THE Korean battlefield and the Sydney Cricket Ground in the dirtiest grand final in rugby league history are the last places one would expect to find a top gynaecologist.
But such diversity was the story of the life lived by Dr Robert Harvey Higham who died, aged 93, a week ago last Sunday.
In 1971, Manly Mayor Jean Hay phoned her brother - then Sea Eagles boss Ken Arthurson - to say she had met a doctor who had an interest in the Sea Eagles.
“He’s a gynaecologist,” she said.
“No problems,” replied Arthurson. “He should be right at home as we are playing like a team of sheilas.”
Seven years later, Manly had won four premierships in the greatest run in the club’s history.
Above: Dr Robert Higham (left) treats Sea Eagle tough man Terry Randall on the field.
Dr Higham was on the sideline for every game and every Monday in winter his Manly practice was full of burly injured footballers and pregnant women.
At his emotional and moving farewell service a week ago it was revealed why he was so good with treating the injured on the run.
Stories unfolded of his time as a volunteer medical officer for the Australian military in the Korean conflict in 1953-54.
Stories of courage under fire when he raced through minefields to carry wounded soldiers back to safety.
He was so respected in his regiment, he was nicknamed “Digger”.
His sporting achievements at Sydney Boys High and Sydney University included him winning the 100-yard sprint for six years in a row. A member of Manly Golf Club for 58 years and Elanora Country Club for 24 years, the old timers at both clubs speak of how long off the tee the doctor was.
At Manly Golf Club he has the distinction of having driven five of the par four holes with his driver - the first, fourth 11th, 12th and 17th - a feat most members could only ever dream of.
At age 90 Dr Higham played the tough 18th par four at Elanora Country Club on his birthday and with the fairways lined with members managed a bogey five in tough conditions.
People from all walks of life attended Dr Higham’s funeral service and it was a beautiful celebration of this northern beaches legend.
The Sea Eagles wore black arm bands when they played last Friday night in recognition of the doctor who became a life member of the club because of his amazing service.
The side toughed it out in a real battle against the Dragons and “Digger” would have been proud.