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Biographical entry Whittem, James Harrington (1921 - 2014)


6 November 1921
7 May 2014
Science administrator and Veterinarian


James Whittem was a world-renowned neuropathologist who established himself as a leader in evidence-based diagnostic medicine while at the University of Sydney. He collaborated Douglas Blood in the introduction of the systematic application of evidence to clinic-pathological diagnosis. In 1958 he became Director of Animal Industries and Chief Veterinarian of the Northern Territory. Over the next five years he played a key role in the application of eradication programs for bovine diseases adapted for tropical regions and was instrumental in determining the animal welfare requirements for the live export of cattle to Asian markets. On moving to CSIRO's Animal Health Research Laboratories in Parkville, Victoria, Whittem led the research team in studies on bovine fertility and diseases. One result was the eradication of pleuropneumonia in beef cattle in Australia. Whittem also set in motion the establishment of a high security virus laboratory, what became the Australian Animal Health Laboratory. After three years as the Secretary and Executive Director, Commonwealth and States Veterinary Committee, Whittem moved to the U.S.A. as Scientific Attaché (later Counsellor Scientific) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC, where he was involved in promoting and facilitating Australia/US co-operation on scientific programs. Whittem was an active participant in he Australian Veterinary Association, serving as President of the Northern Territory and New South Wales state divisions and for nine years on the editorial board of the Australian Veterinary Journal. He was a foundation member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.



Education - BVSc, University of Sydney
1948 - 1957
Career position - Lecturer, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney
Education - Fulbright Australian Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Minnesota
1963 - 1971
Career position - Director, CSIRO Animal Health Research Laboratories, Parkville, Victoria
1971 - 1974
Career position - Secretary and Executive Director, Commonwealth and States Veterinary Committee
1974 - 1976
Career position - Scientific Attaché, Australian Embassy Washington DC
Career position - Consultant Pathologist, National Institute of Health, Washington DC
Career position - Consultant Pathologist, National Institute of Health, Washington DC
Award - Gilruth Prize for Meritorious Service to Veterinary Science, Australian Veterinary Association
Award - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to veterinary science through a range of professional roles, and to the community

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Whittem, Ted, 'James Whittem OAM 1921-2014', Australian Veterinary Journal, vol. 92, no. 10, 2014, p. 368. Details

Online Resources

Helen Cohn