KINGAROY vet Peter Allan is celebrating 50 years of service but he owes his lifelong cause to one phone call from his mother.
Mr Allan, 75, finished high school in year 10 before attending Queensland Agriculture College where he completed a three year diploma in animal husbandry.
He had planned to work as a jackaroo on a cattle property and had a job lined up.
That was until his mother, who had a vision for her son to be a vet, called the company and told them they couldn’t employ her son.
“She rang the fella and said, ‘I really want my son to go to university first’, so I didn’t get the job,” Mr Allan said.
“I honestly am truly grateful to her. It was her vision and her belief and that’s really why I did it.”
At the time, Mr Allan was oblivious to his mother’s plan and received a scholarship to study veterinary science at the University of Queensland where he graduated in 1967.
His scholarship conditions saw him work at Swans Lagoon research station in Millaroo for six years where Mr Allan studied the affects of molasses, uria and phosphorus supplementation on breeder performance of cattle. This was during a time when roller licker drums were first released.
In 1973 he opened the first private veterinary practice in Charters Towers which he operated for 10 years.
Much of his time was spent testing cattle as part of the national TB and Brucellosis eradication scheme which later saw Australia declared free of both.
Cattle were injected and 72 hours later needed to be monitored meaning Mr Allan clocked up more than 2000 hours flying while in the area and processed 200,000 cattle each year with his team.
“We also got involved in the early stages of the live export trade, we did the disease testing, and we were sending cattle to the Philippines, mostly breeder cattle which we sourced all over Queensland,” he said.
“The cattle boats were a lot smaller then. They used to take 800 head at a time and it was a 21 day round trip, so every 21 days we had to have another 800 ready to go.”
In 1991 he opened the first private veterinary practice in Childers before selling it in 2007 to pursue horses dentistry, work he continues today with a mobile service.
“I actually find it quite rewarding because their teeth are constantly growing, they can wear in unusual ways,” he said.
In 50 years, Mr Allan has worked on everything from snakes to taking the bone chip out of a thoroughbred horse in the backyard of his Charters Towers surgery.
“In the 1970s and 80s people were more inclined to let you have a go,” he said.
“There were virtually no specialists available so if we didn’t have a go at it nothing would happen whereas now, most vets, if they are confronted by something that is a bit out of the ordinary, they just happily refer it on to a specialist.”
But he has no intentions of retiring any time soon.
“I tried golf, I didn’t like golf,” he said.
“I’m not ready for bowls and my horses still give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning and you have got to have a passion in life.”