Jennie’s Story

Posted on 23rd February 2016


Maybe no surprise in it that for a young Briton, criss-crossing Queensland’s Southern and Central West brought on a hankering for the familiarity of city-scapes, especially their tall buildings.

That’s how it was for bubbly 23-year-old Jennie Leggat on her furthest venture from her home in the city of Reading in Berkshire, southern England.

Surprised and delighted is the way Jennie describes how she felt when Heart of Australia founder, Dr Rolf Gomes, responded to her contact with an immediate invitation to spend her university course elective experience placement by, of all possibilities … touring bush Queensland as one of the onboard staff of Heart of Australia’s mobile cardiology clinic.

Culture shock is just one way to put it as she considers the question: how did you find it on day one on The Big Heart Truck – after 24 hours airborne to reach Australia?

The way Jennie responds covers quite some ground, from her amazement at the masses of cricket insects swarming as she jogged in the evening at Hughenden, to a sense of disbelief at “how far everything is”, one mobile clinic visit to another, and how “very lovely” were all the Heart of Australia patients she met along the way.

But for a self-assured young woman born in Scotland’s Glasgow who also has lived in renowned cities of Europe such as Milan, Madrid and The Hague, the most striking sensation from her 28 days on the road in Queensland was that hankering for “tall buildings … after travelling where it can feel as though there’s nothing out there”.

Jennie, who says she “doesn’t want to be a doctor”, works full-time as a cardiology scientist in the 500-bed Royal Berkshire Hospital as she studies to add a Masters from Newcastle University to her Bachelor degree – all focused on cardiac clinical services.

High on her list of memories of her time as part of Heart of Australia is how the patients she met are, as Jennie puts it, “so, so grateful” for the mobile clinic visits. – interview Peter MacDonald

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