Vale Peter Garske

Well known NSW locum pharmacist Peter Garske recently passed away at the age of 88

Peter’s wife Jann, and Pharmacy Locum Co CEO Sue Muller have forwarded the following obituary telling of Peter’s life.

Peter was born in Gunnedah in 1931, and as a youth moved around the New England district, where his father was a primary school principal.

Peter attended Farrer Agricultural School in Tamworth as a boarder.

After school he decided to become a pharmacist instead of a farmer, and in the days of apprenticeship for pharmacy he was assigned to his Uncle Charlie’s pharmacy in Liverpool, while studying at Sydney University.

After graduation  Peter moved to Quirindi for a short time, before purchasing a small pharmacy at East Botany, in eastern Sydney.

Jann followed him as an apprentice in his uncle’s pharmacy and they were married after her graduation.

Drug Houses of Australia offered the couple a larger pharmacy, sight unseen, in an unnamed outer western suburb. This suburb turned out to be Blacktown, where they stayed for 24 years.

During that time the Graske’s purchased the property, renovated and extended twice, while also building a home and starting a family.

Jann says: “We were the first pharmacy to stock gifts, quality souvenirs, even had an agency for Wedgwood”.

Peter was heavily involved in community activities, being a member of service clubs Apex (National Secretary for 2 years) then Rotary. He also served for many years on Blacktown Hospital Board and Blacktown Chamber of Commerce.

Eventually, the local Council was determined to convert the main street of Blacktown into a mall, which was resisted for some time.

But when the change became imminent, the Graske’s sold, wanting to move closer to their yacht and do more sailing.

Jann says: “We sailed the East Coast, Lord Howe Island & joined friends with similar yachts to sail in the Philippines, Malaysia & Pacific Islands. That lead to our interest in cruise ship voyages.

We ticked off the bucket list, Panama & Suez Canals, Cape Horn Mediterranean NZ, Japan & two Pacific crossings”.

Between cruises, Peter was able to experience country locum work thanks to Sue Muller at Locumco which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Jann says: “The country pharmacies were always the busiest & brightest business in town. The staff was usually very helpful & knowledgable.

Emergency locum positions were interesting, with a phone call from Sue asking if Peter could be in some country town to open the pharmacy next morning. Essentials would be thrown into a bag and off we would drive into the night with instructions to find the motel or owner’s home with the key under the mat!

The most memorable locum job was to Honiara, Solomon Islands, thanks to Sue.

Many security checks were done before departure and for the high security compound where the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands ( RAMSI) was based as a peacekeeping operation after previous unrest.

Peter worked in an airconditioned shipping container dispensing medicines to soldiers from Australia, NZ & Pacific Islands.

A huge fleet of vehicles comprising fire engines, ambulances & transport vans were located in the compound. Many health professionals were on standby with a huge caravan containing an operating theatre & xray unit, mini hospital with a surgeon, dentist, GPs, paramedics & nurses.

A suspicion that there would be trouble at the Parliament House to depose the Prime Minister caused all ambulances & paramedics to be on duty that day with a helicopter hovering overhead all day. Destruction and serious upheaval had occurred when Chinatown and the best hotel were burnt down.

Everything at the compound was removable ready for the time when the lawlessness ceased.

Our favourite locum location was in the Hunter Valley where we had many return visits staying in the owner’s beautiful home minding their two poodles & on occasions their teenage family.

Many thanks to Sue & her staff for those amazing experiences”.

Peter passed away suddenly while the couple were recently touring in Morocco.


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