After years of detailed planning and fundraising, Queensland University’s $100 million-plus Veterinary Science complex has opened at the university’s Gatton campus.
Blair Federal MP Shayne Neumann, opened the state-of-the-art facilities at a function attended by industry, academic and community leaders.
Veterinary Science Dean Jonathan Hill said relocation of the school to the university’s 1068-hectare Gatton campus was an exciting development for veterinary education for Queensland and Australia.
“This complex is the most modern in the southern hemisphere and the most comprehensive animal research and teaching centre in Australia,” he said.
“The development unites the school in a setting suited to learning and discovery in veterinary science.
“It provides state-of-the-art teaching facilities for 550 veterinary science students — 80 per cent of them female — and a vitality and economic boost to the Lockyer Valley.
“We see the arrival of the school at Gatton as an opportunity for greater industry collaboration, particularly with dairy and beef cattle, swine production and equine operations.”
Prof Hill said construction of the new facilities and recruitment of additional staff had transformed the student experience and enhanced learning outcomes.
“This development ensures that UQ will remain a leading centre of excellence in veterinary teaching and research for future generations,” he said.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Paul Greenfield said $71 million from the Australian Government, including $47.2 million from the Education Investment Fund, and the generosity of donors, including many UQ alumni, had made the facilities a reality.
“The new-generation Gatton Campus opens opportunities for students and staff, and shores up our capacity to deliver strong learning and research returns on the investments of the Australian and Queensland Governments, industry and private donors.”
The veterinary facilities complement the $33 million Centre for Advanced Animal Science, funded by the Queensland Government and UQ, and a $6.9 million upgrade of dairy teaching and learning facilities, in partnership with the State Employment, Economic Development and Innovation Department.
The new facilities include a veterinary science building, the UQ Veterinary Medical Centre pre-clinical teaching laboratories, and the Veterinary Clinical Studies Building.
The university has recently received the keys to the $23 million Veterinary Medical Centre within the complex, which includes equine and companion animal hospitals, open to the public.
In 2007, the Australian Government awarded UQ $3.5 million toward construction of the equine hospital at its Gatton campus as part of the Capital Development Pool program for 2009 and 2010.
New veterinary services this year also include diagnostic pathology services to provide faster turnaround to veterinary practices from Ipswich to the Darling Downs.
Since its first intake of students in 1936, The UQ School of Veterinary Science has been one of the premier veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand.
The School commenced teaching a first year intake of just seven students at wooden buildings at Yeerongpilly, Brisbane, just before World War II when classes were temporarily suspended when staff and students joined the service.
Students completed fourth and fifth years at Sydney University until 1951.
In 1961, the School moved to the main St Lucia Campus and almost 50 years later, has relocated again to a modern complex underpinned by world class teaching and research.
Historically, UQ has had the largest intake of veterinary students of any university in Australia and has produced more than 3000 veterinary science graduates, who are now working in 53 countries around the world, with Alumni networks in Beijing, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghai, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
Locally, approximately 70 per cent of all practising veterinarians in Queensland are UQ graduates.
The School is the only veterinary school in the world to be able to claim as one of its graduates a Nobel Prize winner – Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC.
In Australia, there are currently only four universities offering fully accredited veterinary science programs. UQ is one of these four universities.
There are six UQ School of Veterinary Science sites. The UQ Gatton campus is the School’s hub, and there are three sites in Brisbane (a veterinary teaching hospital at the St Lucia campus, the UQ Veterinary Specialty Hospital under construction and co-located with the RSPCA at Wacol, Brisbane and due for completion next year, and the University Farm at Pinjarra Hills).
There are sites in rural areas (UQ Veterinary Clinics at Dayboro and Goondiwindi) and an external site at the Oakey Veterinary Hospital, which provides additional, high quality clinical equine teaching.