Letter to the Editor: A familiar name celebrates a milestone

I have read Jacob Malmö’s thoughts on our changing profession. I see an enormous change in both practice and people. Graduating in 1953, I spent several months learning the art of practice with Dick Boone on the southern edge of Sydney. I started practice later that same year at Bathurst. There were very few vets in the West. I remember the fanciful address of Bruce Portway’s surgery, The Pig and Whistle Hotel Broken Hill. All clients in those days were our friends. People had seen two World Wars and a devastating depression. Those times bred realism and not sentiment. The most loved family pet was, in times of crisis, just an animal and treated as such.

The farmer’s favourite horse was only worth the cost of its replacement and his dairy cow the same. These were the parameters that governed our practice. Practice in those days was a wonderful way of life, more so than a business.

For me the great change started in the late sixties. Practices were becoming businesses and family pets were akin to family members. There was even the mention of the word, litigation. You can imagine my horror when one of my excellent partners, probably correctly, suggested that a ‘hurry up’ letter should be sent to one of my good friends because his account was overdue. I knew that wool was soon to be sold.

These changes had to happen, but it was difficult for we who had known a less frantic world. At a Sydney Faculty Centenary Dinner I was told of aged dogs being given chemotheraphy – a long way from the days of my practice.

Now with my granddaughter starting vet science at Townsville my family will have had four generations in the profession.

Rowan Hickson
Bellingen, NSW

This article appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal


  1. Vallejos B. A familiar name celebrates a milestone. Aust. Vet J 2017; 95 (11) N19.

     Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  Contact us