From The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) ‘Our informant happened to be in Jericho when Dr Loubet and a very fine looking woman, who was introduced everywhere as Mrs Loubet, were going through to Blackall. He met them in a business place and the lady mentioned that they had been in New Guinea, where she said Dr Loubet had held the position of government medical officer.’



Dr and Mrs Loubet arrived in Blackall in late September 1916. The doctor was to serve as locum tenens for Dr McKillop. McKillop was away at the Ennogera army base assessing  A.I.F, recruits. He had a private practice in Blackall,  as well as dealing with patients at the local hospital.




Dr Loubet  took over  at the hospital and in addition was appointed government medical officer and visiting surgeon at Blackall gaol.

Shamrock Street Blackall where Dr Loubet worked at the local hospital in 1916,


The Loubets moved into Tattersall’s Hotel, on the main street.

Tattersall's Hotel in Blackall

An afternoon tea party was arranged to welcome the doctor’s wife. The local ladies were astonished when their glamorous guest of honour finished her cup of tea, produced a box of scented cigarettes, and lit up.

While the new doctor was out on his rounds the exotic Madame Loubet was holding court at the hotel.

There were many visitors to Tattersall’s Hotel, where the pair were living. In fact it is said there were too many Westerners paying attention to Madame for the doctor’s liking, and he showed symptoms of jealousy. On one occasion the boarders at Tatts. were awakened from their slumbers by the report of a revolver shot which. it transpired later, was fired by Loubet at milady. It was but a momentary sensation however, and both were as dumb as the proverbial oyster when questions were asked. (Western Champion, Oct. 20 1917)

If the medico and his ‘wife’ caused a stir, so did an appeal from Dr Lobet asking locals to supply him with 1oo frogs (the larger the better).  Any idea that the French doctor was missing a delicacy from his homeland was soon put to rest. The frogs were to be delivered to the hospital, not the kitchens at Tattersalls. His idea was to use the frog skin as grafts on the body of a badly burned  child. It wasn’t as crazy as it sounded, because the method had been used to treat the open wounds of soldiers at the front. It was not considered to be effective long term, but offered a temporary solution.

Loubet had told residents about his experience as an army surgeon during the early part of the war.  I wonder if he claimed first hand experience with the transplants?   It is more likely that he read about the procedure in an article  published   in the November 1916 edition of The British Medical Journal.

Royal Army Military doctor H.W.M. Kendall  described 14 cases of wounded soldiers being treated in the field;

The wound having been gently cleaned without antiseptics and as gently dried, the loose skin on the inner side of the frog’s thighs is carefully pinched up in a pair of dressing forceps. snipped off with scissors, spread out and applied by its under surface to the wound.’

In a report of the  Blackall Hospital published in The Capricornian on December 16 1916, Dr Loubet gave a run-down of patients treated the previous month. Forty three  had been admitted, two had died, and thirteen  remained as at December 1.


The only medical case of any concern during Loubet’s time in the town  occurred a week before Christmas 1916. Robert McMenemy was a young overseer at a remote station who had a terrible accident. He was trying to halt bolting horses when he fell over  the brake lever of the wagon. He had severe bruising, and possibly internal injuries. He was conveyed to Blackall hospital  by train.  As his condition worsened, Dr Loubet contemplated surgery, but for some reason this did not eventuate. McMenemy died the following day, aged 28. (In Loubet’s next practice it would  be reported that he tended to avoid complex surgery where possible. Many patients  afraid of  going under the knife were happy with this approach, but it did raise the suspicion that he lacked confidence.)

Meanwhile, Annabel Loubet had arrived in from England  with her infant daughter Yvonne, expecting her husband to the meet the ship.  When he failed to appear she made enquiries and was told of his misconduct.  She said he asked her to forgive him, but she had reached breaking point. After all the trouble she had endured over his false pretenses and fraud back in England she instead filed for divorce. Loubet did not contest the suit and was  represented by a solicitor only in relation to Annabel’s demand for alimony. This was granted (£2 per week) with court costs to be paid by the errant husband and father.

In February 1917 Dr Loubet  left outback Blackall and the state of Queensland. He  headed south to the Melbourne suburb of Footscray, and another locum appointment. Loubet  had given notice to Dr. McKillop as required in his contract, but ultimately he  departed so abruptly that the hospital was left   without a doctor.  Patients who had been operated on only the previous day were left in the lurch until arrangements were hastily made to bring in another locum.

C0nnie  Whitehouse accompanied  her ‘husband’ to Victoria, but she would soon be supplanted in Loubet’s affections.




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