There has been a veterinary presence in Kyabram as far back as 1949. Sam Green, an Irishman, who graduated from the Dublin University, started work as a vet not far from our own clinic here at the old butter factory just across the railway line. Sam stayed for two years and moved on to Melbourne, and John Crawford took over the veterinary work. John was literally run of his feet with work, and Ian Parsonson came from Albury in 1956 at a time of considerable flooding. About this time the practice was conducted from a disused farmhouse belonging to the Varcoes of Girgarre. Crawford soon moved to practice in South Gippsland and Ian Parsonson took over the practice.

Ian had a house built in Mellis St, near Murray Goulburn and he entered into his own independent private practice but was able to negotiate with the milk factory to facilitate direct veterinary payments from farmers milk cheques. He then was operating his practice from home in Mellis St. Ern Miles moved from being a government vet in Shepparton to Kyabram to join Ian, and they set up the practice in Church St, right where the Chinese Restaurant is today. 

On October 18, 1960, they employed a young vibrant 18 year old named Marlene Drayton as veterinary nurse/receptionist. Amazingly, Marlene is still at the clinic and is still as vibrant and hard working as ever. In October 2010 we celebrated in style her 50th anniversary at the Kyabram Veterinary Clinic. Ian Parsonson sold his share of the practice to Doug McAuliffe, who came from Nanago, in QLD, and the practice became Miles & McAuliffe. In 1972, after working as an assistant for 4 years, Grahame Sharples joined the partnership, and the practice became Miles, McAuliffe & Sharples, later becoming incorporated as the Kyabram Veterinary Clinic. Ern Miles sold his share of the practice to Rod Dyson around 1984, but continued to work as a vet. In 1990, Michael McAuliffe, Doug’s eldest son, came back from England where he had spent the last 3 years, and bought Doug’s part of the partnership. In 2001, Tim Humphris bought out Grahame Sharples share, and the practice was now Dyson, McAuliffe & Humphris. 

Julie Taylor paved the way for female vets in our practice, joining us in 1989. She has been followed by a host of fantastic female vets, and in fact the number of female vets at Melbourne University greatly out numbers their male counterparts now, wheras 40 years ago the profession was very much male dominated. 

Rod Dyson then left the practice to set up a consulting business, and Tim Humphris then followed his passion and bought a local dairy farm. This opened the door for Serena Moore and Andrew Perry to join the practice in 2009 as partners, hence giving the name McAuliffe, Moore & Perry trading as the Kyabram Veterinary Clinic as it is today. The area has changed significantly in the last 80 years. It has moved on from the 1920’s where there were only small Soldier Settlers blocks to today where there are 1000 cow feedlot dairies. 

Even in the 60’s there were orchards and small dairies with old fashioned and inefficient milking machines, Ridd cups, cream cans, separators and cream factories. There were plenty of dirt roads and old cars. The 3 miles to McEwen Rd from Girgarre was only sealed in the 70’s, and most of the road to Rushworth was dirt road. 

The dairy industry has flourished and then after 10 years of drought it regressed somewhat to today, where the number of dairy farms in the area has more than halved between 2006 to 2010. The practice itself has gone from being almost totally focussed on dairy cattle, to broadening its range to caring for all creatures great and small, especially our much loved pets. 

Veterinary drugs and equipment have advanced so much in the last 50 years, and with it our need for knowledge. I am sure the next 50 years will see as many major changes as the last 50.

Michael McAuliffe