Rod Starr recieves OAM for service to vet science and community

OAM: Judy McGowan with husband Rodney Starr and NSW Governor David Hurley at Government House on April 6.
OAM: Judy McGowan with husband Rodney Starr and NSW Governor David Hurley at Government House on April 6.

TANILBA Bay veterinarian Rodney Starr received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) at Government House earlier this month.

The well-known vet was awarded the OAM on April 6 by NSW Governor David Hurley for his service to veterinary science, to professional organisations and to the community.

Doctor Starr has lived and worked in Port Stephens since 1984.

He was the owner of Tanilba Bay Veterinary Hospital between 1984 and 2013, before becoming the professional veterinary director of Greencross Vets in Tanilba Bay.

Dr Starr has worked extensively in Port Stephens vet clinics and hospitals during the past 32 years.

He has been a vet at the Medowie and Nelson Bay veterinary hospitals, and for 10 years worked with military dogs at Williamtown RAAF Base.

Dr Starr has held committee roles with the Australian Veterinary Association (NSW) since 2009, and has helped to highlight mental health issues within the profession.

“I attempted to increase awareness of the mental health issues faced by our profession,” Dr Starr said.

“I’m pleased that NSW divisional conferences now have a dedicated mental health awareness session, and the AVA provides back-up support for mental health issues.

“The greatest advance has been the breaking down of the stigma attached to mental health issues and the open discussion and support that is now evident.”

He is a life member of the Hunter Koala Preservation Society.

In addition to his veterinary roles, Dr Starr has been an active community member.

He has been a member of Williamtown Rotary Club since 2013, part of the Sat Ash Community Hall committee and social club, was a founding member of the Tilligerry Lions Club and is a member of the Native Animal Trust.

“The joy of being part of a local community is being able to follow generations of pets and people, and to develop tremendous rapport with families and the community,” Dr Starr said.

Dr Starr said a highlight of his career has been working with a talented and dedicated band of koala carers, who not only cared for sick and injured koalas, but actively educated the local community and addressed habitat preservation, disease, dog control and traffic issues.