Meet Our Team

History of the Clinic

The Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic is the only clinic in the Tweed Valley providing care for both small and large animals. Dr Joan Gibbons and her husband Neil became sole owners of the clinic at the end of 2017 and aim to continue to provide “country Caring with a Wealth of Experience'” to their clients.

Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic always strives to do what is best for the animal and as part of this we have a fear free approach to the animals we treat. We also have a strong interest in enrichment to provide opportunities for our pets to learn, encourage instinctive behaviour , and reduce boredom.

We have a comprehensive library of handouts which we have developed to be locally relevant. We pride ourselves on our customer communication and will supply written post consultation sheets for you to take home after your visit.

Our Veterinarians

Dr Joan Gibbons

B.V.Sc. (Brisbane) 1989 – Practice Owner, Certified cattle pregnancy tester, Equine Veterinary Association Member

Special Interests: cattle obstetrics, canine medicine, fear free consulting.

The daughter of dairy farmers hailing from Warwick, I always wanted to be a vet. As a young child I would make rugs from hessian bags for any sick calf and sneak them into the hay shed to recuperate. Dad was not particularly happy when they pooed all over the hay!!

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I graduated from Qld Uni in 1989 and count myself lucky to still love my job after 30 years. In 2015 I caught up with friends from vet school and found many of them were no longer in practice and were engaged in careers as diverse as IT and human medicine. I started out in dairy practice in Kerang, Victoria where I learned lots of tricks for dealing with difficult calvings. Today, those skills stand me in good stead for even the most difficult bovine obstetrical case. Having “double jointed” elbows also helps!!

My family, husband Neil and children, Charlie and Summer are my greatest joy.

We have 3 pets, a Grey cat called Sparkles that was a birthday present for Summer in 2014 , a Tabby cat named Fiddy ( a 50th birthday gift to myself) and a Jack Russell Cross named Tiki. Fiddy and Tiki grew up together and have a great bond often playing rough and tumble games together.

My free time is very fitness oriented. I enjoy CROSSFIT and do extra running and swimming training for triathlon. I do Saturday triathlon during Summer as much for the camaraderie as for the personal achievement.

At the end of 2017, myself and my husband Neil became sole owners of Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic something that is both exciting and challenging. Neil now works in the office and is training in the role of Practice Manager.

Dr Christine Jenkins

Bsc B.V.M.S – Murdoch University 2014

Associate Veterinarian at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic

My name is Christine Jenkins and grew up in the small town of Chinderah. I’ve always been surrounded by animals and would often be found hanging out or studying with our fur-family members (Honey our horse, Ringa our rottweiler cross or our many rabbits).

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After completing my first degree in Biomedical Science and obtaining an early acceptance into Veterinary School, I decided to get an insight into the industry and become a veterinary nurse. This was the first time I meet Dr Joan, Dr Stephanie and the team at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic – immediately I felt like family and the wide variety of cases seen as a mixed practice Veterinarian help me realise my professional goals.

Throughout my studies at Murdoch University in Perth WA, I remained in contact with the Clinc and was lucky enough to do work placements (final year training) with the murwillumbah vet clinic team. Towards the end of my degree in 2014, Dr Joan & Dr Stephanie offered myself a position as a new graduate Veterinarian. I felt very blessed and honoured to start my career in such a beautiful part of northern NSW in a clinic with such a knowledgeable and supportive team.

Being a mixed practice Veterinarian means that no day is the same and multiple species can present to the clinic at any given time. The morning can often start with routine vaccinations, desexing surgical procedures on cats/ dogs or rabbits, rapidly changing to calving a cow out in the field and end with emergency surgery to remove a foreign body from a beloved family pet. My special interests are surgery, internal medicine, ultrasonography and reducing stress in the consulting room

I have 3 fur-family members, a male Burmese cat called Jespah, a female tabby cat called Jasmin and a Young buckskin gelding named Eli. Jespah likes to think he is also a Dr since he spent his younger years at the desk studying with me during vet school. Jasmin was adopted as a 3 week old kitten after I meet her in the clinic & Eli is my new partner helping me develop my horsemanship skills.

Outside the clinic, my spare time is spent with my family and my horse Eli. My mum and sister live close by and we often spend time outside in the garden, whale watching at Hastings Point or helping each other with our latest crochet or knitting patterns. My horse Eli is a very important part of life and most of my free time is spent developing our partnership and my horsemanship skills under the guidance of the Quantum Savvy Programme.

Dr Sam Walker

B.App.Sci (Hons) BVSc. (Hons)

My interest in veterinary science began at an early age, while growing up on a beef cattle property just outside Lismore.

After completing honours in Environmental Science at the Southern Cross University, I gained entry to the Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland. During my studies I met my future wife Cristina, who was also in the same year.

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In 2008, I started work at the Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic. This clinic has a great family feel and immediately made us feel very welcome. The variety of work that the clinic offers is something I enjoy. In a day it can range from doing dental work on a rabbit in the morning to calving a cow in the afternoon; and plenty of dogs, cats in between. I enjoy all aspects of mixed practice and have particular interests in surgery, internal medicine and ultrasonography.

In 2010, Cristina and I went to the UK to live and work for a year. We filled locum positions all over the country and it was a great experience both professionally and personally. The work was interesting and diverse. We learned about pets that we don’t often see in Australia such as degus and chinchillas, and had some interesting experiences such as treating military dogs returning from service in Afghanistan. Between locum positions, we enjoyed exploring the UK and Europe in our motorhome. We had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people. After about three and a half years, we thought we had better head home!

After a short stint in Brisbane, we moved back in Murwillumbah. We love living and working here, and are blessed to have two children.

Our Nurses

Robyn McCalman

Head Veterinary Nurse

I have been working at MVC since 1983! I was born and bred in Murwillumbah and am married to Ron. I have 2 adult children Carolyn and Craig, eight grandchildren and a large extended (and extremely social) family. I enjoy cooking for family nights in but also enjoy going out to dinner.

We live out at Condong on a property where I lived as a child and we run cows and greyhounds. I have been involved with greyhounds for over 30 years and we race (reasonably successfully) and breed them. My knowledge in this area comes in handy at work too!

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I started working at MVC with the previous owners while my children were at school, at first doing afternoon work then as they got older I moved to full time work both in the office and nursing. Since Steph and Joan (and then Joan as solo owner) took over I have watched the place grow and change in great strides. I am happy to admit I was a bit nervous about what those changes might be after working with the same people for so long!

I am now the head surgical nurse at the clinic. I do admissions, pre meds for surgery, assist the vets during surgery and ensure the recovery of your pet after. I also do the ordering for the clinic so if there is something we don’t carry come in and talk to me. As the clinic has grown, keeping on top of inventory is difficult and I am having to learn new computing skills – just goes to show you CAN teach old dogs new tricks!

I still love working with the animals here and the rest of the staff are like extended family to me now after so many years together. It’s lovely to work somewhere where just about every face that comes in the door is someone you know. This is one of the delights of living in such a great Australian country town.

Helen Gorton

Veterinary Nurse & Receptionist

Many clients will recognise me from my other employment as a dental nurse upstairs at Biltoft’s dentist.

It’s an extra treat to also help you with your animals in the Vet clinic downstairs either in one of our Consult Rooms or on Reception.

Of course my passion has always been animals and so I was thrilled when I was asked to join the team as a receptionist in April 2008, then studying Vet Nursing and gaining my Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing. I was awarded the Pet Plan Vet Nurse of the Year 2018 / 2019! A very proud moment!

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I have an extensive knowledge of horses. Since a small child I have competed successfully in Pony Club, Agricultural Shows and have won at Royal Show level.

I have been involved with the racing industry for 30 years now, and still get up early 6 days a week before work to ride track work. What better way to start each day, getting to see the sun rise!

I don’t have much free time, as I am also kept busy clipping horses but I enjoy looking after my property, keeping fit, lifting weights, bike riding and running

At home my human family includes 2 wonderful daughters, as well my animal family which consists of a cockatiel called Geoffrey, 2 pet cows, Harvey a Fresian steer and Nancee the Jersey, 2 dogs, Belle and Kenny, 2 cats, Poppy and Pickle and, of course, my horses, Ruby and Spook.

Rachel Hurst

Senior Veterinary Nurse

Hi, I’m Rachel and I have been a part of the team at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic since 2003 when I started as a volunteer.

All the staff at MVC are wonderful people, we are more like a second family than just workmates. I work mostly as a surgical nurse, preparing patients for procedures, monitoring anaesthetics and recovering surgery patients. In this role you might meet me admitting or discharging your pet on the day of its surgery. I also enjoy the role of kennel nurse keeping our patients comfortable, clean and warm and monitoring them for any change in their condition. I have completed Certificate IV in Veterinary nursing.

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We really are a team here though and everyone helps each other as needed being ready and able to turn our hand to most tasks. This is particularly so in times of emergencies which require all hands on deck at a moment’s notice.

I always knew I wanted to work with animals from my very first job in a pet shop, later volunteering for Friends of The Pound. I particularly find it a rewarding experience when former pound animals are desexed here, recover and go home to their loving new owners.

Outside of work, I love to travel and spend time at the beach with my dog Harley or playing at home with my cat Kit.

Dionne Evans

Veterinary Nurse

Hi, I am Dionne. I have a small family of my husband Nick, our cattle x Maxi, two chickens and two fish. Nick and I returned from living in England for two years in November 2013. This made for perfect timing to start training for a long-awaited career change from the clothing industry to becoming a veterinary nurse.

In November 2014 I completed my Certificate II in Animal Studies. Then in February 2015 I started at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic as a volunteer trainee nurse while studying Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing at Lismore TAFE. At the end of 2015 I finished the course successfully!

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Now, I am fortunate enough to have been employed at Murwillumbah Vet Clinic as part of the Vet Nurse team. This has given me the opportunity to run the puppy preschool classes and a weight loss club for pets. I work in both consults and the hospital. This is a wonderful clinic to work at. The variety is endless and we have a great team, friendly, professional and happy to share their knowledge. I enjoy learning and I have sure picked the right career for that.

I am looking forward to the years ahead learning more about different areas of vet nursing, animal welfare and how best to care for all the beloved animals and pets out there. I hope to meet you soon.

Melana Oakes

Veterinary Nurse

NEED MELANA’S BIO

Hi, I am Dionne. I have a small family of my husband Nick, our cattle x Maxi, two chickens and two fish. Nick and I returned from living in England for two years in November 2013. This made for perfect timing to start training for a long-awaited career change from the clothing industry to becoming a veterinary nurse.

In November 2014 I completed my Certificate II in Animal Studies. Then in February 2015 I started at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic as a volunteer trainee nurse while studying Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing at Lismore TAFE. At the end of 2015 I finished the course successfully!

Read more...

Now, I am fortunate enough to have been employed at Murwillumbah Vet Clinic as part of the Vet Nurse team. This has given me the opportunity to run the puppy preschool classes and a weight loss club for pets. I work in both consults and the hospital. This is a wonderful clinic to work at. The variety is endless and we have a great team, friendly, professional and happy to share their knowledge. I enjoy learning and I have sure picked the right career for that.

I am looking forward to the years ahead learning more about different areas of vet nursing, animal welfare and how best to care for all the beloved animals and pets out there. I hope to meet you soon.

Our Volunteers

Jorja McLeod

Dog Groomer & Volunteer Vet Nurse

Hello, my name is Jorja.
I started volunteering at the Vet Clinic on the 15th of February 2013 and have attained Certificate II Animal Studies, Certificate III Companion Animals, Qualified Dog Groomer and Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

In May 2014, I attended a 4 week hands on course at the Victorian College of Dog Grooming, which encouraged me to start my own business within the Dog Grooming Industry, my business name is “Pets with Pawsonality” My salon is located at Dunbible which is about 10 minutes outside of Murwillumbah. I am the Groomer thursday fortnightly here at the clinic.

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From a very young age and growing up on a farm with all types of animals big and small. I have always loved their company and being around them. I wanted to become involved in caring for them, to pass on my knowledge of animal health and to help improve your pet’s lives, by having your dog groomed, it’s important to keep your best friend’s coat and skin clean and healthy.
“A Clean Pet is a Happy Pet!”

The team of vets and nurses here at the clinic are very professional and ensure that i will get the best understanding and knowledge possible to enhance my desire for learning the correct procedures.

As for my Hobbies/Interests, I enjoy horse and motorbike riding, cattle work/farm work, op shopping, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.

Lydia Stephenson

Volunteer Vet Nurse

I started at Murwillumbah Vet clinic in January 2019 as a trainee, completing my certificate IV in Vet nursing.

After years of switching degrees (biomedical science, psychology, teaching – to name a few) and attempting to find fulfilment living in London, Brisbane and the GC, it was a run of bad health which directed me into choosing a career working with animals, something that never fails to bring me joy. And no one was more surprised than I was to find myself back in the town in which I was born and bred!

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I was surrounded by animals growing up and spent a lot of my free time having tea parties with my guinea pigs or adventure picnics with my 3 legged dog fella or laying on a blanket in the paddock hoping my favourite cow would come and lay with me. I remember, as a child, feeling resentful that I wasn’t allowed to bring my dog, guinea pigs, cows and shetland pony into my room each night to keep me company . My family still haven’t forgiven me for the memorable holiday to Guyra when I snuck a very friendly corgi named Sarah, who belonged to the guest house owners, into my bunk bed and she proceeded to deprive everyone of sleep all week long with her snoring.

The greatest loves in my life are my two dogs Albus ( Albie for short, named after the great Albus Dumbledore) and Agnes, and my guitar. I pride myself on being a huge Harry Potter nerd and I often look for ways to inject the subject into dinner party conversations .

Doing my placement at Murwillumbah Vet Clinic has given me a renewed appreciation of a small town and the unparalleled sense of community that comes with it. I truly feel as if I am learning from the best at this clinic and admire the ways in which the staff work so hard, so meticulously and so thoughtfully to ensure the animals get to best care.

Chiara Faroni

Volunteer Vet Nurse

My name is Chiara and I have been a trainee at Murwillumbah Vet Clinic since January 2019.
I have a Certificate III in Animal Studies and I’m currently studying towards a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

I am originally from Italy but I have lived in a few different countries around the world and am now happy to finally settle down in Australia with my partner.
Animals have always been my biggest passion. After graduating in Linguistics and Translation and working as a teacher and travel consultant, I realised that there was something missing: I wasn’t making enough of a difference. After some time of self-reflection I decided I needed to follow my heart and made the decision to change careers and become a Veterinary Nurse.

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Learning about animals is beyond fascinating and it’s extremely rewarding to see how knowledge and science can help them not only recover, but also thrive.
I have a keen interest in emergency and pathology and I look forward to becoming competent in these areas.

I have volunteered for Friends of the Koala in Lismore, Animal Welfare League Queensland, and I’m currently working at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital as part of my course as well.

In my free time I enjoy going to the beach, going to see live music, practicing yoga and spending time with my crazy Kelpie cross pup Kookie, who keeps me on my toes every day.

I’m very excited about expanding my knowledge at MVC and look forward to meeting you and your fur babies soon.

Jared Casidy

Volunteer Vet Nurse

My name is Jared Casidy I have a blue heeler called Baxter and am a local who grew up in murwillumbah. After school i joined the army as a telecommunication technician where i served for four years. Recently i have found that i have a passion for working with animals. Being part of the murwillumbah veterinary clinic team since July 2018 it has been such a good experiance i have learned so much and enjoy working in such a dedicated team. I have not felt so welcome and appreciated since leaving the army and I get to follow my passions as well.

Murwillumbah Vet Clinic

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm*
Sat: 8:30am - 12:30pm

We invite pets from Murwillumbah and surrounds, including Uki, Tweed Heads, and Tyalgum

*Clinic closes at 3pm every second Wed for staff training, please call to confirm hours if you are unsure.

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