Our Story

A brief history

The formation of the Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science (PGF) at the University of Sydney in 1965 came about as a result of a group of forward-thinking veterinarians from industry, academia and government recognising, during the 1950s, the growing need for continuing veterinary education. This resulted in the world's first membership-based organisation dedicated to postgraduate veterinary education. A key initiative was organizing the delivery of regular refresher courses of two to five days’ duration. In the first year two courses were held and by 1996 there were 68. The organisation has evolved to cater for the changing needs of the veterinary profession and to accommodate the rapid changes in technology. Conferences and seminars have been supplemented by a range of practical workshops, short online courses and year long distance education courses.

In 1989 the organisation moved from the original offices in Pitt Street into new offices in the Veterinary Science Conference Centre at the University of Sydney. In 2008 the PGF was renamed the Centre for Veterinary Education to reflect its true nature and operation as a centre within The University of Sydney. As a centre it has continued to evolve and develop to suit the needs of the profession, with increasing participation of overseas veterinarians from Asia, Europe and North America in particular.

The CVE has always had an affiliation with the veterinary school at the University of Sydney, which has grown stronger since 2010 and continues to evolve as a symbiotic relationship with the Sydney School of Veterinary Science (SSVS). Many of the original speakers and presenters for the PGF were academics and clinical staff from the Faculty of Veterinary Science and this tradition has continued to the present day, with the ongoing involvement of many SSVS staff along with former staff and veterinary specialists from Australia and the rest of the world.


1968 - 1987

Dr Tom Hungerford


The first director was Dr T.G. Hungerford OBE BVSc FACVSc HAD Fellow of the University of Sydney. Tom Hungerford led the profession with great distinction for many years and was responsible for expanding the practical application of veterinary science within the community, through his encouragement to veterinarians to embrace all aspects of animal health and production in keeping with their training.

Throughout his professional life Tom received many honours. The Queen made him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire; the University of Sydney conferred on him an Honorary Fellowship of the University and the profession continued to honour him in his retirement. In 1998 The Australian College of Veterinary Scientists honoured him with an oration delivered by Dr Douglas Bryden. All who knew Tom, and those who were so fortunate to work with him held a warm affection for him. The CVE honours him regularly through the T.G. Hungerford Award for Excellence in Post Graduate Education, an award conferred on those who have made a notable contribution to continuing veterinary education.

He was a prolific author and published a number of textbooks, of which the most popular "Diseases of Livestock" is available as the 9th edition.

Tom frequently enjoined vets to follow the ‘goanna track’ to success. Hence that term and the singularly Australian goanna motif often feature in CVE communications.

Tom died on 29 September 2007.

1987 - 2000

Dr Douglas Bryden


In 1987, Tom Hungerford, was succeeded as Director by Dr Douglas Bryden. Doug conducted a mixed practice in Tamworth, NSW for many years. He was a founding member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, the first Chairman of the Cattle Chapter, and President of the College in 1987/88, As Director, Doug instigated the Distance Education programs, with the first courses started in 1991. These intensive courses have now grown to be recognised as world-class education for veterinarians.

In 1994 Doug was awarded the Gilruth Prize, the highest honour of the AVA. He left the PGF in March 2000 to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Doug was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in recognition of his work in veterinary science, notably in the fields of continuing education and clinical practice. Sadly he died in November 2019.

2000 - 2002

Dr Bill Howey


Dr Bill Howey was Director from 2000 to 2002. His strong background in veterinary practice and education proved invaluable to the PGF. Bill, at the time of his appointment, was no stranger to the PGF. He had served as a Veterinary Consultant to the Foundation since 1996 and as Associate Director in 1999. As consultant he was involved in producing over 80 ‘TimeOut' seminars throughout Australia which were attended by over a thousand veterinary delegates. He was also closely involved in the planning and delivery of some major courses, specifically equine.

Bill's fine sense of equity, his openness and kindness have contributed as a lasting legacy continuing the tradition of supporting the members of the veterinary community with the best quality continuing education.

Bill retired for health reasons after two years, resigning in August 2002.

2003 - 2007

Dr Michele Cotton


In May 2002 Dr Michele Cotton became acting Director until December 2003, when she was appointed Director of the Post Graduate Foundation.

Michele’s extensive career in veterinary practice in Australia and Saudi Arabia encompassed both large and small animal veterinary medicine and surgery, zoo animals, wildlife, teaching and research. Having been a solitary practitioner for much of her professional career and a grateful recipient of PGF support, she was aware of its importance to veterinarians worldwide.

Under Michele’s leadership the innovative online course, TimeOnline, was developed in 2006. In October the same year a continuing education program for veterinary nurses was launched. This was a series of specially designed annual workshops, and 70 vet nurses attended the first course ‘Intensive Care and Anaesthesia—A Nursing Perspective’.

Michele was a strong guardian of the directorship until she left in November 2007 to pursue other career options. Michele succumbed to the effects of rapidly progressing motor neurone disease in December 2019.

2008 - present

Dr Hugh White


Dr Hugh White was appointed Director in March 2008 and brought fresh vision and energy to lead the way into a more vibrant time. Hugh had served on the PGF Advisory Council for a number of years, endeavouring to expand the services that were offered to members. As President he engaged with the University of Sydney to resolve issues that impacted on our future and facilitated the PGF realignment within the University as a Centre.

Hugh had over 35 years’ experience as a practising veterinarian, predominantly in mixed rural practices. His interest in continuing education evolved while completing a Masters in equine reproduction, studying for his ANZCVS membership, and presenting lectures at PGF courses held under Tom Hungerford's directorship. He was on the AEVA (now EVA) executive for seven years and was actively involved in the growth and development of the Bain Fallon annual conference

Hugh’s insight into the workings of the CVE, combined with his veterinary experience and knowledge, has enabled him confidently to bring his own style to the directorship of The Centre for Veterinary Education.