Meet the Melbourne Bird Vet team

Established in 2000, the Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic moved into it’s new purpose built clinic in 2009. The clinic is one of only two bird-only veterinary clinics in Australia and is the only bird-only veterinary clinic in Victoria.

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Dr Matt Gosbell
CO-OWNER - BVSc, MANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)

Matt has had a lifelong passion for ‘all creatures great and small’. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1994 he had a stint in dairy practice in Gippsland and then headed off to work in James Herriot-style mixed practices in the north of Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

Versatile, resourceful and loving surgery, coming back to Melbourne Matt started working at Monash Vet, a small animal practice doing cutting edge work with reproductive technologies. He then moved over to Springvale Animal Hospital, now part of the Greencross network, where avian veterinarians Drs David Madill and Doug Black had done excellent pioneering work on the veterinary care of birds. Taking over their avian caseload, Matt earned his Membership in the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) in Bird Medicine and Surgery in 2007 and went on to serve as Veterinary Director at Springvale for 17 years. He took over Dr Madill’s responsibilities teaching the Cage and Aviary Bird Medicine course to veterinary students at the University of Melbourne and began teaching nurses at Melbourne Polytechnic.

In 2017 Matt hired avian specialist Dr Pat Macwhirter, who had sold her long standing avian/small animal clinic in Burwood. While continuing his duties at Veterinary Director at Springvale, he commenced a training program through the ANZCVS working internationally and under Dr Pat’s supervision to achieve official specialist recognition in Bird Medicine and Surgery. He expects to complete this in 2021. Out of left field, early in 2019, Dr Colin Walker offered to sell Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic to Matt and Pat. After considerable soul searching they accepted, moving over to the Scoresby Clinic in September 2019.

Matt has presented and written many excellent articles, seminars and webinars on Avian Medicine and surgery, as well as teaching and writing courses in Avian Medicine from basic to post graduate level. He is a keen cyclist and has two energetic young sons, Seth and Nathan.

You know your bird will be in good hands with Dr Pat as she has worked and studied both in Australia and overseas and has been a trail blazer in Bird Medicine, being, in 1993, the first person in Victoria to gain Veterinary Board recognition as a Specialist in Avian Medicine. She descends from early American pioneers but her family moved far west, all the way to Sydney, Australia when she was twelve and she went on to graduate, with honours, as a vet from Sydney University and, afterwards, went back to the USA to complete an internship and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Returning to Australia in 1980, she opened Burwood Bird and Animal Hospital and owned or co-owned that clinic until 2015, when it was sold, and she enjoyed a brief year’s retirement before starting work with fellow avian vet Dr Matt Gosbell at Greencross Vets, Springvale. She has always had an interest in birds, bird watching and bird medicine and surgery and, over the years, has kept and bred budgies, Major Mitchell Cockatoos and galahs, peacocks and Quaker parrots. She has authored or co-authored numerous scientific papers, books and conference proceedings and has been an invited speaker at veterinary and other conferences in Asia, Central America, North America, Europe and Australia. She and Dr Matt are both excited about owning and working in a clinic treating birds exclusively and the opportunities this presents for helping bird owners and doing cutting edge work in the field.

Pat is passionate about getting people connected with nature and trying to stem our current global wave of species extinctions. She owns Harewood, a remarkable 150 year old heritage-listed property on Western Port and currently serves as President of the Healesville to Phillip Island Nature Link (see https://www.hpnl.org.au/ ). She has grown up children and two gorgeous little granddaughters, Heidi and Claudia.

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Dr Pat Macwhirter
CO-OWNER - BVSc (Hons), MA, PhD, FANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)

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Dr Madeleine Rowe DVM

After working with predominantly dogs and cats in a busy country veterinary clinic for 14 months, an unmissable opportunity arose to work as an avian veterinarian at Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic. Maddie was fortunate to work with Dr Colin Walker for six months before the clinic was acquired by the legendary Dr Pat Macwhirter and Dr Matthew Gossbell (another great stroke of luck!).
Maddie developed a strong interest in avian health while at university after being lectured by none other than Dr Matthew Gossbell, and in 2016 received the national UPAV (Unusual Pet and Avian Veterinarians) student scholarship for her endeavours in exotic animal medicine. Not surprisingly, her favourite part of the job is the variety of birds she treats on a daily basis (although she has a particularly soft spot for budgies, being the proud owner of two little characters herself, Jasper and Benji).
Outside of work, Maddie loves the great outdoors and is passionate about its conservation. She is a published researcher on the treatment of sarcoptic mange in wildlife and continues to work as a cat and dog veterinarian in Echuca on a fortnightly basis.
Maddie is excited to be part of the team that grows Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic and looks forward to meeting you and your feathered companions!

Dr Colin Walker BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS

Dr Colin Walker, who founded Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic, is an internationally recognised authority on racing and exhibition pigeons and has been a prolific author in the field. He retired in 2019 when he sold MBVC to Drs Matt Gosbell and Pat Macwhirter but continues to race pigeons and keep a wide variety of birds in his retirement. Colin still owns The Australian Pigeon Company https://www.auspigeonco.com.au and enjoys collaborating with the avian veterinarians at MBVC on challenging cases.

Veterinary Nurses

Tawny has been a nurse at Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic since 2015, before this she had been studying/working in small animal practices for about 6 years. Tawny has always had a love for animals, but discovered her passion for birds when she adopted an Eclectus Parrot named ‘Ringo’ through a previous workplace. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the personality and intelligence of Ringo and ever since then, she has been very interested in learning all she can about the health and wellbeing of pet birds. Tawny really enjoys meeting the various different birds that come into the clinic, and chatting with like-minded bird owners.

Tawny currently lives with her partner Andrew, her two rescue dogs Indi and Boris and her Yellow-Crowned Amazon Parrot named Kip. When not in the clinic, Tawny also works at a pet supplies store. On her rare days off, you can find her spending as much time with her family and pets as possible.

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Tawny Smith
Cert IV Veterinary Nurse

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Tracey Hamilton
Cert IV Veterinary Nurse

Tracey is a lifelong animal lover who after 20+ years of working in IT finally made the long awaited career change in 2017. Starting off at the RSPCA studying Cert 2 in Animal Studies, as well as volunteering at the Burwood RSPCA she found that she really enjoyed caring for the birds and exotics the most. Having had many animals of her own over the years, Tracey is now a Cert IV qualified Vet Nurse and loves helping treat all types of animals with a rapidly developing passion for wildlife and exotics! She enjoys studying behaviour in all types of animals and enjoys talking to Bird parents about their feathered babies’ quirks.
When Tracey was offered the position at Melbourne Bird Vet it was like a dream come true and she loves coming in to work and learning as much as she can about nursing our feathered friends!

Tracey’s family currently consists of Daisy the Jack Russell cross, Toby the chocolate lab, Dory the fluffy cat, Larry the elderly Tonkinese and Trillian the rescue Pearly Conure as well as a husband, 2 children and 2 grandsons! In her spare time she knits, plays video games, trains her Labrador pup and spends as much time as possible with her grandsons.

Rebecca has a deep passion for the welfare and conservation of all animals, especially for birds. She hails from Canberra of Malaysia parents but headed to Melbourne at an early age.
Previous work volunteering at the RSPCA as an animal attendant and in quarantine, as well as working at a bird and cat boarding facility has given her experience and skills with pets and owners. When Rebecca is not working at MBVC, she still works in the animal industry as a cattery attendant and a pet minder, dog walker and assisting in some grooming jobs. Her studies in animal and veterinary biosciences and her interest and background working with multiple species has given her a taste for veterinary nursing and working with a wide variety of bird species. She has been building on since she began work at Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic.

At home Rebecca has a rabbit and four companion birds: two princess parrots, a cockatiel, and a rainbow lorikeet. Every animal is unique and treated as a unique individual and character in Rebecca’s eyes.

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Rebecca Liew
Trainee Veterinary Nurse

Alex has always had a passion for caring for animals. Originally from Perth, Alex grew up surrounded by animals and volunteered at a wildlife shelter for years while studying. It was here that she fell in love with native wildlife, in particular, birds. Over the years, she helped rehabilitate a variety of species from tiny honey-eaters, to ravens, cockatoos and everything in between.

Since moving to Melbourne in 2016, Alex continued working in pet retail and pet minding. When offered a position at Melbourne Bird Vet she was absolutely over the moon at the opportunity to gain experience in an exceptional, exclusively avian veterinary clinic while completing her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing

Alex lives with her partner, Brodie and their furry family consisting of their Australian Shepherd (Drake), two cats (Anakin and Los) and fish. When she isn’t at MBVC you will probably find her camping or hiking through the wilderness with her partner and their dog.

At home Rebecca has a rabbit and four companion birds: two princess parrots, a cockatiel, and a rainbow lorikeet. Every animal is unique and treated as a unique individual and character in Rebecca’s eyes.

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Alex Baker
Trainee Veterinary Nurse