Taffy Jones: ‘A Doctor’s Life and Times’

Taffy’s autobiography was launched at Trinity at a reception overflowing with friends and family last Thursday.

Legend is a word that is overused, overstated and far too often associated with abominable behaviour. True legends, however, are those whose collective stories assume a life of their own.

So it is with Trinity legend, Dr Michael ‘Taffy’ Jones AM PSM (TC 1957), whose stories have become known well beyond the man himself: stories from his time as a Trinity student, Senior Student, Captain of Boats, tutor, College Doctor, mentor, Acting Dean, Fellow and Governor. Taffy has had a life-long association with Trinity.

Fortunately those stories have been captured and relayed in his autobiography, A Doctor’s Life and Times, which was launched at Trinity last Thursday at a reception overflowing with Taffy’s friends and family.

‘Taffy is loved and respected by everyone,’ said ghostwriter, Suzy Freeman-Green, ‘because he loves and respects everyone’.

She admits, however, that when Taffy approached her to ghost write the autobiography of a retired doctor and medical administrator, ‘shivers ran down her spine’. However she very quickly found that his ‘anecdotes were hilarious’ whether they involved strippers in Deniliquin, doctors’ mishaps during surgery, asserting his ‘authority’ over the Trinity students or burning the College boat.

Kind, witty and ‘a champion of the underdog’, Taffy’s self-deprecation belies his wonderful achievements as a doctor and administrator. His contribution to the field of medicine has been widely recognised. He was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2000 for outstanding service through health care in Victoria.

He was the recipient of the 2005 AMA Victoria Gold Medal for his outstanding service to the medical profession in Victoria, and in particular his leadership and dedication to the VDHP.

In 2008, he was awarded an AM for his service to medicine, particularly in health services management, accreditation and standards of patient care, and in 2009 the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards honoured Taffy with their highest award ‘for outstanding achievement in the promotion of quality and safety in healthcare services’.

To quote Taffy, ‘the purpose of life is not to be happy but to matter – to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that we lived at all. This is what I have tried to do.’

If judged by his book, Taffy has succeeded.


31 Mar 2016
Category: People