History Matters || Early dental care in Glen Innes

DENTAL CARE: Edward Percy, left, Loo Loo Amesbury (dentist), James Healey (patient), Edward Amesbury Jr, circa 1906.
DENTAL CARE: Edward Percy, left, Loo Loo Amesbury (dentist), James Healey (patient), Edward Amesbury Jr, circa 1906.

A J Dodd who seems to be the town's first prominent dentist had been an Apothecary & Dispenser in the royal Navy on the warship Clio and advertised in the Examiner 17 July 1878 as a 'Pharmaceutical Chemist, Surgeon Dentist, Stationer etc, Seedsman etc., Agent for the Colonial Mutual. Life Assurance Society, Agent for Pottie's Highland Oil, and Horse and Cattle medicine; agent for Hill's Magic Vermin Killer. Also, for the Town and Country Journal, Sydney Mail and Magazines, copies of which can always be procured from the above.'

Indeed a man of many talents, as he also ran a circulating library. Our first resident lady dentist was Miss Loo Loo Amesbury daughter of Edward Percy Amesbury whose dental chambers were at one time in the Town Hall complex and later in Church Street.

He advertised in 1889 that he used gas and all the latest improvements in dentistry and that artificial teeth were his speciality ...'on vulcanite, gold, and coralite. Natural appearance. Fit and mastication assured. All work guaranteed.'

He had come here from New Zealand in 1892 and practiced as a 'resident dentist' here for 20 years.

Percy's four children, two boys and two girls, all followed him into the dental profession. Loo Loo poses here with a trifle apprehensive local luminary James Healey (known as the Father of the Parks) as her patient in the chair. Her father Edward Percy and brother Ted complete the well-staged scene.

Loo Loo was born in 1885 and at twelve won a skipping competition and her musical talents saw her singing in concerts, attending dances and balls and also playing the violin at them.

The first ad for her practicing as a dentist appears to be in 1906 when she would have been only 21. She married St George Richard Gore in 1910 and in the early 1950s still couldn't resist practicing her profession.

A man now in his late 70s once visited her in Goondiwindi as a small boy with his family and she, after asking him to show her which loose tooth he was wiggling, reached in and swiftly yanked it out, much to his chagrin!