Meet the Team
Mt Barker Veterinary Surgeons
Dr Digby Ambrose
Owner and Senior Partner, Senior Surgeon
Digby was raised in a small country town on the Murray river NSW. As a small child Digby had a very much loved Cat who unfortunately got run over and died, feeling helpless, he decided when he grew up he was going to be a Vet so he could help cats. So after finishing High school, he declined several places offered to him to study Medicine and opted to do Veterinary Science instead as he prefered animals to people. Also he knew this would give him opportunity to work in a rural environment and not be hemmed in by the city.
After Graduating with Honors from Melbourne University, he first worked at Murray Bridge SA in a large mixed animal practice then Gerringong NSW before going to England. There he worked as a locum for two year in a variety of practices gaining valuble experience over a wide and varied case load. On returning from England he purchased Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in February 1983. Overseeing the clinic’s evolution from a Rural Farm practice to a modern up to date Family Companion Animal practice.
Dr Ambrose’s Special interests are Surgery, Chemotherapy, Dermatology and Behavior. He takes a keen interest in further education and recent conferences include the World Small Animal Veterinary Conference and the Small Animal Surgical Oncology Conference. He lives on a small farm in the Bugle Ranges with his wife Miriam, two stepsons, three dogs, chickens and sheep. Digby is a reformed horse eventer and has replaced his horses with his road bicycle, which he rides whenever he can. His other passion is bush walking with his family and dogs.
Dr Ashley James
Partner, Large Animals and Herd Management, General Small Animal Medicine
Ashley is a graduate of the University of Queensland and has been practicing as a small and large animal vet since 1982. On graduation he moved to Berri, South Australia, where he worked for 4 years in a large mixed practice covering much of the Riverland and Mallee. He then moved to Sydney and worked with small animals and horses in a busy practice in Wahroonga. After a short stint in Coffs Harbour he moved to Mt Barker in 1988 and joined the practice where he remains.
Ashley’s major interests lie in horse work, cattle and sheep production and general small animal medicine. He enjoys the mixed practice aspect of the clinic and loves living and working in the Adelaide Hills. Outside of work, his passion is owning and driving sports cars. At home he has various dogs including his favourite breed, a Cocker Spaniel, birds and horses, one of which is a beautiful Clydesdale he can often be seen driving, with his wife Lesley, around the back roads of Wistow.
Dr Helene Conlon
Partner, Wildlife, General Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
Our newest partner in the practice is Dr Helene Conlon who joined the practice in April 2012. Helene grew up in the Adelaide Hills, then travelled to Perth to complete her Veterinary Studies, graduating from Murdoch University in 1993.
Since then she has worked in mixed and small animal practices in Adelaide and overseas, including a year in England travelling and working and 3 years in Tasmania working in a mixed practice. More recently she has worked at the Adelaide Specialist Veterinary and Referral Centre, looking after intensive care patients and emergency cases from around Adelaide. Her special interests include Native Animal medicine and Emergency medicine.
Helene lives in Mt Barker with her husband, 3 children and several fur-kids. She can be found on weekends helping her daughter with her horses and assisting at pony club events.
Dr Sophie Booker
We were thrilled when our new Veterinary Surgeon Sophie joined the practise beginning of 2016. Sophie found her calling after doing work experience with a Hill's Large Animals Practise where despite the fact it was winter and she was surrounded by animal muck, she loved the work and found helping animals was very rewarding, so despite being told the downsides to being a vet, she was determined this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
She recently graduated from University of Adelaide with Honours for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She was Dux of Companion Animal Medicine and won the CVE Clinical Competency Award of her graduating year. Sophie holds a particular interest in Small Animal Surgery and Oncology. She has loved meeting all our clients and their animals and has lots of experience in all aspects of a mixed small and large animal veterinary practise.
Always keen to expand her knowlege she attends many professional Veterinary sessions, workshops and conferences.
Sophie grew up in the Adelaide hills and after travelling around Australia, she is happy to now be based in the Adelaide hills which she has always loved. She lives with a menagerie of animals including alpacas, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs and two cats. At home she has various dogs including her favourite breed a Great Dane. Sophie's big baby is her blue merle Great Dane called Zahra.
Outside of the veterinary world Sophie occupies her time teaching couples dancing - West Coast Swing down in Adelaide. Sophie also loves to travel having travelled extensively during her youth from Skiing in Japan to scuba diving in Indonesia and Thailand.
Mount Barker Veterinary Support Team
At Mt Barker Veterinary Clinic we are proud to have a highly skilled and dedicated team of nurses to assist us in the care of our patients. Each nurse has their own area of expertise and together they form a close knit team that is able to provide veterinary care and management of the highest order.
Meghan Wright Veterinary Nurse
Meghan joined the Nursing team at Mount Barker Veterinary clinic beginning of 2020. Meghan has lots of experience having worked as a veterinary nurse in various veterinary clinics for 9 years, having completed her Certificate VI in Veterinary nursing. She moved to Mount Barker in 2015 with her fiancé Justin, their American Staffy Blaze, and Tippett her domestic long haired cat, so now enjoys working close to home. She also owns a Morgan horse called Charlie. Her bright and bubbly personality and hard working nature makes her a welcome member of the team. When not in the clinic, Meghan will be out horse riding or whipping up a storm baking in the kitchen.
Avril Temby Veterinary Nurse
Avril has been with the Mt Barker Veterinary clinic for nearly 30 years. Her experience ensures animals receive the best care when undergoing procedures or treatments. While now working part time even when not at work she is still surrounded by animals as she assists her daughter with her show jumpers or attends to the special needs of her own dogs.
Katie Thorpe Practice Manager
Katie our lovely Practice Manager has worked at the clinic for nearly 20 years. She first joined us as a veterinary Nurse and more recently has been promoted to Practice Manager. An exceptional nurse in all areas she was awarded the Prize for the Most Successful Student when she achieved her Diploma of Veterinary nursing. Her skills in all areas and unflappable calm nature mean that everybody is always pleased to see Katie walk through the door. Her efficiency whether in the office work or animal care and surgery are appreciated by all the team. When not at the clinic her family and menagerie of animals on her Meadow's farm take up most of her time
Hannah Jewell Veterinary Nurse
Hannah joined the team in 2010. Her dedication and knowledge became evident immediately as did her obvious respect she has for all animals. Hannah has already become a valued member of the clinic staff.
Hannah grew up on a hobby farm at Strathalbyn surrounded by a menagerie of animals. After completing high school she moved to Melbourne where she gained her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing. She worked in busy small animal clinics in Melbourne for six years until she returned to South Australia with partner Ben. Hannah has two Burmese cats and chickens. She enjoys gardening, and cooking (fantastic bread!) when she is not busy looking after her young daughters and supporting the local community.
Molly Murphy Veterinary Nurse
Molly started working at the Clinic when still at school. She did work experience with us and we quickly offered her a job. In a short time she soon become integral to the clinic especially on Saturday mornings and evenings when it is very busy. Molly finished her Cert IV Veterinary Nursing studies in 2016 and is pursuing a full time vet nursing career. Outside of work she is keen on riding and showing horses. She was selected by a national selection panel to be one of a team of only five riders to represent Australia competing in the Mounted Games at the 'Horse of the Year' in New Zealand in 2016. Molly also competes as a member of the State Team in many events including as part of the South Australian State Tent Pegging Team. She lives on a farm and has many other pets to keep her busy.
Tylani Macpherson Veterinary Nurse
Tylani started doing work experience for the vet clinic in March 2013 after completing a Diploma in Animal Technology. She liked it so much and coupled with her calm nature with animals that we quickly employed her. Tylani completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2015. She is a quiet, reliable and cheerful member of the team. She has been a member of Fauna Care and Rescue since 2009 and loves caring for animals big and small. She regularly cares for possums, ducks and birds Outside of work Tylani and her partner have to a lovely little boy to keep them busy and a bouncy Australian Shepherd called Raman
Miriam Ahrens Clinic and website manager, Dog Trainer
Miriam, Dr Ambrose's wife has always taken an active interest in the clinic. She managed the clinic rebuild from concept to drawings to final completion, liaising with the builders and handling all the day to day decisions. Miriam created the clinic's website and maintains it's contents, photo's and Facebook page. Miriam maintains the clinic, gardens and grounds. Miriam also runs our very successful Puppy Preschool having had lots of experience having been involved in the Dog world for over twenty five years. She breeds Welsh Springer Spaniels and is involved in showing, obedience training and tracking. When not thinking of ways to make the Clinic better, she is looking after her and Dr Digby's hobby farm, many pets and two boys.
Mandy Hissey Veterinary Nurse
Mandy grew up on a vineyard in Langhorne Creek, enjoying the benefit of having experience with lots of animals including sheep and cattle, and even snuck a horse or two into the paddock. She groomed and travelled with polo ponies and racehorses for many enjoyable years until she started her family.
She joined Glenside Veterinary clinic in March 2006, a small and exotic animals clinic, which incorporated Adelaide Dog Mobility and Hydrotherapy in Adelaide. Mandy completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2008 and is currently studying her Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.
Mandy joined Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in September 2014 to expand her nursing experiences and to be closer to home. She lives with her husband and two children, and of course the chooks, budgies, her horses and Merlin, her adopted cat. Her other interests include photography and helping at her local show jumping club. She is enjoys helping our clients and patients as well as working with her colleagues immensely.
Simone Swansson Veterinary Nurse
Simone joined the Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2019. Before coming to us, she completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing and worked in various other Veterinary Clinics so has a wealth of experience to draw on. She is often the friendly voice on the end of the phone when you ring up and that greets you as you walk through the door. Friendly, caring, efficient and very organised, she is the glue that hold our team together on busy days. Outside of work she and her husband are kept active with their three busy children and assorted animals.