Celebrating 35 years of Kangaroo Island's first permanent veterinary clinic

KI Veterinary Clinic: 35 years on Deb Lehmann, Greg Johnsson and their dedicated team. Photo: Sue Rawkins.
KI Veterinary Clinic: 35 years on Deb Lehmann, Greg Johnsson and their dedicated team. Photo: Sue Rawkins.

There are many stories of the early settlers and farmers having to rely on their skills and each other to help out and ‘make-do’ whenever one of their livestock became sick or needed help in any way.

That was the way of the island for over 150 years or so, until Greg Johnsson and wife Deb Lehmann arrived on KI, straight from uni in 1982, to set up the island’s first permanent veterinary clinic from their house.

Within four years the practice had expanded and nowadays, 35 years later, there are 12 staff at the busy clinic on the Playford Highway, Kingscote. The practice provides 24/7 care, 365 days of the year.

Alongside the farming community’s needs, there are of course, the needs of domestic animals – our pets – that need specialised care from time-to-time. Owners and their pets are treated sympathetically with great care.

Let’s not forget the injured KI wildlife which are brought into the clinic quite regularly. They need a very special form of care that Greg and his staff are well trained in.

Since 1982 when Greg and Deb were attracted to KI as it had the highest sheep density per head of population in Australia, they have used their specialist training to assist the farming community to become more profitable by providing a range of quality services and technology. 

Greg and Deb’s passionate dedication to their clients has expanded by a move into retailing to include a wide range of stock feeds, equipment and animal products.

Greg said, “We are passionate about improving farmers’ profitability. We believe we have the right products and these are backed-up with expert advice and support.”

Greg and Deb have now expanded onto the mainland and have established the Farm Owners Academy, providing farm business owners with a three-year in-depth training course on creating a profitable business.

Deb continues to help farmers control and eradicate sheep diseases such as Footrot and OJD (Ovine Johnes Disease).

Future plans for the KI Veterinary Clinic are to have their dedicated staff continue improving services and facilities and provide quality care and advice for at least the next 35 years.