Where are they now – Ross Lamplugh (SPC 1981-84)

August 6, 2018

The College recently reconnected with Ross Lamplugh (SPC 1981-84) who has enjoyed a varied career in the health sector and lives with his family on the picturesque north west coast of Tasmania. Ross reminisces about his boarding and sporting times as well as the help and support from Br Zoch and Br Miller.


Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?

Short answer is the beautiful town of Ulverstone on the north west coast of Tasmania, lovely wife and three beautiful girls. The longer answer is I studied four years of medicine at Melbourne Uni: quit and worked in a factory in Albury; finished Medicine; Internship and Basic Surgical Training in Hobart; quit again and set up a Turkish restaurant which I ran for three years; resumed medicine as a rural GP on Palm Island; did a 12-week crash course in Anaesthetics; went to Bourke as a GP Anaesthetist for nearly 10 years; set up Ochre Health with a colleague in 2002, which now runs over 30 medical centres and a recruitment business, so I have been doing progressively less clinical work.


What are your favourite memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?

I loved the sport – every night of the week something different. When the 1st XV had a home game on Saturday morning I sometimes ran out with the 2nd XVIII in the arvo as well. Saturday film nights were great – except the one about the band where we all went to sleep under our chairs! Greeny introducing our room to Neil Young’s Harvest! Blackjack after lights out. Youth Group with Loreto. Borrowing a couple of brother’s bikes and doing a lap of the lake – which may have had something to do with the youth group and Loreto girls!


Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?

Brothers Zoch and Miller in different ways. Zochy was my dorm master in Year 9 – my first year at St Patrick’s. I struggled with boarding at first and he always knew when I needed a pep up. When I was laying in bed a bit homesick, despite there being 30 of us, he’d somehow know and get me up and take me out to help water the ovals or do some other job around the school. Really made me feel less lost and helped enormously. I was feeling a bit down on a cadet camp in Year 11 as it was my birthday and no one knew. Somehow Zochy found out and produced an army ration biscuit cake at 11pm! Made the day.

Big M was just a king amongst men. I’ll never forget the assembly where the SRC presented him with a helmet to encourage the students to wear bike helmets (which were a new thing). The whole assembly gave him a huge standing ovation which just went on and on. He hadn’t said a word. I was lucky enough to have him for both maths and religion – in the sound proofed classroom! “You’re a mathematical moron son” will stick with me forever. Big M always went round the class asking each student to do the next line of the maths problem in turn. I was lucky enough to be okay at maths and delighted in trying to distract my mate Dicko as the questioning approached us. Dicko often copped the duster – or the abuse! Don’t know why but it was never offensive – we all respected him enormously and learned like never before.


How has your education shaped your professional life?

Quite simply I would never have got into medicine if I hadn’t gone to St Patrick’s. I hated study and struggled to sit still, but the set study time each night forced me to do my homework. I was lucky in that we had a very clever year and those at the top pulled the rest of us through. The teaching was fantastic and I always felt that I had no one to blame but myself if I didn’t succeed. Many of the non-curriculum based lessons I learned at St Patrick’s have been critical to the success of Ochre – which has kept me fed for 15 years!


How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?

St Patrick’s taught me how to get along with people, respect, generosity, loyalty, the importance of mateship – and a hundred other lessons that have helped shape who I am. I’m not saying all of my good stuff came from St Patrick’s, but St Patrick’s certainly made me a lot better than I was. Oh and one of my daughters likes Neil Young now too!


If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?

Don’t get too fixated on one path in life. Peer through every half open door you find and whenever it feels right wander through without giving it too much thought.- You’ll actually go further than if you waste time at every door wondering if the path beyond it is the exactly right path to be on. And you’ll have more fun.