A family portrait: Charles William Rohner (centre), with his wife on right. Top, William Ebalard, Charles Armin. Emmanuel lower right.
3.Opposition to small pox vaccination. This also caused some friction with authorities and his views were widely known. An article on small pox vaccination which appeared in The Hobart Mercury on 5 September 1881 mentioned that Dr Rohner of Victoria was “a most determined opponent”. Be this as it may, a month later Dr Rohner was shown in an unfavourable light by Sir Bryan O’Loughlin in the budget debate: “While it is necessary to be prepared for an outbreak of small pox, no possible good can come from raising false alarms. We have had several of these already. “Dr Rohner of Benalla, for example, reported two cases of supposed small pox, which proved, upon investigation, to be nothing of the kind. This misdirected zeal caused a good deal of alarm in the district and much personal inconvenience... In view of the needless trouble and alarm occasioned by the Benalla episode, Inspector Montfort has suggested to the Central Board of Health that Dr Rohner be requested to report in future to the local police any suspicious cases that may come under his notice...” (The Argus, 6 October 1881) What was Dr Rohner’s state of mind when he arrived in Hastings?
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Looking at the events that occurred after 1876 when he was given the public farewell following his first term in Chiltern, it would be reasonable to suggest that Dr Rohner’s life was unsettled; he had shifted his practice a number of times and his departure from Phillip Island had been unpleasant. Furthermore, the unexpected death of his eldest son undoubtedly took its toll. This tragedy was reported in the Euroa Advertiser on 17 May 1889: “We are sorry to chronicle the death of Mr Charles Rohner which took place at Shepparton on Sunday last, from typhoid fever. Mr Rohner, who was the son of Dr C W Rohner, for many years a resident of this town, was well known in Benalla, where his mother still resides. He was up at Benalla on Monday with the Shepparton Fire Brigade, taking part in the Fire Brigade Demonstration. The news of his death caused a widespread feeling of regret.” When did the doctor disappear? The Victorian Police Gazette of 15 January 1890 contained the following missing person notice: “Enquiry is requested for Charles Henry (sic) Rohner who is missing from his home, Hastings, since 9th instant. Description: Austrian, medical man, slightly foreign accent, 58 years of age, 6 feet 1 inch high, stout build, erect gait, dark hair turning grey, grey beard, whiskers and moustache, wore grey tweed sac-suit, brown tweed hat and lace-up boots. Well-known
Peninsula Essence March 2018