Dr Truesdale said she remembered Mrs Dibbs quietly working away when she was a young registrar. Now, returning to the RMH Emergency as its Director, she was delighted Mrs Dibbs was still there.
Melbourne Health Chief Executive, Linda Sorrell, and Executive Director of Nursing, Assoc Prof Denise Heinjus, also congratulated Mrs Dibbs on reaching the milestone and thanked her for her outstanding contribution to RMH.
Mrs Dibbs first arrived at RMH in 1979 when a friend heard on the radio that the hospital was looking for volunteers. Her friend gave it a go and after her first day encouraged Mrs Dibbs to join her. The next day Mrs Dibbs went to the Royal Melbourne - and so began her long association with the hospital.
She started in the medical records office, sorting the patient cards, staying back until midnight on one occasion. Five years later, the then director of Emergency Services, Dr Anne D’Arcy, asked for her help. She needed someone to compile statistics on waiting times in the Emergency Department. As there was no space for an office, Mrs Dibbs kept track of these hand-written statistics from the trolley bay, a role she continued until the introduction of computers.
Mrs Dibbs, who turned 92 in October last year, has no plans to ‘retire’ and said she will keep her weekly visits to the Emergency Department for as long as she is able. “It keeps my brain ticking over,” she said.
When she isn’t at the hospital, she likes to tend to her large garden overlooking Moonee Valley Racecourse. She grows vegetables, berries and has several fruit trees, which her eldest grandson helps her look after. “It keeps me busy,” she said. She has two children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren and every Thursday night her family gathers for dinner.