Veterinary scene Down Under: Aboriginal artwork at veterinary hospital, plus veterinarians celebrated with honors and more

dvm360dvm360 August 2023
Volume 54
Issue 8
Pages: 80

Unveiling of an Aboriginal artwork welcoming visitors to a university veterinary school hospital; and 4 veterinarians recognized in the King’s Birthday Honors

Kaya artwork welcomes veterinary students, staff, and clients

An Aboriginal artwork commissioned to welcome veterinary students, staff, and clients to Murdoch University School of Veterinary Medicine (MUSVM) and The Animal Hospital Murdoch University (TAHMU), has been unveiled with celebrations led by local Noongar Traditional Custodians in Western Australia performing a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony.

Noongar Traditional Custodians performing a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony.

Another inside glimpse of the ceremony.

The artwork by talented Noongar artist Amanda Hart, is part of a reconciliation journey over several years, in which the School of Veterinary Medicine has been working with Whadjuk Ballardong Noongar Elder Marie Taylor who has shared her culture to support veterinary students and staff coming together on the most ancient of ancestral lands Noongar boodjar (Country).

“Our Welcome sign is not only a celebration of Aboriginal art and culture, but it is also important for making sure our hospital is a welcoming, inclusive place for First Nations people in the community. The use of Noongar language with ‘Kaya and Boordawan’ allows our students, staff and clients in the hospital to become familiar with these words and reflect on this while they are in our hospital,” said veterinarian Claudine Creasy, BSc, BVMS, Clinical Director at The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University.

The new artwork at The Animal Hospital Murdoch University.

More of the artwork on display.

Murdoch University’s 2023-2030 Strategic Plan Ngala Kwop Biddi (‘Building a brighter future together’), highlights the university’s goal of becoming the University of Choice for First Nations People.

“We, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, are committed to building a society based on the principles of equity and social justice. This is borne out of a deep belief that diversity makes our shared journeys more meaningful and a richer growth experience for all. I believe these values should be visible and tangible in every interaction we have with anyone, and the artwork is a beautiful reminder of that when we enter work, and when we leave it,” explained Henry Annandale, BCom, BVSc (Hons), MMedVet (Gyn), MBA, PhD, Dip ACT, Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Murdoch University.

With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people representing only 0.6% of Australia’s approximately 15,000 registered veterinarians,1 Murdoch University’s Waardongalternate special entry and enabling program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who want to study veterinary medicine and other animal and biological science-based courses at Murdoch University.

“Reconciliation is every day. In my role as lecturer of Waardong – which is the crow or Australian Raven in Noongar language, I am conscious of the diversity and needs of all students, but particularly cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying veterinary medicine – and the importance of seeing self-reflected and Aboriginal culture is a motivating factor to symbolize you are welcome here,” said veterinarian Barbara Hostalek, BSc, BVMS, Waardong Lecturer at Murdoch University.

“Our veterinary school continues to provide educational experiences that ensure all our students are nurtured to value inclusive behaviours of greater societal influences. I really believe that every day, all of us should feel empowered to make change no matter how big or small, as long as it is respectful. It gives me a great sense of pride working with people wanting to support a different future that is informed of the struggles connected with the past with respect and compassion for truth-telling to create a safe, diverse and peaceful home for future generations.”

Veterinarians recognized with honors

Veterinarian Tiggy Grillo, BVMS, PhD, the Chief Operating Officer of Wildlife Health Australia, has been appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the recent King’s Birthday Honors, for her significant service to conservation through education, research, and leadership roles.

Tiggy Grillo, BVMS, PhD.

Tiggy Grillo, BVMS, PhD.

Grillo’s career has focused on One Health and wildlife health surveillance and in receiving the honor, she told dvm360® how wildlife health embodies the work of every veterinarian, in terms of anticipating threats or diseases, identifying strategies to prevent those threats, diagnosing and responding when the threats do arise, and communication between all involved.

“Working together, learning from each other and building partnerships, it is truly exciting to see One Health approaches being promoted to address the global need to drive change required to mitigate the impact of current and future health challenges at the human-animal-plant-environment interface. I’ve been fortunate that my career path took me in the direction of wildlife health, driven by a passion for conservation, learning from others, building partnerships and a curiosity to take on new challenges,” said Grillo.

“I feel very privileged to receive this honor, especially knowing that there are so many people who have dedicated their lives to critical causes, overcome challenges and found solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time. I am so lucky to work alongside many of Australia’s wildlife health experts who go above and beyond for our unique wildlife. I hope being awarded brings to light the need for everyone to work together to conserve our unique wildlife - as the health of Australia’s wildlife, human health, livestock and the environment are all fundamentally linked.”

Three other veterinarians were also honored. Wildlife veterinarian Michael Pyne, BVSc, from Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM), for his service to veterinary science. Veterinarian and polar adventurer Geoffrey Wilson, BVSc, chief executive of the VetLove veterinary group of practices was appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the community through charitable organisations. Specialist small animal surgeon Adjunct Professor Philip Moses, BVSc, FANZCVS, was appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, for his significant service to the veterinary profession as a doctor, administrator, and educator.


World Vet Day 2023 — an interview with Aboriginal veterinary student Bindee Davis. Australian Veterinary Association. April 20, 2023. Accessed June 26, 2023.

Related Videos
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.