Dr Seagle, a Polish refugee was the first veterinarian. From all accounts, he may not have been that popular with the farmers as he didn’t like going out after dark and he didn’t like making calls to places he considered the back blocks e.g. Paparimu.
He was replaced in 1946 by Gordon Yockney, who arrived in Auckland by ship from England to be met at the wharf by farmers representing both the Franklin and Matamata Vet Clubs.
The offer of a ready to use house, (and flowers for his wife Mrs Robina Yockney) ensured the Yockneys moved straight from the wharf to Papakura, where Gordon commenced working for the Franklin Vet Club.
At this time, Dr Yockney covered an area from One Tree Hill to Kaiaua, Mercer and Waiuku, in what was aptly known as a fire brigade service. There were only two or three small animal vets in Auckland and no drug wholesalers. Calcium borogluconate was made by boiling calcium gluconate and boracic acid on the kitchen stove. There were no intramammary antibiotic tubes; instead, acriflavine salves were made in Robina’s bathtub. Sulphur drugs had been used on troops in WW2 and were only about to arrive in veterinary medicine. Penicillin was not mass-produced until 1944 and it was nearly 1950 before it could be used by vets.
Gordon was soon joined by Joe Gould, Ken Scott, other international vets and a young Kiwi trained in Australia, under Veterinary Service Council Scholarships and bonds.
Gordon, Joe and Ken formed a private practice, Franklin Veterinary Services and moved into their first Papakura clinic in Elliot Street. They contracted their services to the Club and its members, becoming the first contract vet practice in NZ, setting the model that many followed.
Massey University graduated its first class of vets including Gordon and Robina’s son Nigel. In 1971 Nigel joined Franklin Vets at Pukekohe. The Pukekohe clinic, surgery and dispensary became located in the spartan surroundings of Nigel’s basement garage in Station Road, supported by an office in the main street.
Ross Beal joined the practice. Gordon, Joe and Ken were working in Papakura supported by the Americans Joe and Tedi Busch. Nigel, Stu Southwell and Ian Douglas worked in Pukekohe. Gordon retired later that year.
Tedi Busch set about developing the small animal side of the practice and new clinics, with modern small animal facilities were opened in both Papakura and Pukekohe. Small animal services continued to grow.
Two companies were also formed in 1977: Franklin Veterinary Holdings which would own the new buildings and the operating company, Franklin Veterinary services (1977) Ltd, which is the company we still operate under today.
Phil Holloway joined the practice in 1977 followed by John Maclachlan in 1978 when Ross Beal left on his OE. A band of 9-10 vets worked together through the late 1970’s.
Nick Twyford joined the practice as our second dedicated companion animal vet.
The practice has expanded to Waiuku, Te Kauwhata, Taupiri, Kopu, Beachlands, Paeroa, Karaka, and Waitakaruru with the most recent acquisition being Waihi Vets in 2021.
The veterinary team has grown to 46, with 25 focused on farm and equine work plus 21 caring for companion animals. The vets are supported by a team of vet nurses, vet technicians, customer service and administration staff, bringing the total employees to just over 200.
In 2021, we celebrated our 77th Anniversary with team members old and new joining together for a fun evening of reminiscing and socialising.
Franklin Vets has a reputation throughout the veterinary profession for innovation and leadership, from being the first contract practice to the leadership roles several of the current Directors hold within the profession today.
The current Directors and team are committed to continuing to provide you and your animals with the high quality services and innovations established by the founders of the practice.