The staff at Berrimah Veterinary Laboratories (BVL) sadly farewell Dr Anton Janmaat, who passed away May 19, 2018.
Anton immigrated to Australia from Holland at 18 years of age. Having an interest in the rural environment, he obtained work on various farms in Victoria. He was successful in obtaining Veterinary cadetship from the Victorian Department of Agriculture which allowed him to undertake his degree in Veterinary Science. He completed the first year of his degree at the University at Melbourne then went to University of Sydney to complete his degree.
Following graduation, he worked in the Victorian Department of Agriculture as District Veterinary Officer in Bendigo for several years before entering veterinary practice at Naracoorte on the Victoria/ South Australia border. Following some years in practice, he once again heard the calling of academia and returned to Holland to pursue his interest in veterinary pathology. Anton was appointed to a senior lectureship in veterinary pathology at Utrecht University.
Anton then decided to pursue a more research focussed career which led him to Massey University in New Zealand. Here he undertook a Masters degree in Veterinary Science which involved research into ceroid lipofuscinosis of sheep. Following the successful completion of his Masters degree, Anton returned to Australia and joined the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) as a Veterinary Officer, based on Cocos Island at the Quarantine Station where he was responsible for running the laboratory and pre-import testing on animals destined to enter Australia.
From AQIS, he again returned to academic studies, commencing a PhD at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville in the Department of Tropical Veterinary Science, undertaking research into pestiviruses. Anton’s time at JCU instilled in him a deep interest in tropical animal health and production and left him with a commitment to working in tropical areas. Following the successful completion of his Doctorate, Anton joined the West Australian Department of Agriculture in Kununurra, where he worked on the fat-tailed sheep program. This program, together with Anton, was subsequently transferred to Wongan Hills in southern Western Australia.
Pursuing his interest in tropical animal health, 15 years ago, Anton joined the BVL team where he remained until his retirement in 2007. Over his career, Anton made substantial contributions to animal health in Australia and elsewhere. It is fair to say that nowhere has his contribution been greater than in the Northern Territory. Anton is an accomplished and experienced veterinary pathologist with a sound knowledge of veterinary microbiology and parasitology, who has contributed enormously to our understanding of the diseases affecting animals in the Territory and to protecting the livestock industries from disease. Through his activities and the activities of other staff at BVL, he supported exports of animals and ensured market access for Northern Territory products. Anton was also been instrumental in working with field staff on many quarantine and disease eradication issues. Anton encouraged and participated in international collaboration between BVL and animal health laboratories in a number of our neighbouring countries.
Anton was the driving force behind BVL attaining National Association of Testing Authorities accreditation which was a huge achievement for all staff, the Department and the Territory. Anton, along with other BVL staff, was instrumental in incorporating aquatic animal disease diagnostic capabilities into the overall administrative, technical and scientific fabric of BVL. Many staff at BVL credit Anton with supporting and advancing their careers, as well as being not only our boss, but our friend.
Anton represented the Northern Territory on the Subcommittee on Animal Health Laboratory Standards for many years and was a long-term member of the Australian Society for Veterinary Pathology.
Anton is survived by his wife, Alison Dickson, and sons Jan and Paul.