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Harold Roy Carne (1901–1990)

by Robert I. Taylor

This article was published:

Harold Roy Carne (1901-1990), professor of veterinary science, was born on 25 March 1901 at Hunters Hill, Sydney, second child of Joseph Edmund Carne, a Victorian-born geological surveyor, and his second wife Clara Grace, née Hudson, who was born in New South Wales. Roy attended Malvern Preparatory School and Sydney Grammar School. His childhood ambition was to go `on the land’ as a grazier and he decided to enrol in veterinary science as part of his preparation. He studied under Professor James Stewart at the University of Sydney (B.V.Sc., 1923; D.V.Sc., 1934) and was awarded first-class honours and the university medal. In 1922 he was president of the university’s Veterinary Society. Next year he was appointed to the staff of the faculty of veterinary science, where he provided a practical course in materia medica, therapeutics and pharmacy, demonstrated in pathology and carried out the duties of assistant house surgeon. He resided at Wesley College and rowed in the Senior and College VIIIs.

In 1924 Carne became a research officer at the veterinary research station, New South Wales Department of Agriculture, Glenfield, serving under Herbert Seddon. Gaining a Walter and Eliza Hall research fellowship in 1926, Carne pursued his project, streptococcal mastitis of cattle, at the Laboratoire Central de Recherches Vétérinaires at Maisons-Alfort near Paris and completed courses in microbiology at the Institut Pasteur. He married Ursula Widmerpoole Starling (d.1989) on 10 October 1927 at St Nicholas parish church, Cuddington, England.

Appointed lecturer in veterinary pathology and bacteriology at the University of Sydney, Carne took up his duties in 1928. His sympathy for students who, in the absence of adequate textbooks, had to record verbatim the essence of lectures led to his preparing in roneo form extensive notes which he revised every couple of years. They were available to students at cost. Understanding the importance of parasitic diseases in grazing animals, he gave a comprehensive course in parasitology, which was subsequently expanded by (Sir) Ian Clunies Ross and carried on for many years by Hugh Gordon. When the F. D. McMaster Animal Health Laboratory was built for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the grounds of the University of Sydney in 1931, Carne and Clunies Ross co-operated in planning and equipping it. A personal laboratory for Carne and new teaching facilities for veterinary students in practical classes were incorporated in the plans.

Carne’s doctoral thesis was on corynebacterial infections of domestic animals. Having won a Rockefeller travelling fellowship, in 1934 he worked at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, continuing his research on caseous lymphadenitis. He was appointed Hughes professor of veterinary pathology and bacteriology at the University of Sydney in 1947. As dean (1947-53, 1960-61) of the faculty he was concerned to develop veterinarians who, in addition to traditional skills with individual animals, had expert knowledge of the problems of the flock and herd. He advocated the expansion of existing facilities, but also wanted to create a rural centre to provide proximity to the animals needed as clinical teaching material. From the starting point of the McGarvie Smith Farm at Badgery’s Creek he worked towards further developments, which led to the establishment of the university’s rural veterinary centre at Camden. He supported the creation of departments of physiology and animal husbandry. His belief in the need for a corporate life within the university culminated in the building of the common room at the veterinary school.

Carne’s vision of the requirements of veterinary science was broad and forward looking. As a teacher he was scholarly, devoted and stimulating, and his personal relationships were sincere, kindly and fair. President (194748) of the Australian Veterinary Association, he was elected a fellow in 1955. Five years later he delivered the first J. D. Stewart Oration. He served as honorary secretary (1940-50) of the Australian National Research Council, and member (1951-62) and chairman (1955-61) of the State committee of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. He was a fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science. Having reached the age of compulsory retirement from the University of Sydney in 1966 he moved to Cambridge, England, where he worked until 1986, researching and producing ten more papers on caseous lymphadenitis. Survived by his three daughters, he died on 11 February 1990 at Cambridge and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 67, no 5, 1990, AVA News supplement, 9 May 1990, p N168
  • H. Carne, autobiographical notes (typescript, no date, copy on ADB file).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Robert I. Taylor, 'Carne, Harold Roy (1901–1990)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 20 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (Melbourne University Press), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

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