Arthur’s gone fishing – permanently

Arthur Poynting with a barramundi that he caught while fishing in Karumba. Photo Ros Poynting
Arthur Poynting with a barramundi that he caught while fishing in Karumba. Photo Ros Poynting

After 43 years, Gloucester’s Arthur Poynting has hung up his stethoscope and gone fishing - permanently.

Arthur moved to Gloucester straight out of university for his first and only post as a veterinarian. 

Before settling on studying veterinary science, Arthur knew he wanted to do something with biology that involved the outdoors.

During his studies he discovered a fascination with cattle and decide he wanted to work in a mixed practice where he had the opportunity to work on both large and small animals.

He had grown up in the small rural town of Billinudgel, north of Byron Bay but he wasn’t a farmer. His grandfather, however, who died before Arthur was born, did have a jersey farm, so perhaps the passion for cattle was in his blood.

In 1975, Gloucester’s vet at the time Ron Kershaw, got a government contract to help prevent disease in cattle and Arthur was hired for the job.

Arthur took up the opportunity in the February, got married one month later and returned to Gloucester with his new wife, Ros. 

When the contract expired, Ron was ready to move on and offered the sell the practice to Arthur. At that time, he and Ros had settled into the community and started a family, taking over the practice shortly after the birth of their first child, Bronwyn.

Three children and 43 years of practice later, Arthur and Ros, who has also been part of the business for the majority of that time, have said goodbye to Gloucester Veterinary Hospital as they hand over the baton to Gloucester’s new vet, Ben Willcocks.

Although Arthur has settled in to retirement quickly, jetting off to the top of Australia to do a little fishing, he looks back at the years as Gloucester’s only vet fondly.

Working in a regional town like Gloucester with a practice of 70 per cent large animals like livestock and 30 per cent small animals, like domestic pets, he has had to the opportunity to be involved in a few amazing experiences.

Once he had the chance to perform open chest surgery on the heart of on a six month old border collie. Having only practised this type of operation during his uni years, he needed to do a bit of research before picking up the scalpel. Unlike performing heart surgery on a human, Arthur said animals don’t have their heart stopped, so it was a moving target.

Ros Poynting with a finger mark (golden snapper) one of the many fish she caught while on her first fishing trip. Photo Arthur Poynting.

Ros Poynting with a finger mark (golden snapper) one of the many fish she caught while on her first fishing trip. Photo Arthur Poynting.

The dog was part of a litter of 10 and ended up outliving all of it siblings, an achievement Arthur is proud of.

He explained how this opportunity was available to him because he practised in Gloucester and the cost and ability for someone to send their dog to a specialist in Sydney was too high and therefore, for a lower price, he was able to perform the surgery himself.  

Another event he recalls involved the large animal he was so fascinated by.

A cow was distressed birthing a calf which ended up having a twisted uterus. Not only did Arthur have to figure out how to untwist it but he needed to catch her first.

She was found in a riverbed, where Arthur managed to tie her to a tree not far from the waters edge. He had one person stand on a plank of wood pressed on the cow’s belly, while he and the owner proceeded to twist the cow. The idea being the cow would move but the calve would being stopped by the plank.

“It didn’t work the first time, “ he smiled.

The person fell off the plank, so they had to do the process again but this time it worked and Arthur delivered a live calf, an experience he found very rewarding. 

Arthur and Ros sold the business six months before officially handing it over just before Easter this year.

Ros had already made plans for their first fishing adventure, where they spend nine nights in Karumba, Queensland and Ros caught her very first fish.

That’s just one of many adventures the two will enjoying during their many years of retirement.