FORMER Noorat vet Bob Knight was always destined for a life in the country.
Although born in Sydney, he began working with the Glenormiston-Trufood Animal Health Service in 1949 and remained there until his retirement in 1985.
Dr Knight has recorded many of his most memorable experiences in a book, Vets in the West, which reflects on veterinary science in the Western District during the past 60 years.
He developed an interest in farming while at school.
“When it came to high school I went to an agricultural school and got into the groove and kept going with a great interest,” he said.
“I wasn’t a country boy. For some strange reason I did develop an interest in cattle.”
At the time of World War II there was only one vet practice west of Melbourne, based in Geelong, and Dr Knight said that apart from improvements in technology, one of the biggest changes in his time had been the explosion in vet numbers.
“When I started there were none,” he said.
“Now there are hundreds.”
Dr Knight said in his early days vets mostly had a “fire brigade practice”, responding quickly to emergency call-outs.
He said today there were vets with MBAs running their businesses.
In his book Dr Knight refers to the way mobile phones and communications had helped.
He said once while working at Ennerdale, a property more than 40km from Noorat, his office had tried to advise him that a call had been received to see a cow at Dundonnell on the way home — but he didn’t get the call because the local telephone exchange was closed for lunch.
He returned to Noorat only to find he had to make the 40-odd kilometre trip back to the troubled cow.
“Today you could use a mobile phone,” he said.
Dr Knight said after his retirement he missed the work and the contact with farmers.
“I knew everyone’s farm. I could put a finger on any area and say who owned what. I couldn’t do that today.”
The book is available from Warrnambool Books, Terang Newsagency, Collins Booksellers in Warrnambool and Rogers’ Newsagency.