Three side-by-side properties part of the estate of acclaimed veterinarian, animal welfare advocate and long-term RSPCA President Hugh Wirth have sold for a combined $7.025 million.
Two of the sites, 185 Whitehorse Road and 1 May Street, are on a combined 1,856sqm corner site and sold together for $4.6 million. Both are leased to Balwyn Veterinary Surgery. Wirth bought the clinic in 1967 and ran his vet practice from here until selling the business in 2006.
Next door, 3 May Street sold to a local developer for $2.425 million. The price represents a strong land rate of around $3,000 per sqm on a site area of 820sqm.
Beginning his career at a country vet in Gippsland, Wirth became President of RSPCA Victoria in 1972 and held the position for 43 years. He was President of RSPCA Australia for 22 years and a member of its board for 35, and is considered to have been pivotal in aligning policies across the organisation’s state and territory bodies.
Wirth has been credited by the RSPCA with driving campaigns that resulted in the banning of puppy tail docking and the export of horses to Japan for slaughter, and he led the humane foods movement with the launch of RSPCA barn-laid eggs in 1997.
He became the first person outside of Europe to lead international organisation World Animal Protection.
Wirth became a familiar voice to many across Melbourne and Victoria through regular appearances on ABC radio over 30 years every Saturday morning as the station’s resident vet, taking talkback calls and offering advice to pet owners and animal lovers.
In 1985 Wirth was made a Member of the Order of Australia, and was made Victorian of the Year in 1997.