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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.79 n.1 Pretoria  2008




Veterinary education in South Africa: The Classes of 1934 & 1935



R D Bigalke

231 Charles Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria, 0181, South Africa




The Class of 1934 included 2 graduates who created milestones for the veterinary profession in South Africa. Jack Boswell was the first Onderstepoort graduate to start his own private practice without ever joining the government service. George van der Wath has the distinction of being the only South African veterinarian to become Chairman of the prestigious South African Wool Board. Ashton Tarr was President of the South African Veterinary Medical Association from 1966-1969. Concise descriptions are given of the varied life histories of the 14 members of the Classes of 1934 and 1935. All except Boswell initially joined government service, one serving mainly in the Colonial Service before eventually returning to South Africa. Three spent their entire careers in the South African Veterinary (Field) Services, finally occupying very senior positions in that division. One ended his career lecturing at a university. Lambrechts was the first veterinarian to occupy the 'resurrected' post of Director of Veterinary Services reserved for field veterinarians. Only one of the graduates opted for research, but went farming after obtaining a DVSc degree. Three spent the greater part of their careers in private practice, Thiel from as early as 1937. Two went into municipal (public health) service, one becoming director of an abattoir. Only one saw military service in World War II. Two died before they were 50 years old. Unfortunately, virtually nothing is known about Erasmus' career. At 97 Thiel holds the distinction of being the oldest Onderstepoort graduate.

Key words: 1934 & 1935, graduates, military service, private practice, public health, research, South African Wool Board, state veterinarians, veterinary association



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1. Bigalke R D 2007 The Classes of 1934 and 1935. OPNews 7(2): 8-11        [ Links ]

2. Boswell J G No date Timbadola - Adventures of a veterinary surgeon in Africa. Privately published        [ Links ]

3. Boswell J G 1999 A vet in Africa. Published by the Advisory Bureau for Development of The South African Veterinary Foundation, Pretoria        [ Links ]

4. Obituaries of some deceased veterinarians published in the Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association/South African Veterinary Association and VetNews        [ Links ]

5. Posthumus P J Past veterinarians in South Africa. Undated and unpublished collection of summarised curricula vitae of deceased veterinarians. Archives of the South African National Veterinary Museum        [ Links ]

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