Scone’s Dr Bill Howey awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to veterinary science
June 11 2018 – 7:00AM
SINCE moving to Australia more than 50 years ago, Dr William (Bill) Howey has lived a life of service, enriched through his dedication and contribution to veterinary science.
In that time Mr Howey has made a home out of Scone in the Upper Hunter, where he has been instrumental in the establishment of what is now one of the largest providers of equine veterinary services of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Scone Equine Group.
It’s for his service to this practice, and veterinary science as a whole, that Mr Howey has today been awarded one of the nation’s highest honours – a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Mr Howey joined the Scone Equine Hospital when it was a small veterinary practice in 1967.
“I joined a veterinarian there called Murray Bain,” he explained.
“He was a Scott and a graduate of the same university as myself. He was a Second World War veteran and came to Scone in 1950.”
Mr Howey first heard Murray Bain speak at a conference in Edinburgh in 1965, which he says “wetted his appetite”.
“He spoke on some veterinary components of the thoroughbred industry and he was talking about Scone, NSW, in Australia,” he said.
“And, I thought well I might like to go there.”
Mr Bain set up what was the first veterinary practice in the township and locality together with a fellow called Frank Williams, and later Mr Howey.
After working with the group as a veterinary practitioner for the next 30 years, Mr Howey then went on to extend his portfolio as an educator in the field, joining the NSW TAFE system and university sector as a lecturer at the University of Sydney and through his involvement in the Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science.
He has also been named a life member of a number of national organisations, including the Australian Veterinary Association, the Australian Equine Veterinary Association and the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, an honorary member of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and is a Scone Horse Festival VIP.
With a passion for writing and sharing history, Mr Howey is the author of numerous published books in the field of equine veterinary science.
They include The Infinitive History of Veterinary Practice in Scone and A History of Thoroughbred Breeding in the Upper Hunter Valley.
He has also written two family histories, a memoir and published countless articles.
The author and veterinarian continues to write and dedicate his life to research through his website ‘Scone Vet Dynasty’.
Being named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List only compliments the many medals and awards Mr Howey has received, including the 1995 Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders Association President’s Award, the 1995 Hunter McLoughlin Citizen of the Year, the Australian Equine Veterinarian Association Literary Award and Excellence in Equine Veterinary Field and the 1995 Hunter Valley Breeders Association President’s Award for ‘Contribution to Industry, to name a few.
Despite these achievements, Mr Howey insists he is just an “ordinary bloke” and his biggest contribution in life has been his family – his wife Sarah who he shares a home with in Scone; his two children, Kirsty and Hugh and his three grandchildren.
“My initial reaction when I saw the letter was enormous surprise,” he admitted.
“I didn’t know anything at all about it and then this came out of the blue.
“Some of them are well worn clichés like humility – but, yes, I feel enormously honoured and feel huge gratitude for many reasons.”
W.P. (BILL) HOWEY
Unlike Youtube, Vimeo videos take a few seconds to load, so please be patient.
‘About the Author”
This video was recorded on Saturday 14th April 2018 at ‘Geraldton’, Scone; the home of the author. I think it adds cachet to the following article by Caitlin Andrews; The Scone Advocate, Sept. 12, 2013
Dr Jim Euclid BVSc BVBiol PhD
W. P. Howey
PO Box 509
SCONE NSW 2337
Tel: +61 (0)2 6545 1859
Mobile: +61 (0)408 685 296
He may have moved to Australia as a ‘Ten Pound Pom’ but ever since landing in Scone Dr William Patrick (Bill) Howey has set his mind to his ultimate belief that you should aim to build society and give something to your community.
Describing himself light heartedly as a boat person, only he came in a plane, Mr Howey believes if you have the benefit of education, you should bring that with you and make a contribution to the society you move to.
This is a belief he holds very close to his heart and one that has driven the husband, father and grandfather to give everything he can to society and the community Australia wide.
The Scone Advocate had the opportunity to chat with this extremely interesting man and before you is a taste of some of the remarkable things Mr Howey has achieved.
Born in Northumberland, England, a young Bill grew up on a mixed farming property that had been in the Howey family for hundreds of years, where they “bred fast cattle and fat horses”.
After attending a school of about 30 children in primary school, he had the option of continuing secondary school or going to work on the farm, however with things on the farm going ‘pear shaped’ it was decided by Bill’s father and Irish born mother he would go away to boarding school at Ackworth School in West Yorkshire for the next seven years.
This is the same school that the 2005 Australian of the Year Doctor Fiona Wood attended in later years.
The University of Edinburgh in Scotland was Mr Howey’s next stop where he studied veterinary science for five years and ultimately led to him moving to Scone.
It was during his undergraduate years that Mr Howey witnessed a presentation by Scone’s Murray Bain at the British Veterinary Association Conference, planting the seed for his move to the Horse Capital of Australia.
After working for 12 months as a veterinarian graduate in North West Ireland, in 1967 at the age of 24 Mr Howey made the big move to Australia, venturing straight to Scone.
It was an advertisement in the British Veterinary Record for a suitable assistant to work with Mr Bain that cemented the decision and with Bain’s neighbour and good friend Sir Alister McMullin president of the Australian Senate at the time, Mr Howey’s application was fast tracked and he was here within three months.
He chuckles as he remembers finishing work in Strabane, County Tyrone on the Thursday and starting work in Scone, Australia the following Tuesday.
A keen and enthusiastic writer Mr Howey has written three books – RIRDC Equine Research & Development: ‘Education & Training in the Horse Industry in Australia’, ‘The Infinitive History of Veterinary Practice in Scone’ and ‘Geraldton’ Scone – A History – and more recently has completed a memoir writing course in Sydney where he documented his journey to Australia in ‘The Voyage Out’.
Since moving to Australia, Mr Howey’s life has been filled with love, hard work, success and the community.
In 1975 he married his wife Sarah, a local girl who grew up on ‘Tinagroo’, and two years later Mr Howey with John Morgan and Nairn Fraser established Morgan, Howey, Fraser and Partners in Liverpool Street, now the Scone Equine Hospital.
The trio worked to establish the veterinary practice for the next 20 years before Mr Howey joined the NSW TAFE system teaching and fulfilling the role of project officer in the veterinary science field.
He then extended his portfolio joining the University of Sydney as a lecturer and driving the education of vets in Australia, Australasia and the world through the Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, which is now known as Continuing Veterinary Education.
Locally, Mr Howey has enjoyed making many contributions being a big player involved in White Park and the Scone Race Club, where he was president from 1978 to 1984, when the decision was made to move the racecourse from White Park to its current location.
He is now a life member.
He is also a life member of the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Equine Veterinarians of Australia and the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Science, an honorary member of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and was the second Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival VIP.
His career and passion led him to be a key stakeholder in the Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre and he has been on the board of the Veterinary Sciences Board of NSW, plus many others.
With Peter McBeth and Dennis Johnston, Mr Howey was instrumental in introducing junior soccer to Scone and was also active in junior cricket, swimming and pony club.
For the past 12 years, the 71-year-old has poured a lot of time and effort into Strathearn, which he remains on the board of.
Being the former chairman for five years, Mr Howey shares the desire with others to offer local elderly residents the best possible opportunities.
With a passion for writing and reading, Mr Howey now finds himself in the role of secretary of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Scone and recently joined the steering committee of the University of the Third Age.
After completing his term as a Councillor of the Upper Hunter Shire last year, Mr Howey said he enjoyed his time in local government as it was full of challenges, however feels it is something he should have started a bit earlier in life.
It is the ‘enlightening and enriching’ experiences he has had the opportunity to realise that have fulfilled life for Mr Howey and he has always enjoyed being very community involved.
Still keeping his foot in the door, Mr Howey is a current member of the University of Newcastle’s Animal Care Ethics Committee, which he says is a gold standard tool to ensure animals are used appropriately in research.
Apart from travelling to enrich the mind, Mr Howey enjoys writing and reading for posterity and to stimulate the brain.
He believes his greatest contribution in life has been his two children, Kirsty – a civil rights lawyer and Hugh – a teacher, and he now has two grandchildren with another on the way.
Some of the many awards and medals in Mr Howey’s office are the 1995 Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders Association President’s Award, the 1985 Scone Shire Council Service to Sport Award, the 1995 Hunter McLoughlin Citizen of the Year, the Australian Equine Veterinarian Association Literary Award and Excellence in Equine Veterinary Field and the Sutton Farm Foundation Award for Outstanding Caring to the Scone Community.
Article by Caitlin Andrews
The Scone Advocate, Sept. 12, 2013
Scone Quotes (Former Employees & Undergraduates)
Here are some quotes from protégés:
“It was all very wonderful and strange, to come back to Scone after so long. I was very lucky as my stay there in the early 1980’s was one of the happiest and most fulfilling of my life and part of this was due to Shona who really looked after me! I was a young empty sponge at the time.”
Professor Sheila Laverty (Ireland) MVB DACVS DECVS University of Montreal, Canada
“Scone really was a truly remarkable intellectual hothouse…some amazing concepts, techniques and personalities emerged…and so many great stories”!
Dr Anne Fawcett BA BVSC MVS GradCertES MANZCVS DipECAW & BM University of Sydney, University of Queensland