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

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team -  Dr Joan Gibbons

Dr Joan Gibbons

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

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 gym workouts, running and yoga. I do Saturday triathlon during Summer as much for the camaraderie as for the personal achievement. Travel is also a passion with holidays within Australia and overseas often on the agenda.

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 in the role of Practice Manager.

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.

Murwillumbah Vet Clinic - Meet Our Team - Dr Arjuna (Aj)

Dr Arjuna Govindasamy

BSc BA DVM

Dr Arjuna (Aj for short), is a local who grew up in Murwillumbah.

After completing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course at the University of Sydney in 2018, Dr Arjuna spent 2 years working in mixed practice on the Mid-coast. After a decade away, Dr Arjuna returned home to join the team in 2020.

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His interests include surgery, pain management and One Health.

In his spare time, Arjuna is almost always outdoors, often with his Wolfhound X, Keeva. He enjoys playing for his boyhood club MFC, and has recently taken up pottery!

Murwillumbah Vet Clinic - Meet Our Team - Dr Cristina Walker

Dr Cristina Walker

Animals have always featured in my earliest memories. Becoming a Veterinarian was always my goal.

Growing up on a hobby farm north of Brisbane, if I wasn’t milking goats, I was taking the pigs for a run, bottle feeding lambs, helping chickens hatch, being chased by geese, or tending to our budgies, ducks, Guinea pigs, dogs and cats.

At the age of 15 I was offered a high school weekend position hydrobathing dogs on a Saturday, and from there I progressed to a career as a Veterinary Nurse. Having worked as a Veterinary Nurse in Brisbane and in Melbourne, I returned to the University of Qld to study further in order to gain entry to Veterinary Science.

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In 2007 I graduated with first class honours, having met my future husband Sam during the course. After a couple of years in Murwillumbah (Sam here at MVC while I worked in Tweed),we set off to the UK to work and travel. What was initially a twelve month trip became three and a half years. The experience we gained during those years working all over England was incredible.

In 2013 we returned to Australia, and while working part-time as a Veterinarian, I also gained qualifications to teach Veterinary Nurses at TAFE in Brisbane. It was an honour to be given the opportunity to share in a small part of people’s journey into their Veterinary Nursing career, not to mention the incredible teaching staff I met and learned from during that time.

Moving back to Murwillumbah in 2016, we now have two beautiful children and a cheeky Border Terrier called Ava. We love exploring all that this beautiful region has to offer, but the people we work with, and the friends we have made, make this place our home.

My veterinary interests are broad, and I love the variety that general practice offers. I enjoy small animal surgery, feline medicine and ophthalmology, but enjoy dealing with any pet with any problem really. Working in a supportive, collaborative practice such as Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic means that we can work together on just about anything!

I look forward to chatting with you!

Murwillumbah Vet Clinic - Dr Tanis Aiton

Dr Tanis Aiton

BSc. DVM

Tanis was born and raised in the small farming community of Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada on a property full of animals. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in neuropsychology and linguistics on Vancouver Island, where she met her long-time partner. After working as a veterinary emergency nurse for a few years, she decided to trade in her skis for a surfboard, and made the move across the globe. She studied in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Sydney, graduating in 2021. While attending placement at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic, Tanis fell in love with the staff, the clientele and the surrounding area.

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After graduation Tanis, her partner turned fiancé, and their newly adopted kelpie cross named Gypsy, made the move to the Murwillumbah area. They made an amazing decision and have really enjoyed living in the area.

In her free time Tanis can be found exploring the great outdoors: hiking, camping, learning to surf and climb, playing soccer or enjoying the beach. Tanis is a new grad and hasn’t quite found her niche interests, but enjoys reading about behavioural medicine in her free time.

Our Nurses

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Robyn

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.

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Helen

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.

Murwillumbah Vet - Rachel

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.

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Melana

Melana Oakes

Veterinary Nurse

I started volunteering at the Murwillumbah vet clinic in October 2012, at the time I was doing Certificate II in Animal Studies, I continued my studies and getting my Certificate III in companion animals and Certificate IV in vet Nursing.

I currently am a registered Breeder of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and have a multitude of other pets including, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 Budgies, chicken and Ducks, I have always had a love for all animals so it was an easy decision to turn that love into a profession. Put it all together with my 3 kids and I definitely have a busy household. My Partner and I are currently living on 12 acres and with the dream of one day owning a larger parcel of land and to increase the range of animals to include different types of farm animals to our extended family.

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Growing up I had a father that was a real animal lover that used to bring home an array of lost or injured animals that we would nurse back to health so they could be released back into the wild, This meant even having an Echidna in our bathtub for 2 weeks after getting hit by a car that we had to go out and dug up grubs from the garden each night to feed. We had all sorts of animals including snakes, lizards and turtles, i always had friends that would want to come over as most never even seen these reptiles let alone hold and see them feed.

While working at the Murwillumbah vet clinic myself all the staff have become a really good friends ( more like family ) which makes it an enjoyable workplace, At the clinic i perform a number of different roles, Consult nurse, surgical nurse and kennel nurse, All of which are very enjoyable helping out all our patients so they can have their best possible life.

With my spare time i usually spend it feeding cleaning attending to my animals, Taking kids to all their different activities and sports and hoping that i will get a day to go and spend some time laying in the sand on the beach.

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Lisa

Lisa Wickbold

Veterinary Nurse

Hello! My name is Lisa, and I have trained and worked at Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic since 2013, transitioning from volunteer, trainee veterinary nurse and became a certified Vet Nurse in 2015.

My role at the clinic is varied, and you might find me working on reception, consulting with you and your pets and with our wonderful Vets, or nursing them in hospital or whilst they are in for surgery or a procedure. I also really enjoy following up with our clients to answer any questions they may have or concerns about their pet’s well-being after surgery.

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I love all aspects of working at the clinic, from seeing my colleagues every week, meeting new clients and helping all of our patients and clients work towards what is best for their health and wellbeing.

I have lived in Murwillumbah since 2007, when my husband and I built our first home together and started a family. We have three children and two dogs, and a very busy and full life. My family really enjoy hearing about what we achieve in a day, how varied it is in the clinic, from seeing guinea pigs and rabbits, to lambs and piglets, alpacas, cattle – even the occasional dog and cat! My dogs also like to learn about my day by systematically sniffing me from my boots to my shoulders every time I walk in the door.

Outside of work, I love to support my family in their endeavours, travelling, eating out and bushwalking.

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Madalyn

Madalyn Wylie

Veterinary Nurse

My name is Madalyn Wylie or Maddy as everyone calls me. I have now been at the clinic for over 5 years and to me it has not just been a workplace. My experiences here have moulded me, pushed me and supported me to be the person I am today. I was born in Murwillumbah and have lived on the family farm in Condong my whole life. I am part of a very large local family who are always helping each other in all aspects of life.

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Whilst finishing High School at Mt St Patricks College in Murwillumbah, I also completed multiple TAFE courses including business and hospitality certificates but Animal Care was the field that spoke to me. My Nan, Robyn, has worked at the clinic since LONG before I was born and has been one of my biggest role models in life. She made choosing a profession an easy one in a workplace that has become family and is willing to support you in all your endeavours.

My love for animals is shown not only in my career choice but also at home where we own over 20 greyhounds as a family that have been involved in the racing industry for over 30 years. They are the most spoilt furbabies ever!! People sometimes ask me how I know all of the dogs names but that is actually the easy part. Much more involved is recognising their different personalities, what their favourite treats are and most importantly their favourite place to get a pat or a scratch. The bond we build with each of these dogs is very special and each of them have their owner place in my heart.

My other babies include a one year old Pomeranian, Prince, his best buddy Duke, a grey and white DSH cat who is only 2 weeks younger than Prince; a ginger cat, Simba; guinea pigs Oreo and Jersey; a trio of ring neck parrots and a collection of fish who also all have names!

Within the clinic you will mainly see me working as a consulting nurse, supporting the vets. I also spend time in the hospital caring for your pets during their stay with us and also at times, greeting clients on Reception. Wherever I am needed within the workings of the clinic I am always willing to go.

I enjoy meeting new people and I pride myself on building rapport with new or existing clients. Friends describe me as a very social, open and bubbly personality and I think this comes through when clients meet me in whichever role I am filling on a given day.

Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic - Meet Our Team - Clair Hoddinott

Claire Hoddinott

Veterinary Nurse

Hi, my name is Claire.
I started volunteering at MVC at the end of 2019 while doing my Certificate III in Companion Animals. I was employed at the end of 2020 as a nurse and have had the pleasure of working alongside the most incredible team.

I was born in Murwillumbah and grew up on my parents property out at Uki surrounded by different types of animals such a as dogs, cows, Clydesdales and the native animals in the area that kept myself and my sister busy during our childhood.

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I have one older sister Ellen that lives in America and is a competitive barrel racer. I have a beautiful Australian Kelpie called Billy who keeps me on my toes and provides me with a lot of laughs and a retired racehorse Wol, a chestnut thoroughbred who is as beautiful as he is lazy.

At the clinic you will likely find me in one of the consult rooms greeting you when you come in with your pet, or out in surgery monitoring our patients and recovering them. Being a vet nurse is truly one of the most rewarding jobs and to work alongside such incredible people like those at MVC is really the cherry on top.

Murwillumbah Vet Clinic - Meet Our Team - Lydia Stephenson

Lydia Stephenson

Veterinary Nurse

Hello! I’m Lydia. I’d also like to introduce you to my two Kelpie x dogs Albie and Agnes, who were bribed with copious amounts of treats to keep their matching Christmas bandanas on for this photograph.

I started at Murwillumbah Vet Clinic in 2019 as a trainee nurse after working and studying in fields including psychological science, childhood education and a few years in the tech industry. I’d like to think my decision to work in animal medicine was surprising but my family will tell you about Babe the pig who became part of our family at my insistence (as an animal loving 7 year old girl) and Rainbow the guinea pig I’d sneak in to my bed each evening. They’d also tell you about the cattle yard fence I dented from sitting on and hanging out with the cows every afternoon with my best friend – our 3 legged dog named Fella. Being with animals is where I feel at home and working with them as my job is the ultimate privilege.

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You’ll find me mostly in a consultation room with one of our incredible vets, or admitting your beloved animal for a surgical procedure where I’ll monitor their anaesthetic and recovery. I really enjoy creating a space in the clinic for your animal to feel comfortable and safe – whether that’s in my arms or tucked away in a warm bed with lots of blankets.

I look forward to meeting you and your pet in the clinic 🙂 

Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic - Meet Our Team - Lilly Rawson

Lilly Rawson

Veterinary Nurse

Hi my name is Lilly, I live in a converted shipping container with my partner Bailey and my miniature dachshunds Finn and Frankie. I grew up in the local area of Chillingham on a cattle farm, I spent most of my weekends following my family around the farm helping to chase the cows and tack up the horses. My pop bought me my first pony when I was 11 and I spent more time trying to catch him then on his back.

As soon as I heard that one of the farm animals was sick or injured I was the first one down there comforting them until the vet came. I would miss the bus to school watching the vet in awe perform a difficult calving or stitching up my clumsy stock horse. I knew that I wanted to wear scrubs and help all animals when I was older.

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As soon as I finished my HSC in 2017, I started studying my Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, I have 6 months to go until I’m qualified but I was lucky enough to receive employment with Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic at the end of 2021. I have a special interest in emergency nursing, livestock medicine, biology and pharmacology.

You may see me in consult, admitting your pet for surgery, greeting you on the phone or carrying the calving equipment around your stock yards. But I’m mostly found in the prep room cuddling and comforting your pets when they are receiving treatment. Working at the clinic is a dream come true and I’m so grateful to be apart of such a kind and supportive team, I cannot wait to learn and grow in my vet nursing career.

Meet Our Team of Volunteers

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Jorja

Jorja McLeod

Dog Groomer

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 on Thursdays 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.

Murwillumbah Vet - Meet Our Team - Jared

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 experience 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

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