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80-year-old "retired" Grafton pharmacist's full career

SINCE graduating from Sydney University in 1955, Denis Green has had a full career of serving regional communities as a trusted pharmacist.

He apprenticed for three years at Soul Pattinson in Bankstown, spending the first year full-time in the pharmacy and going to Sydney University part time for the next two years. 

"It was the only uni in NSW that did pharmacy then," he said.

"You did lectures until lunch time and then you would hop on the train and race up to Bankstown for the afternoon and work there...six days a week, 48-hour-week in those days."

He finished his teaching at 19 but had to wait another two years before he could become a registered pharmacist at age 21.

He managed a pharmacy in Penrith from 1956-60 and his own pharmacy in Blacksland from 1960-70, another in Penrith from 1970-90 and another in Westmead from 1992, finally "retiring" in 2004 - but you can still receive a script from him today at Blooms the Chemist in Grafton Shopping World. 

"We used to make up our own pills and individual powders," he said.

"I'll never forget, every week I had to make up five gallons of senega ammonia, which is a cough mixture.

"Nowadays they buy it over the counter already pre-made." 

The 80-year-old has seen many changes through the years, but nothing has made his job more efficient than the introduction of computerised scripts. 

"A very very busy day was 80 scripts because everything was by hand," he said.

"Nowadays you can handle three or four hundred." 

He also admits that there's a lot of technical expertise coming from recent graduates but it's people skills that make a great pharmacist. 

"All the new pharmacists coming through have it over me when it comes to knowledge of a lot of things but I compete with them with...experience," he said. 

"They can't handle a difficult customer...they all duck for cover here and I cop them." 

Topics:  career grafton pharmacist pharmacy seniors news


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