Crafter Medical Centre has been in existence in one form or another for over 125 years at this site and was the first medical practice in the district. It was founded by Dr Arthur Henry Gault (1864-1917) who practised from his home “Ardmeen” at 146 Belair Road Hawthorn (currently the site of the award winning Lenzerheide Restaurant) in 1890.
Arthur emigrated to Australia in 1888 from Manchester, looking for a better climate as he was a chronic asthmatic. He was engaged to Mary Scott from Castlederg, County Tyrone in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and Mary followed soon after. They married in 1889 and built their home at Hawthorn, calling it Ardmeen from the name of her family home in Ireland. Dr Gault built a sanatorium at Belair in 1902 for sufferers of tuberculosis and called it Nunyara, an Aboriginal term meaning ‘place of healing’. Arthur and Mary had four children Ruth, Maisie, Freda and Arthur Kyle. All four were to take degrees at Adelaide University, Ruth and Kyle became Doctors of Medicine. Dr Arthur Gault succumbed to pneumonia and died in 1917 at the age of 53 at Ardmeen.
Arthur Kyle had joined the army in his second year of Medicine at Adelaide University. He was shot in the cheek at Gallipoli and would most certainly have died, had he not been discovered amongst the wounded by Professor Watson, then a Professor of Medicine at Adelaide University. He was nursed back to health in Australia and completed his medical degree. Kyle then set sail back to England intending to continue active service. When he arrived in England however, he was informed of his father’s death and decided to return to Adelaide to continue the family practice.
In 1950 Dr Ken Crafter joined Kyle Gault whose medical practice was now well established in the Mitcham area. Kyle Gault left the practice soon after and Dr Crafter continued to care for the Mitcham community, slowly enlarging the practice with the addition of new doctors. Dr Crafter was a past president of the Australian Medical Association and a visiting medical officer at the newly established Flinders University School of Medicine.
The new Medical Centre was built on the site of the old Gault tennis court and became known as the Sturt Clinic. Five other doctors joined the practice here with Dr Ken Crafter. They were Drs Clive Auricht, Dick Hodgson, Jim Evans, Val Nicholls and Andrew Ramsay.
This group of six doctors carried on until 1975 when the eventually disbanded and the building sold to make way for the new group of doctors in 1975. The new group changed the name of the clinic to The Crafter Medical Centre in honour of Dr Ken Crafter and his contribution to general practice. Drs Bill Chapman, Andrew Ramsay, Ross Williams and Maurice Dowell purchased the building, along with the two Drs. Luke who continue to practice in the back half of the building as dentists. Since that time, the practice has steadily grown. In 2009/2010 the doctors at Crafter Medical Centre took further space in the adjacent shops on Belair Road. This has allowed further expansion of the practice as a teaching and training practice for general practitioners and medical students from Flinders University, continuing the proud tradition that Dr Crafter established.
Find out more about Dr Arthur Gault and the history of the area at the Mitcham Council website.