Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Dr Bernard Joseph Rooney (died 12 June 2016, aged 72)

Obituary provided by Danny Rooney (brother).

A life dedicated to helping others


Dr Bernard Rooney MB, BCH, BAO who died in Melbourne on 12th June, 2016 will be remembered by his many patients and friends in Australia and Northern Ireland, as a caring and dedicated doctor with a gentle manner, an open mind and deep empathy for the problems of others.


He was a doctor of the ‘old school’, one who visited in the home, tirelessly served the elderly and acted as a compassionate friend and counsellor to all.


Bernard was born in Belfast August, 1944. He attended Saint Gall’s De La Salle Primary School and later Saint Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School, Barrack Street. In his final year at St Mary’s in 1962 he was awarded a State Exhibition for excellence in Mathematics and Science and was accepted into Queen’s University to study medicine.


Following graduation as a doctor in 1968, he began his career in the Mater Hospital, Belfast, and later in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. His early professional life coincided with the turbulent period of The Troubles.


In 1977 Bernard and his first wife Patricia emigrated with their three young children to Australia. He worked as a doctor in Victoria where he devoted his professional life to the people of Traralgon.


Over thirty-nine years, as a founding member of Traralgon Medical Centre and later in his own solo practice, Bernard’s career embodied the best of general practice — sharp professional judgement broadly and deeply applied, a willingness to listen and reassure and above all, dedication to those he served.


He had a special affinity with the elderly and Traralgon’s nursing homes relied on him for regular and emergency care. This was a life of service which he loved, did it passionately and missed it fiercely once he became ill.


In 1992 he moved with his second wife, Jennifer, to Mount Martha, commuting back to his practice and patients in Traralgon. He loved the character and beauty of the Mornington Peninsula, its gentle and laid-back lifestyle reflecting his own personality.


Bernard dedicated much of his later working years to helping the drug addicted successfully complete the methadone programme. His humility and refusal to judge others was never more evident than in this work.


Away from work, Bernard loved to entertain and his hospitality and generosity were unsurpassed. Annual Christmas parties, complete with all the trimmings, including the appearance of Santa, were enjoyed and much anticipated by family and friends young and old.


Bernard became unwell in late February, 2016. After seeing his last patient for the day, he consulted his physician and was immediately admitted to hospital in Melbourne. Over the next three months he underwent a number of surgical procedures with his final surgery on June 2.


Bernard was a lover of photography, thoroughbred racing, (he was a successful owner of a number of race horses), political conversation, Australian wine, especially Shiraz and the board game Trivial Pursuit. He often remarked that he had just two enemies in life — the taxman and the TAB.


He was a loved son, husband, father, brother and grandfather. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, children Catherine, Brian and Claire, and stepchildren Andrew and Luke, brother Danny and sister Rosaleen and grandchildren Olivia, Tom, Sophie, Lucy, Ben, Alexander, Max, Ella, Kate, Georgia and Sasha.


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