muirkirk in the hills of ayrshire - from the muirkirk enterprise group


Professor Campbell Murdoch

It's always good to hear from Muirkirk folk all over the world - even when they are giving us a ticking off for omitting them from the Muirkirk Who's Who!

The following very interesting e-mail was received from Professor Campbell Murdoch:-

24 May 2008 15:55

I was born at Woodend, Smallburn in 1942. My father was Joseph Murdoch who was then a teacher at Muirkirk JS School and later the Headmaster. I went to school in 1947 in Miss Rae's infant class and moved through Mrs Davidson's room . Other teachers I remember were Mrs Taylor and Mrs Mitchell. Then we went from Furnace Road to Main Street School and the only  teacher I can remember there was the glamourous  Annie Samson. Then back to Furnace Road for secondary -Alec Taylor, Nicki Bell, Jenny Shankland, probably many others.

Muirkirk was my world for the first 14 years of my life and the place seems from this distance to have been a paradise. We roamed around the place in perfect freedom-sledging in the winter in short trousers-I can still see my little blue legs! Swimming in the nick in the summer . Walking with my dog up Cairn Table . Playing end less games of football and cricket in the Victory Park.

We moved to Prestwick in 1956 and eventually I went to Glasgow University and Medical School. In 1983 I went to Dunedin as the first Professor of General Practice in New Zealand , to the United Arab Emirates from 1992-97, Malaysia 1997-98 and back to rural practice in New Zealand from 1999-2002. From 2002 until now I have been in Western Australia setting up the Rural Clinical School, first in Kalgoorlie, another mining town, and now in Bunbury.

I am proud to one of the "Muirkirk Professors" although I noticed when I visited the heritage site that I haven't been include in your list. [NOTE- apologies and ommission corrected - The Webmaster] I wriote in the BMJ when Professor Tom Symington died

Like Tom Symington, my father Joe Murdoch was the son of a miner, and he taught English in his early postgraduate years in Muirkirk. Like most Muirkirk people he was proud of what the villages of Muirkirk and Glenbuck had produced and Tom Symington, like Bill Shankly of Liverpool FC, was one of the stars. When I went to Medical School in Glasgow in 1960, I was told to look out for Tom "because I taught him English." The first time I heard Tom lecture, I went back and told the old man that he'd better stop boasting, because Tom's diction was not too hot! Of course he paid no attention to me and continued to boast of his link. As the obituary says, Tom was a remarkable man, but he never lost his interest in Muirkirk and through relatives in Troon I heard of his continuing interest in those who came out of it. Remarkably , for a small village, Muirkirk produced a fair few medical professors such as Tom, James Owen Drife of Leeds, the bank manager's son, Stuart Murray whose father Tom worked in the Store and myself.

It's good to see that Muirkirk is flourishing still!

Campbell Murdoch
Professor of Rural and Remote Medicine
Rural Clinical School of Western Australia
St John of God Medical Centre
Western Australia