The birth of the Bain Fallon Memorial Lectures

June 15, 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Bain Fallon Memorial Lectures (Bain Fallon), one of the AVA's flagship conferences.

Emerging from groundbreaking equine veterinary education events in Australia during the 1970s, the idea for Bain Fallon was conceived and championed by two consecutive serving Presidents of the Australian Equine Veterinarian Association (AEVA now EVA) - Geoff Hazard (1977) and Bill Howey (1978).

Geoff and Bill’s collaborative vision for Bain Fallon was to significantly advance the professional development of equine veterinarians in Australia and to establish through EVA an international network of experts and an annual forum through which knowledge and research could be shared.

Left: Murray Bain, Right: Peter Fallon

The lecture series was named in memory of two eminent equine veterinarians renowned for their professional excellence and mentorship, who had died in 1974 – Murray Bain, who was Bill Howey’s former employer, and Peter Fallon, who was an associate and former employer of Geoff Hazard.

Every year, a traditional homage to the two namesakes continues in the form of reprints of their obituaries in Bain Fallon conference proceedings.

Geoff, Bill and Audrey Best (EVA’s first administrative officer) set a date for 15–16 June 1978 and began fundraising for Bain Fallon. Two successful equine conferences were held, the first, in Sydney, featured equine specialists Professor David Hutchins, Reuben Rose, Phil Knight and Bill Howey, and the second event (March 1977) featured Percy Sykes, Professor Bill Pickett (Colorado State University, USA), Professor Cliff Irvine (NZ), Margaret Evans (NZ), Bill Stewart and again, Bill Howey.

In late 1977, John Morgan, an associate of Bill Howey’s, met with Leo Jeffcott of the Animal Health Equine Research Station in Newmarket, UK. In Leo Jeffcott’s words “John asked me for a list of lectures that I could give to the AEVA, and I came up with 21 topics thinking that they would choose 6. It never occurred to me they would ask me to do the lot. However, it was a great challenge to present 21 lectures to such an enthusiastic and attentive audience. I finally lost my voice after the discussion of the last lecture. It was my family's first visit to Oz, and the greatest conference I have ever been to. Despite the obstructive columns, the Wentworth Hotel was a great venue and we had no problems with slide projection – I have never shown so many slides in my life. The event organisation from AEVA and Audrey Best was outstanding. I still have a copy of the three booklets given to delegates as proceedings.”

It is difficult to calculate the exponential opportunities that can be created from knowledge sharing and generous mentoring. In writing this article, it is clear that Murray Bain’s and Peter Fallon’s dedication to professional excellence, and their approach to collegiality was amplified, 4 years after their deaths, by an internationally credentialed conference, which today brings together over 200 delegates and 50 trade exhibitors every year.

In 2018, the Bain Fallon Memorial  Lectures will be held 15-19 July in Sydney, at the newly-refurbished Hyatt Regency, Darling Harbour. It will offer concurrent streams of practical clinical sessions, world-class lectures, a program of popular social events and a vibrant trade show. For more information regarding the 2018 event, please contact

This article was written with the assistance of Dr Bill Howey and Professor Emeritus, Leo Jeffcott of Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney. My thanks to both for their time and effort in contributing to and fact-checking this article.

Gemma Nardone
Communications Coordinator

This article appeared in the Australian Veterinary Journal: Aust Vet J 2018;96(3):N17


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