Celia Dickason

Photo of Celia Dickason

Veterinarian, Disease Surveillance Expert

Celia and her team are the Sherlock Holmeses of the Biosecurity Animal Health Unit of PIRSA.

They detect and deal with exotic or dangerous animal diseases that enter South Australia, and protect humans and animals from those we aren’t free from. They protect animal and human health, our livestock industry and local and overseas markets – and the State’s clean and green reputation as premium producers.

Celia sits on state and national bodies, including Wildlife Health Australia and the Veterinary Surgeons Board of SA.

I studied veterinary science at Pretoria University, South Africa. I’m now doing a Masters degree in Veterinary Public Health through Melbourne University.

I grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and always wanted to be a vet. To get my qualifications I had to go to university in Pretoria, 1200 kilometres from home.

After graduating, I worked in mixed practice and small clinics in the UK and South Africa for several years but began to find the work tedious at times – and euthanasing pets and charging people could be stressful.

I applied for a government veterinary job in Pretoria and the rest is history. I worked for the National Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services in the Epidemiology and Informatics section and I loved it.

In 2003 I was offered a job in South Australia with PIRSA, flew over for a look, fell in love with the place and moved the family!

I loved becoming tech-savvy and looking at the big, national picture of animal disease control and surveillance.

I enjoy the technical and scientific side of my work, as well as the people side. I like having autonomy, managing projects and thinking strategically.

My smartest move was leaving private practice and joining the government. It can be a very rewarding, stimulating and interesting career.

My job is never boring and I have so many things on the go at the same time! It is multi-tasking at its best, I think.

I’ve learned that I’ll never stop learning. The more you learn about something, the more you realise what you don’t know.

Quote : "I think agriculture in South Australia is ready for more women. We are taken seriously and valued."

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