A benevolent landlord to many seniors on the Gold Coast, Dr John Knight (aka Dr James Wright) is in the line-up for Senior Australian of the Year.
A benevolent landlord to many seniors on the Gold Coast, Dr John Knight (aka Dr James Wright) is in the line-up for Senior Australian of the Year.

Celebrity doctor shows 'Wright' way; cuts rents for elderly

AUSTRALIA'S first celebrity doctor, Dr John Knight AM, has spent decades amassing a residential property portfolio that supports elderly Australians.

John, also known as Dr James Wright, answered the nation's medical queries in print, radio and as a regular guest on Midday with Ray Martin for 30 years.

He's in the running to be Senior Australian of the Year.

In 1973, John and his late wife Noreen established Medi-Aid Centre Foundation, a charity that provides accommodation for the elderly, particularly those who are frail, have no family support and no home.

Now at 89, John has battled through heartbreak, personal and financial loss and cancer, but he's kept buying property for Medi-Aid and now has almost 1000 investments - including hundreds of Surfers Paradise waterfront apartments - that are rented out for a meagre sum.

Dr Wright said the rising cost of living had made it increasingly difficult for people to survive on the aged pension.

"If we can make it affordable for them, they'll eat right, they'll get their right medication and look after themselves, and they can keep their independence and have a quality of life," he said.

While John could afford to live in luxury, he chooses to live in the same unrenovated home where he raised his four children and has lived for the past 60 years.

In Queensland, Medi-Aid accommodates about 200 elderly people in individual home units, mostly on the surf front overlooking the ocean, located in various high-rise blocks.

The majority of tenants have had an unfortunate background, or negative sudden life change (death of a partner, cancer, illness, old age, eviction from their home, or no home).

Dr Wright, probably Australia's best-known "media medic", is often called The Merry Medic because he dispenses medical advice and health tips in simple everyday language anybody can understand.

The Senior Australian of the Year will be announced on January 25.


EACH year our nation celebrates the achievement and contribution of eminent Australians through the Australian of the Year Awards by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all. They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia.

The awards honour an exceptional group of highly-respected Australians who ignite discussion and change on issues of national importance.

"Each year, the list of finalists offers an insight into our nation - the problems we seek to confront, the issues we want to highlight and the ideas we choose to pursue." Prime Minister, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

The Australian of the Year Awards provides all Australians with the opportunity to recognise someone who makes them proud in four categories:

Australian of the Year

Senior Australian of the Year (those aged 65 years or over)

Young Australian of the Year (ages 16 to 30)

Australia's Local Hero

The Awards operates at two levels - state/territory and national. State and territory selection committees select four finalists for each award category, with one of these finalists becoming the state/territory award recipient.

The prestigious year-round program culminates in the announcement of the national award recipients in Canberra on Australia Day Eve.

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards, read about the history of how recipients are chosen, or recent speeches from The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP.

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