Hank (Hendrick) van Schaik 1927–2005

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  • ScientificScientificScientificScientific

    766 Australian Veterinary Journal Volume 83, No 12, December 2005

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    (Acepted for publication 30 September 2005)

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    OBITUARYHank (Hendrick) van Schaik

    1927 - 2005

    Hank was the type of person, and veterinarian that our profession in Australia most needs. He was an honest, competent and compassionate vet, who choseto work in rural large animal practice from the time of his graduation, first in New Zealand and then in South Australia.Hank grew up in a farming family in De Zwarte Kat village on the River Amstel in Holland. This rural background was an important guiding influence throughhis later life. During World War II his country was occupied by the German forces and in 1944/45 Hank was involved with the underground resistance forces inhis country. After the war he was conscripted into the Dutch army for two years and served in a Tank and Scouting Regiment. Always keen to undertake a vet-erinary career, he enrolled in Veterinary Science at Utrecht University after the war ended. He was the adventurous one of his family and due to financial con-straints of a family farm and the cost of university fees he cut short his studies and immigrated to New Zealand in 1952. Initially he worked on a dairy farm nearRongatea and soon moved to a 25,000 head sheep station near Dannevirke, where he stayed until the end of 1952. Here he was initiated into the game ofRugby. Keen to continue his veterinary studies, he enrolled in the University of Wellington for the first year of the course, gaining a government VeterinaryServices bursary and supplementing his income by working as an auxiliary fireman at night. With twelve other New Zealanders he graduated from Sydney Universityin 1957. During the fourth year Hank met Tina (Christina) Cleef, also from Holland, at the faculty dinner and they were married on 23 February 1957.From 1958 to 1963 Hank worked in Club practices at Hawera and Matamata, and after a short time in private practice the family moved to South Australia, andHank took over the veterinary practice at Maitland on Yorke Peninsula, previously run by Bill Wignall. Hank developed the practice, establishing branch prac-tices at Kadina and Yorketown to help reduce the huge mileages involved in servicing the whole Peninsula from Maitland.He was a Life Member of the Australian Veterinary Association, and a staunch supporter of the Rural Veterinary Practitioners Branch of the South AustralianDivision, valuing the contact and interaction with other rural practitioners. As a wise and experienced practitioner Hank was a wonderful mentor and realisticmodel for the young vets who came to work with him.After 27 very productive years at Maitland, Hank and Tina retired to Adelaide in 1991. In his recent book for his grandchildren, on his life and family in Holland,he gave his reasons for retiring. To me, being a vet had always been a way of life. The composition of the practice had begun to change with less large ani-mals, as had the attitude of the people; loyalty and trust became less important and behaviour became more demanding and aggressive. Although I still enjoyedtreating the animals I was well and truly ready to retire.Hank died on 23 April and is survived by his wife Tina, their children Michael, Peter and Ingrid and their families. They were all fortunate to have had Hank intheir lives and will miss him greatly. Those of us in the veterinary profession who knew him were fortunate to have had his influence on our lives and the profes-sion would benefit by having more people like him. We extend our sincere sympathy and understanding to his family on his passing.

    Andrew Doube and Robin Giesecke

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