SMH obituary


Kind soul put ideas into practice

July 23, 2011
Jeremy Bunker
Style, charm, wit, grace … Jeremy Bunker influenced people for the better.

Dr Jeremy Bunker once said: ”The key to success is to have a genuine liking of people – and by that I mean taking people as they are, without being too judgmental. That’s really hard and I was very judgmental in my early career at the practice. I think if you realise how interesting people are and how diverse their life experiences are, it makes it much easier to understand why people are the way they are at particular moments in time. Of course, as well as learning to tolerate others, you learn to tolerate yourself, too.”

Bunker, who died of cancer, was born in Swindon, England, on August 10, 1957, one of four children of Raymond and Hazel Bunker. The family came to Australia when Jeremy was two and he lived the rest of his life in his beloved Sydney. He graduated from Epping Boys High School in 1975, then entered the Conservatorium of Music but decided his real interests were elsewhere and, after taking a bridging course, entered the medicine program at the University of NSW.

He graduated in 1983 with first-class honours, a university medal and three prizes. Specialisation was tempting. But everything was interesting and specialisation too narrow. In 1985, he set up a practice in Ultimo with a colleague and friend, Kathleen Burns. The patients ranged from hypochondriac celebrities performing at the nearby Entertainment Centre to retired wharfies. He was supported by his wife, Amanda Cross, whom he had married in 1984. They separated in 1995 and later divorced.

Increasingly, Bunker became involved in medical education. In 1992, he became a general supervisor for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and in 2003, became director of training at the then Sydney Institute for General Practice Education and Training (SIGPET), which combined with other training providers in 2009 and 2010 to become GP Synergy.

For more than a decade, Bunker, with his colleagues, developed programs of education and training for GPs at all levels, including a formal training program for supervisors and registrars. He participated in these programs himself and became a teacher and mentor for many in their careers as general practitioners.

He was well known and respected within the state and national health administrations for his passionate and balanced advocacy for general practitioners.

Bunker also wrote and published. With others, he won the RACGP award for the best research article in 2010. He was recognised by the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service for his research and supervision of research.

His quote above resonates with the RACGP’s more formal motto, ”Cum scientia caritas”, which roughly translates as ”with the head and the heart”.

Bunker had style, charm, wit and grace. He influenced people for the better and for the right reasons – his passion, his dedication to doing professional work better, his love of ideas, music and travel. In all this creative and developmental work, he was supported by his partner, Max Mach, whom he met in 1999. Mach accompanied him to some workshops and looked after him, especially in his final illness.

Bunker is survived by Max, his children, Sophie, Tim and Amelia, parents Hazel and Raymond, sisters Kate and Sarah and countless friends.

Raymond Bunker

Note- here more for my record. I doubt this link to the SMH will last forever. I have cut out the paper version of this as well (old school!!) It’s weird seeing him called a ‘kind soul’, but he did have “style, charm, wit, grace …”



5 Responses to “SMH obituary”

  1. What a lovely lovely article – he obviously made such an impact on a lot of people, as well as his family.

  2. 2 bookgrrl

    A beautiful tribute.

  3. 3 patrice

    Its always the good that leave us..a beautiful tribute. PX

  4. 4 Elena

    I was suprised when I spotted it and smiled while I read it. Thinking of you.


  5. 5 Dianne Hill

    Hi Kate,
    I thought you might like to know that we used this quote of Jeremy’s (first para) as the opening and closing presentation slides at the GP Synergy staff workshop over the last two days. Our theme was communication and culture. Jeremy continues to inspire us with his beautiful words and writing and teach and guide us with his wisdom ….. He is still an integral part of the organization.
    Take care, Di

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