The first ‘country’ (regional) veterinary laboratory in Australia – discounting the lab at the (‘largish’) city of Townsville in Far North Queensland – was opened in Armidale NSW in the mid 1960s, under the leadership of Dr Alan RB Jackson. This augmented the services of the NSW Department of Agriculture’s central laboratory located at Glenfield, Sydney (since moved to the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle).
The Regional Veterinary Laboratory (RVL) (aka ‘Colin Blumer Regional Veterinary Laboratory’) at Armidale was later joined by RVLs at Wollongbar (north coast of NSW) and Wagga Wagga (south west NSW), and then finally at Orange (under the leadership of Dr Ray Webb), in the central west of the state.
Mirroring developments in the other states and countries, the labs underwent a series of closures, with Armidale and Wagga labs closing in 1996. (The author worked at the Armidale lab from 1986-1996). Private laboratory Veterinary Health Research (Dr Bruce Chick et al) now occupies the site of the former RVL Armidale.
Most recent closures of vet labs belonging to NSW Department of Primary Industry (formerly Dept of Agriculutre, now Industry and Investment NSW), were the RVLs at Orange and Wollongbar. All I&I NSW veterinary laboratory services are now provided from RVL Menangle located at EMAI.
However, in an interesting development, Charles Sturt University is opening a new lab at Wagga Wagga, rising, more or less, from the ‘ashes’ of the former RVL Wagga. (The ‘Phoenix’ lab? 🙂 ). One of the pathologists at the ‘VDL-CSU’ is A/Prof John Glastonbury, a former OIC of RVL Wagga Wagga.
Life is interesting.
Here is CSU’s blurb on the upcoming lab:
“Welcome to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) at the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University. The laboratory is presently under construction in Nathan Cobb Drive on the Wagga Wagga Campus of the university and is expected to be fully operational by October 2009.
The VDL will be a highly secure state of the art facility built around the post mortem room, which will cater for all animals, ranging from small birds, wildlife and pets through to farm livestock and horses. Ancillary laboratories will perform a full range of testing in histopathology, parasitology, microbiology, molecular biology, haematology, biochemistry and cytology.
It is our hope that the VDL will provide a comprehensive diagnostic service to veterinarians from southern New South Wales and north eastern Victoria. The only specimens that will be received directly from animal owners will be those for parasitology, particulary from farm livestock.
The VDL will usually be open from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Emergency services will be available as needed. Enquiries can be made by telephoning (02) 693 34000 or by emailing email@example.com. “