Bulli Medical Practice is one of the oldest medical practices in Australia and has been operating continuously from the same premises since 1895.
From the 1870s Bulli was serviced by doctors visiting from Wollongong until 1883, when Dr Thomas Sturt opened a practice. This was probably located in Wisteria Cottage, on the Princes Highway at the junction of Park Road. Dr Sturt retired in 1889 and his brother, Dr Clifton Sturt, took over.
In 1895, Dr Clifton Sturt (pictured) purchased the premises of the current Bulli Medical Practice and built a small medical practice alongside his own private residence. He died in 1901, and the practice was maintained by Dr James Thompson.
Dr Barton Dixon took over the practice in 1903 (pictured) and was instrumental in the development of Bulli District Hospital. Dr Dixon was a keen photographer and took many images of Bulli and Wollongong in the early 1900s.
In 1916, Dr James Macpherson took over, but sold it on to Dr Francis Crossle in 1922 who had migrated from Ireland. Dr Crossle (pictured) was a colourful character who did his rounds in horse and sulky until he bought a car. He caused a scandal when he published his novel “Dona Juana” in 1931 as it was considered risqué at the time. Some of his friends included D.H.Lawrence and Norman Lindsay who even made a bookplate for him in 1927. Dr Crossle donated money for the first surf boat for the Thirroul Surf Lifesaving Club and there is a ward in Bulli Hospital named in his honour. He was also awarded the Free French Forces war services medal for services to France during the Second World War.
Dr Bertram “Bertie” Cook (pictured) took over the practice in 1938 and also served as President of the NSW Branch of the British Medical Association. He was superseded by his brother, an ex-army officer, Dr “Captain” Cook.
In 1958, another ex-army serviceman joined the practice. Dr William Feneley (pictured) was extremely popular throughout the area, and was active at Bulli and Coledale Hospitals.
Bill’s commitment to medical services and education earned him an Order of Australia in 2000. He also received the ANZAC Medal for services to charitable and community organisations in 2001.
Dr Julie Blaze joined the practice in 1997 and, after Bill’s retirement, was active in computerising the practice and gaining accreditation with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Dr Jeffrey Hall joined as a registrar in 1999, and became an associate in 2001. By that stage, the practice located at 72 Park Road had outgrown its premises.
The neighbouring property at 74 Park Road was purchased and renovated in 2004. Patient demand continued to grow, and more doctors joined the practice along with more registrars, medical students, nursing and administrative staff. Bulli Medical Practice was successful in obtaining a Federal Government Primary Care Infrastructure Grant in 2011 to further expand and modernise the facility. The upgrade was completed in June 2012.