Bela (Béla) Gosztola (part 11)
|First name||Bela (Béla)|
|Last name||Gosztola (part 11)|
|Country of Origin||SOPRON, HUNGARY (Austro-Hungarian Empire)|
|Date of Birth||4/17/2009|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1949|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Dr. Bela Gosztola (1909-1988)
Hungarian Army medical officer, public service medical practitioner & surgeon, District Medical Officer in Australian administered Territory of Papua-New Guinea.
The doctor quickly earned the respect and trust of the region\’s mainly tribal people whilst he appreciated their customs and lifestyle in close communion with the environment. Acute need for medical service coupled with his vocational calling, saw him serving in Manus Island, Lerengau, The Trobriands, Sakari and many years in Kandria of the Solomon Islands where a large district hospital had been built.
Despite endemic shortages and difficulties, at times as acting chief surgeon, he performed onerous surgeries of all kinds and even sat through nights with the patient when he deemed his presence necessary. Béla had at his disposal at all times, a Land Rover and a motorboat with native drivers, a row boat and carriers as needed depending on the nature of calls for medical help from villages. Some of them remote and scattered far and wide in a rugged, volcanic landscape. Wearing his District Medical Officer’s hat, in khaki tropical outfit and with enclosed sandals, Béla would then set off with his helpers frequently on foot to trail blaze through endless bogs or crossing wild rivers balancing on wobbly single rope foot bridge or traversing long craggy terrain to deliver urgently needed, God-sent help.
His professional station required an ability to cope with physical endurance demands but Béla had the right predisposition and thus was well fitted to the job. When passing through religious mission areas he would be treated as a most welcomed guest, accommodated like a prince, with evenings spent on discussing issues of the day in bonhomie, not forgetting to indulge in humour, before a retreat under mosquito netting for rest and sleep.
His isolation from the world at large was occasionally broken by visiting field study researchers, new arrival appointee officers to whom he always extended a warm welcome, hospitality and guidance.
When stationed in Manus Island he met and became part of the close circle of friends of the world famous anthropologist Margaret Meade. M.M. and her entourage did fall into difficulties on a few occasions, seeking Béla’s help, medical or otherwise, that he met with his customary generosity and for which he received her written thanks of gratitude and acknowledgements. The Nippon Television Network of Japan also thanked him in a similar letter for his generosity in accommodating their visiting team and for his help and great contribution in the making of the tv report called ‘Bougainville Today’ which introduced to the public Béla’s work, family life and Bougainville Island.
Dr. Gosztola was highly regarded by the departments which he dealt with in the Territorial Administration of that exotic country. In 1968, the Papua-New Guinea Medical Association and the registration board recognized his Hungarian medical qualifications. He ended his career in 1972 to retire after fifteen years of selfless public service.
Moving to Adelaide, he enjoyed his golden years in Adelaide among family and fellow countrymen until his passing away in 1988.
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