204 FLAXLEY ROAD, MOUNT BARKER |08 8391 1404
EMERGENCY CARE AVAILABLE FROM 6.30am - 10.30pm TO REGULAR CLIENTS Business Hours; Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 7pm Sat :8.30am -1pm

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.

Dr Adrianna Ruggiero

Veterinarian, General Small Animal Medicine

Dr Adrianna joined the Mount Barker Veterinary Clinic in 2021 having graduated from University of Adelaide's Veterinary School. She loves the variety of cases she sees here in the hills and meeting all our clients. She lives in the Hills with her partner and several animals and likes to explore the local winerys and spend time in the great outdoors.



Mount Barker Veterinary Support Team

A selection of our wonderful nursing team

At Mt Barker Veterinary Clinic we are proud to have a highly skilled and dedicated team of qualified Vet Nurses and Kennel hands 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. We would not be able to acheive the wonderful Veterinay service and quality care for your animals without our wonderful support team. Vet Nurses in a typical day might:

  • Answer phones and manage reception
  • Triage animals as they arrive at a veterinary clinic to determine the severity of their illness or injury
  • Prepare consultation rooms, treatment area, and hospital area and Operating theatres so all equipment is clean, sterile and ready for use
  • Assist with and monitor the administration of anaesthetics
  • Make up and setrilse surgical kits
  • Assist the Vet in theatre
  • Assist in radiology with xrays and ultrasounds
  • dress wounds and post-surgical care
  • Set up and supervise intravenous drips and transfusions
  • Be a lab technician obtaining pathology samples and performing diagnostic tests
  • Support and comfort grieving owners
  • Monitor animal’s vital signs while hospitalised and report to the veterinarian on duty
  • Organise the discharge of animals from surgery or consultations, compiling information for follow-up care
  • Feed and medicate animals staying at the clinic
  • Weigh animals and checking on current medications
  • Managing stock levels of food, medications and accessories
  • Assist the Vet in consults
  • Administration
  • Endless washing and drying
  • Lots and lots of cleaning!

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

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.