Meet the Team
Mt Barker Veterinary Surgeons
Dr Digby Ambrose
Owner and Senior Partner, Senior Surgeon, Animal Behaviour
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, the Small Animal Surgical Oncology Conference and the Australian Veterinary Association's annual Conferences. He is a member of The Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group and has undertaken extra education on Animal Behaviour. He is growing his Behavioural work as there is greater awareness of our animals mental health and the need for Force Free Positive Training. He lives on a small farm in the Bugle Ranges with his wife Miriam, two sons, sheep, many dogs, and rescue cat. Digby is a reformed horse eventer. 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
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
Partner, General Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
We were thrilled when Dr Sophie Booker joined the practice in 2015, and after 5 years of hard work was welcomed as a partner in 2020. Sophie's warm caring energy, outstanding work ethic and ongoing dedication to our clients and patients has made her a great asset to the team.
Sophie 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, previously helping train veterinary graduates at the University of Adelaide as a part of the spey neuter clinic.
Always keen to expand her knowledge she attends many continuing education workshops and conferences, and has recently completed a 2-year course in Small Animal Medicine through the College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK.
Sophie grew up travelling around Australia with her parents and two younger brothers, settling in the Adelaide hills as a young teen. Having travelled extensively through her early twenties including living and working as a Vet in the UK, she is happy to now be based in the Adelaide hills. She lives with her partner, who is also a veterinarian, and a menagerie of animals including many adoptees from the clinic.Outside of the veterinary world, Sophie loves to get her hands dirty with a large rose garden and vegetable patch keeping her busy. Sophie and her partner also travel regularly, visiting family overseas and pursuing their love of scuba diving.
Dr Lucie Manifold
Veterinarian, Large Animals, General Small Animal Medicine
Dr Lucie Manifold who joined the practice in 2016 and brightens us all up with her positive down to earth nature and stories that make us laugh.
She is very experienced with large animals and well as small animals having worked in mixed animal Vet practices in nearly every state of Australia over the years, moving with her husband as he followed his career.
Lucie lives in Woodside with her husband, 2 children, horses and Hungarian Visla Tish. She can be found on weekends helping her daughter with her horses and assisting at pony club events.
Veterinarian, General Small Animal Medicine
Philipa joined the Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2021 having worked in South Africa as a Vet for many years. She loves the variety of cases she sees here in the hills and meeting all our clients. She has an interest in reptiles, birds and other exotic pets. She lives in Crafers with her husband and children and their dogs.
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.
Katie Thorpe Practice Manager
Katie our lovely Practice Manager has worked at the clinic for over 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 Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2010 and has been with us ever since. She was offered an apprenticeship soon after starting as a kennel hand whilst still at high school and went on to complete her certificate IV studies in 2016. Molly is a well-loved member of staff by clients and patients alike. Whilst she enjoys time in our surgical suite managing patients during and after surgical procedures, she loves nothing more than being out on the front desk to greet new and old clients, and of course sneak in some cuddles with the patients!Outside of the veterinary clinic Molly loves spending time with her two dogs Bobby and Elsie, as well as riding her horses and doing work around the house. Molly is an accomplished Mounted Games rider, having travelled overseas to compete in USA and New Zealand.
Clodagh Riley Veterinary Nurse
Clodagh started working for the vet clinic in 2021 after completing a Degree in Animal Science and Behaviour. She enjoys the challenge of working with animals and has a keen interest in furthering her studies. Clodagh is currently studying her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. She is a practical, reliable and cheerful member of the team. She has grown up on a farm and loves caring for animals big and small. She regularly cares for possums, and other animals that need a helping hand. Outside of work Clodagh and her partner help her parents on their farm and spend time with her dog and cat.
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 Barker Behaviour and Training, a Force Free, Positive Dog Training Centre adjacent to the Vet clinic. Barker Behaviour runs regular dog training courses and private lessons in their dedicated all weather training facility and outdoor Dog training park. She has run our very successful Puppy Preschool for many years, having completed training in Animal Behaviour and Training through the Karen Pryor Training Academy. Her wealth of experience spans a lot of different breeds and disciplines having been involved in the Dog world for over twenty five years both as a competitor, instructor and breeder. Miriam and Dr Digby regularly attend Veterinary Animal Behaviour seminars and workshops. 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. Mandy completed her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in 2008 and in 2019 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.
Meghan Wright Veterinary Nurse
Meg joined the Nursing team at Mount Barker Veterinary clinic beginning of 2020. Meg 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, Meg will be out horse riding or whipping up a storm baking in the kitchen.
Mandy Pfau Veterinary Nurse
Mandy rejoined us at Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2019 after previously working with us for 6 years and then having a break to pursue other interests.
Mandy has a vast amount of experience from working at several Veterinary Practices and The RSPCA commencing her nursing career in 1985. Mandy completed her Cert IV in Veterinary nursing and enjoys keeping up with continuing education study.
Mandy lives with her husband on their farm along with their two rescue Staffy crosses Tilda and Colin, 4 rescue cats, 5 horses ,2 pet cows and wombat Doug.
Outside of work she is a keen gardener and loves creating funky art pieces.
Tiarna Sharrad Veterinary Nurse Trainee
Tiarna joined the Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2019 as a Junior. After completing her Animal Studies Certificate 3 in High School, Tiarna then started her Certificate 4 in Vet Nursing at the beginning of 2020. Tiarna has been around animals since she was very young and lives on a property with horses, dogs, cats and rescued sheep and cows. Outside of work Tiarna enjoys playing woman’s Football and riding her horse Dancer.