr Hoffensetz was well-liked and respected, not only by patients, but by those who'd worked alongside him over the years.
"We were privileged to have him come to work here and bring all of his knowledge," she said.
While a spring spent tending to his vineyard is on the cards, Dr Hoffensetz is also planning some holidays - including a visit to his daughter in Dubai.
"I had a practice which was great - it was really an honour to serve my patients," he said.
"I well and truly miss going to talk to them every day - what I don't miss is the regimentation of having to be at work at 7.30am every day."
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