Friday, 30 September 2022

It is my great pleasure to join you to officially open the new P. R. Begg museum.

In doing so we celebrate the outstanding work of Dr Percy Raymond Begg and acknowledge his world-renowned research and innovative clinical techniques.

I am also delighted to bring a Vice Regal connection to today’s ceremony.

At Government House I can look out over the front gardens and see Shell House where Dr Begg practiced.

As well, plaques of prominent South Australians line the North Terrace boulevard and Dr Begg’s plaque is near the statue of former Governor Dame Roma Mitchell opposite Shell House.

I often walk past.

I need not mention to an audience such as this, that South Australia has a long tradition of medical firsts.

Indeed, Dr Begg himself set many firsts.

Dr Begg’s work revolutionized orthodontic treatment and earned him respect, gratitude and many awards over his 55-year career.

He opened the first orthodontic practice in Adelaide and joined the University of Adelaide as the first lecturer in orthodontics.

He was prodigious in his contributions.

Despite being the only orthodontist in Adelaide for nearly 30 years, he ran a very busy practice, taught orthodontics, conducted research for his Doctor of Dental Science degree and also progressively developed what came to be known as the light wire technique or Begg technique.

He was generous in sharing his knowledge. His research and clinical methods when published in the mid 1950’s ensured that the world’s focus in the field was on Dr Begg and Adelaide.

In changing the practice of orthodontics he was a catalyst for improvements that benefit the public today - not only through the role that orthodontics plays in keeping teeth and jaws healthy, but in the way it can boost self-esteem because of the value that society rightly or wrongly places on facial appearance.

This museum has been re-created and re-imagined from the earlier Begg museum which was established in 1986 as part of SA’s sesqui-centenary celebrations.

The earlier museum was decommissioned when the Adelaide Dental Hospital was demolished as part of the Lot 14 development.

I am sure I speak for all when I congratulate the Australasian Begg Society of Orthodontists and the South Australian branch for deciding that his legacy was too precious to let it disappear.

I admire your tenacity in achieving your vision.

Today’s museum is the result of many hours of painstaking voluntary work by many. Congratulations and thank you for your efforts and those who have financially supported the venture.

The result is a place where many dentists, orthodontists, dental students and members of the community can connect with one of our esteemed pioneers in the field.

I look forward to its further development both physically here and on the web.

It gives me great pleasure to declare the new P. R. Begg museum open.