Remembering a patient who went his own way

EVERY now and then in general practice, one meets an extraordinary personality. Where I work in Kings Cross, larger-than-life characters regularly inhabit my waiting room. But over the past 10 years, one man in particular stood out from the crowd. 

I’m not sure how he came to me, but Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley was not easily forgotten. He was an American who lived on Crown land without a permit in Far North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands. He had squatted on approximately 200 acres many years ago.

His American wife Sheilah ran a gift shop, and he would turn up in Sydney regularly for gift fairs. Bear came from an establishment American family in Kentucky. His grandfather of the same name had been a member of the US senate.

Born Augustus Owsley Stanley III on 19 January  1935, he was expelled from Charlotte Hall Military College for bringing alcohol to the campus in the 1950s.