Eden mourns doctor lost in ski plunge

Graeme Nelson, pictured on a recent skiing trip to Kashmir, loved outdoor sports.
Graeme Nelson, pictured on a recent skiing trip to Kashmir, loved outdoor sports.

THE death of an extreme skier on Mount Feathertop has devastated his home town of Eden with patients and colleagues shocked to lose the doctor.

Dr Graeme Nelson’s wife and clinic co-founder, Dr Janice Nelson was at the couple’s Eden medical clinic on Wednesday afternoon when police contacted her with the shocking news.

She was with colleague and friend of nearly 20 years, Dr Michael Pentin, at the clinic when contacted about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

“We heard about it last night,” Dr Pentin said yesterday.

“We were just dumbfounded. “The clinic is a very morose place today, both the staff and the patients.”

Dr Nelson, who founded the clinic at Eden on the NSW south coast, died while downhill skiing with friends at Avalanche Gully.

He fell 700 metres down an icy slope about 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Police recovered his body later in the afternoon. Investigations continued yesterday.

Dr Pentin said his colleague loved his outdoor sport and was a keen surfer, bushwalker and skier.

“He liked cross-country skiing over the more remote areas of Australia and had skied in the Himalayas recently,” Dr Pentin said.

“Graeme was a very experienced skier, both alpine and cross-country skiing.

“He was also very keen on surfing — he was a very accomplished surfer — and bushwalking,” he said.

“He was doing what he loved doing, which is the only consoling thing.

“It’s a lesson to us all — to do things before it’s too late.

“He made the best of his time off. He always made the best of it,” Dr Pentin said.

Graeme and Janice Nelson moved to Eden in 1989 from Wonthaggi in Gippsland to establish the husband-and-wife practice which celebrated its 20th birthday in 2009.

The clinic is the only general practice in Eden and has played a key role in developing local aged care.

Patients were among those who paid tribute on the internet yesterday with his death described as a “tragic loss”