When Nigerian-born doctor Sunday Adebiyi took up a posting at the small town of Dysart, southwest of Mackay, he had planned to stay for two years.
It's been 18 years and Dr Adebiyi is still there, serving the community as the town's only GP.
"It's been a rollercoaster ... Out of the 18-and-a-half years, I've only had a second doctor for four years," he said.
Some might have packed it in for a better resourced area, but the doctor is adamant there is a job to be done and he's not finished yet.
"It is the way you accept it and the way you deal with it. And the rewards [you get] from it," he said.
"What is the reward of me being in Dysart? I'm passionate about it. I love it. I want to develop it. I want to see the younger doctors coming around to stay in Dysart."
His service to general practice medicine has been so distinguished, he was recently awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Dr Sunday Adebiyi was among 51 Queenslanders awarded an OAM in the general division as part of the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
He started out in remote and isolated communities in South Africa before heading up the outpatient department at a 1000-bed provincial hospital.
His journey in Australia started in 2000 when he took up a posting at the Charters Towers Medical Centre.
Dr Adebiyi, who is a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, said that when he first arrived in rural Queensland, there was little support and guidance for foreign-trained doctors.
"I went to the medical centre in Townsville to work. They sent me to Charters Towers, gave me the MBS (Medicare benefits schedule) book and policy to follow, and then I started work the following day," he said.
"Then I started developing an interest: 'Why is it that there is no doctor in the rural area?'"
Dr Adebiyi remained at Charters Towers for three years before heading to Emerald, where his questioning of the state's rural healthcare continued.
"I contacted the CEO at Emerald: 'Why is it that there is no doctor in the Gemfields?'" he said.
"They said they will not recruit a doctor. Then I brought up the idea of a private practice in public services, which the Premier Peter Beattie accepted."
Dr Adebiyi opened the Gemfields Medical Centre in Emerald in 2003 and found a second doctor to join him.
Then, when a position at Dysart came up, he saw it as a challenge and accepted.
"It's a very big challenge. Most of the students that have passed through Dysart definitely know that it's a very big job to be in the rural area," he said.
Dr Adebiyi, who services a population of about 2500 to 3000, plus four mines with large workforces, said recruiting more staff had proved difficult.
"I've been trying to recruit a doctor for the past 10 years, which there has not been any, and trying to get a locum for the past three months to relieve me is very difficult.
"ACRRM, the Queensland government, the federal government, RACGP - we need to form a unified body to develop interest and doctors, and to support the rural regions."
Despite the struggles, Dr Adebiyi's passion for rural medicine and rural development has earned him several awards and the respect of the community.
"I enjoy it, and I have appreciation from the community, from the leaders of the communities, from the people that I deal with, from the mines," he said.
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