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Founding Member, Dr Ted Donelan steps down from the AMRRIC Board

A snapshot of veterinarian Dr Ted Donelan's service to AMRRIC over sixteen years.

At its AGM in October, AMRRIC farewelled the last of its founding members from the Board. Dr Edward (Ted) Donelan stepped down after 16 years of voluntary service to the organisation.  Ted had been an AMRRIC Board Member since its beginnings, serving in leadership roles as Vice President from 2008-10 and again in 2017, and as President from 2011-16. AMRRIC is indebted to Ted for his many years of dedication and advocacy, championing improved veterinary service delivery in remote Indigenous communities across Australia.  AMRRIC wishes Ted all the very best in his future endeavours.

In this article, long-time AMRRIC supporter and Pro Bono Governance Consultant Mr Philip Pogson reflects on Dr Ted and his contribution.

Edward is a slightly old-fashioned name these days, unless of course you’re a member of the royal family! It conjures up images of men in white flannel trousers playing cricket or drinking sherry after the game. In Australia we shorten Edward to the far more acceptable, single syllable, “Ted”. Most Teds I’ve known are practical types, competent men of action, and no more so than Dr Ted Donelan, long term AMRRIC President. 

Up in the Top End “Dr Ted” only refers to one person: the big bloke with the beard, the vet who looks after dogs in remote communities. When I walked the streets of Maningrida with Ted while volunteering with AMRRIC people just came up to him and started a conversation, mostly about their dogs. “Hey Dr Ted”, one Aboriginal man called out at the general store in Maningrida, “You remember that hunting dog of mine, you gave him an operation a couple of years back? He’s real good now!”

The residents of Maningrida trust Ted with their animals, they know he’ll treat them with respect and give them the best treatment he can. One of Ted’s key motivators is fairness: he wants remote community members and their animals to get access to the same quality of care available in the big cities and towns. His disdain for unhelpful bureaucracy that gets in the way of this goal is boundless! 

Ted is a doer but he’s also a thinker and a reader. For the years I’ve known him he’s regularly given me books to read, largely books about Aboriginal Australia and Aboriginal communities. He always wants to know more, and to deepen his understanding of the people he is working with and the regions where they live.  

Ted’s contribution to the health and well-being of remote Aboriginal community animals is immense, not only in terms of the animals he has treated, but in regard to the politicians he’s lobbied, his input into policy development, his advocacy within the Australian Veterinary Association and the hours and hours he’s put into AMRRIC as an organisation.

Working with Ted has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I wish him a long and happy alleged retirement peppered with many more visits to Maningrida. 

Philip Pogson, Director – The Leading Partnership 



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