ROSS WILLIAMSON: 1939 – 2022

ROSS WILLIAMSON: 1939 – 2022

Vet Surgeon to the Saudi Royal Family’s racehorses

By Robyn Williamson

May 9, 2022 — 3.50pm

Acknowledge: Obituary: Ross Williamson, veterinary surgeon to Saudi prince’s thoroughbreds (

Featured Image: Ross Williamson in Mudgee 2021

Having only just farewelled one equine veterinary legend (Dr Patricia Ellis) yet another followed very rapidly. This is a tribute to my late colleague Ross Williamson who similarly pursued a very peripatetic and fascinating professional lifestyle! I duly acknowledge faithful spouse Robyn who I met at Randwick Races all those years ago when both Ross & Robyn were on ‘furlough’ from the Middle East.

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Dr Patricia Ellis AM

Featured Image: Dr Patricia Ellis AM

Occasionally in life one is privileged to meet with contemporary fellow professionals of outstanding merit. Dr Patricia “Trish” Ellis was such a person.

Citation: Patricia Ellis AM University of Melbourne


Dr Brian H. Anderson BVSc, MVSc, MS, MACVSc, Diplomate ACVS Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery

Patricia Ellis graduated with First Class Honours in Veterinary Science from the University of Melbourne in 1968 with the Australian Veterinary Association – Victorian Division Prize for best aggregate score in all years of the course and since then has been a trail blazer in the profession and an inspiration to many of her colleagues.

Since graduation, Patricia’s career has been a fine blend of academic achievement, successful private practice in Australia, Ireland and the Middle East, and a long influential stint of public practice. Patricia graduated at a time when women were a small minority of the veterinary profession, however, she was soon recognised more for her intellectual rigour and comprehensive understanding of veterinary science than for her gender.

Time spent in practice in Ireland and in the United Arab Emirates gave Trish an understanding of the political machinations behind international movement of animals and her keen interest in equine medicine soon saw her applying her skills and scientific knowledge in the area of international movement of horses to ensure that while the horses could move, their diseases did not. Patricia has been heavily involved in the horse industry both as a participant and as an equine veterinarian for many years and has been recognised for her service with numerous awards.

She was recognised by the Wakeful Club in 2004 when she received the Jo Miller Award for outstanding contribution to the equine industry and by Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria as the recipient of their Industry Contribution Award in the 2005/6 season.

Patricia has been a leader in the veterinary profession and a cherished mentor for many veterinarians over the course of her career. Patricia was the first woman president of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association in 1992 and her pioneering work as a woman in a male dominated part of the profession was recognised in 2006 with the award of a Belle Bruce Reid Medal for Outstanding Women Veterinary Science Graduates.

The veterinary profession has recognised her achievements by awarding her an AVA Meritorious Service Award, the AEVA Award for Veterinary Excellence, the Equine Veterinarians Australia Award for Services to the Horse Industry. In 2009 Patricia delivered the Pascoe Oration to the annual Equine Veterinary Conference to a standing ovation.

Patricia’s contribution to the Australian horse industry and the Australian veterinary profession were rewarded in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours with the award of the Order of Australia for significant service to veterinary science, particularly through the development of quarantine and biosecurity protocols in the equine industry.

Dr Ellis has always made herself available to give back to the University, the institution which set her on her professional path. Patricia has served on many working parties, advisory committees and she taught undergraduate veterinarians about the horse industry for many years. In addition, Patricia has served her graduating year well as the long-serving liaison with the faculty, organising reunions and keeping our alumni informed about developments at the University and the faculty.

In summary: a veterinarian of the highest professional integrity, who has used her veterinary training to benefit the wider community as well as the profession, Dr Patricia Ellis is a true role model for all veterinarians and is a worthy recipient of the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science honoris causa.

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Tom Payne Tribute

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There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses –  he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

It was a classic of cosmic proportion. Well might Banjo Paterson have penned something akin to his epic 1st stanza of “The Man From Snowy River”. Banjo himself would have played polo 120+ years ago against a few of the forebears of those present including MC Anto White and Scone Polo President Duncan Macintyre?

The celebration kicked off at the Scone Polo Club where a memorial plaque was unveiled at the Flagpole. This was an invitation event for family and close friends. Anto White directed operations in his own inimical style. Arthur ‘Joe’ Bragg, John Gilder and Bear Payne delivered homilies laced with humour and fondest reminiscences. A clear pathway of the classic trifecta of ‘Waverley’, ‘Terrigal’ and Polo was soon established.

Adjournment to the ‘Linga Longa’ was a popular sequel to meet up with the main ‘congregation’. Orations were provided by Bill Howey, John Binnie, Katrina ‘Treen’ Payne, Millie Plumptre, Ken MacCallum, Susie Fearon/Payne, Angus Payne and Steve Payne. The latter stole the show with a compassionate masterpiece of construction worthy of publication ‘in his own (w)rite’; as John Lennon might have written? The hospitality at the legendary Gundy Hostelry was predictably munificent. Thank you Brenda ‘Brazie’ Ogilvie and the Payne Family!

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Parkville Piggery & SPEW 1995

Parkville Piggery & SPEW 1995

Featured Image: Acknowledge Getty Images;

“A delegation Lynda Stoner, Judi Coward and Prof. Peter Singer talk with the Piggery manager, Mr. Cliff Thorogood”. It would have been a robust discussion. Cliff was a friend (and client) of mine. They don’t come any tougher or more forthright! Lynda Stoner might have provided stiff competition to the local icon ‘Wingen Maid’?

Animal Liberationists protested outside the Parkville Piggery, just north on Scone. The Piggery is part owned by the PM Paul Keating. Australian actress Lynda Stoner was one of the thirty-three participants at the Parkville intensive piggery action, 1995. On 21 November 1995, thirty-three activists waded through muddy terrain in the jet-black night. This was a very hot political topic of the day. Mr Keatings’ association with Piggery Principal Mr ‘Big Al’ Constantinidis attracted huge coverage in the press of the day. Investigative journalist from the ‘Political Right’ were in a feeding frenzy like never before!

See also: Mr. Hodges at Parkville with the piggery in the background. Piggery is… News Photo – Getty Images

See also: Animal Liberation (organisation) – Wikipedia

Animal Liberation is a non-profit animal rights organisation based in Sydney, Australia, founded by Christine Townend and led by current CEO Lynda Stoner. It was formed in 1976, one year after the release of Animal Liberation by Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Animal Liberation’s primary campaigns are to advocate against the use of animals for food (factory farmed or free range), clothing, research, sport and entertainment, by promoting a vegan lifestyle.

Local farmer Peter Hodges achieved national renown by setting up SPEW: “The Parkville and Scone Environmental Watch” Committee. The main aim of the organisation was to seek assurances that the Kingdon Ponds Catchment which supplies fresh drinking water to Parkville and Scone was not contaminated by piggery effluent. Peter achieved his objectives. The piggery has gone!