Meet Our Vets

We are blessed to have 6 wonderful vets who work tirelessly together to ensure the best outcome for each and every animal that enters our hospital. You may also meet Rachelle, our rehabilitation therapist, who ensures you pet keeps that spring in their step.

Dr Tonje Brinchmann DVM

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Tonje graduated from the University of Veterinary Science in Oslo, Norway in 2018, after first starting her career as a veterinary nurse. She is the reason that one of our other wonderful vets, Dr JJ, speaks Norwegian, and together they started their family in the Far North.

Dr Tonje is one of the most compassionate and empathetic vets we have ever met, and is loved by all the clients who meet her. She is one of the few veterinarians who thrive as much on connecting and helping people as they do from connecting and helping animals. Make sure you remember her name, because she will probably remember yours!

Dr Tonje is a self-declared cat-lover and never hesitates to spend the time to gain their trust in hospital, something which is invaluable when trying to nurse them back to better health. Tonje and JJ have two rescue cats; Jack and Lucia Button, who are characters to say the least.

Loving her live here in Ballina, Tonje spends here weekends at the beach, preferably with a margarita in hand.

Dr Willa Harrison BVSc

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Willa is one of the founders and original owners of Racecourse Road Veterinary Hospital, and has been looking after animals of the region for over 20 years.

Dr Willa’s special interests are soft tissue surgery and medicine although she belongs to a generation of vets who truely can 'do it all'. With an uncanny memory of patients and the details of their medical history (seriously it is scary how much she remembers sometimes), Dr Willa puts her heart into each and every case, living up to our mission to put pets first. Her experience, brainpower and huge heart combine to give her an invaluable intuition when it comes to solving complex medical cases, and she is the one the other vets turn to for help in these situations.

When not working, Willa is a music lover, regularly attending local music festivals, an avid reader, bushwalker, gardener, as well as being a dangerous pool-shark. Willa lives in Pearces Creek with her husband Andy, their 2 teenagers, and a small population of pets.

Dr Linn Ullberg DVM

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Linn graduated from Copenhagen Vet School in 2013, and it didn't take her long before the allure of the Northern Rivers brought her to us and we have not let her go since. Dr Linn is a wealth of knowledge about pretty much all aspects of medicine and can often been seen in the hospital late into the evening writing her notes and researching the latest literature for her cases. Dr Linn's other super-power is ultrasound, and with this she is able to non-invasively find things like hidden foreign bodies or fluid around the heart, making her a huge asset to both the surgical and medical teams.

Born in Sweden, Linn lives with her partner Aaron, their twin boys and Stella, their beautiful energetic staffy. As at home on a surfboard as on her yoga mat, Linn is a loved and valued member of our team. At the moment Linn is currently doing a sabbatical for a year in Sweden and wont be back with us until January 2025.

Dr JJ Debenham PhD BVSc MRCVS CertAVP (Zoo Medicine)

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr JJ graduated from Sydney University in 2011 with first class honours, immediately travelling to Congo in Africa to live and work with chimpanzees (read more about his experience in our blog). He then headed north to Norway where he met his beautiful wife Dr Tonje, also a vet at our clinic. In Norway, Dr JJ worked at the Norwegian University of Veterinary Science, completing an internship in small animal medicine and surgery, a masters in zoo and exotic animal medicine and then doing his doctoral thesis in wildlife parasites. Dr JJ still holds an Associate Professor position at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences where he teachers rabbit and exotic animal medicine and is an active researcher in these fields.

JJ is a passionate father and you will often see him with his two daughters, Lilly and Indie, in the clinic teaching them about animals or perhaps training them how to surf under Missingham bridge.

Dr Kirsty Robertson BVSc

Veterinary Surgeon

Did someone say behaviour, because if so then Dr Kirsty will come running. She has a passion and wealth of knowledge for helping animals better adapt to their environment or modify their behaviours so they can do all the things they love to do.
Dr Kirsty loves a challenge and has developed skills in a wide range of veterinary medicine from dentistry to surgery to dermatology.

After growing up in Alice Springs, Kirsty loves her coastal lifestyle and spends her weekends with her two cheeky dogs Charlie and Huey.

Dr Lucy Young

Veterinary Surgeon

Lucy graduated in 2011 from Melbourne University. For the past 10 years she has worked first in the Central Coast NSW, then in inner city Melbourne and now life has brought her to the sunny Northern Rivers. Lucy enjoys all aspects of small animal medicine, although she has a soft spot for cats, and she is passionate about helping with behaviour as well.
While not at work, you can find Lucy at the beach with her family, at a gym class or going for walks with her energetic Brittany spaniel Morty.

Dr Annabella English BVSc

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Annabella is the most recent veterinarian to join our growing team. After gradudating from the University of Queensland in 2021, Dr Annabella went on to spend a year in mixed practice before relocating to the beautiful shores of the Northern Rivers. With an appetite for challenges great and small, there seems to be no area of practice that Dr Annabella isn't able to master to keep for patients happy and healthy.

On the weekends, Dr Annabella may be found at North Coast Emergency Vets in Bangalow, otherwise she will spend her time in the outdoors exploring nature; running, hiking or relaxing on the beach, or spending time with her beautiful horse Jaffa.

Rachelle Nieuwerth

Rehabilitation Therapist

Rachelle is not a vet but she does have a wealth of experience in the veterinary industry having worked as a nurse, practice manager, and as a physical therapist for over 30 years. She was one of the founding owners of Racecourse Road Veterinary Hospital, together with Dr Willa.

Rachelle is passionate about assisting animals recover from injury and helping to manage their chronic musculoskeletal disease. From expediting recovery after a cruciate ligament surgery to managing pain and discomfort in old arthritic animals, Rach's physical therapies have helped countless animals in the Northern Rivers get back on their feet!

Rachelle takes a holistic approach to the body, using elements of complementary medicine, traditional musculoskeletal and neurophysiology, physiotherapy, Bowen therapy and integrative medicine. Over the past years she has been training in hydrotherapy together with our nurse Kate, and the two of them hope to offer the Northern Rivers first hydrotherapy service for dogs soon.

When not at work Rach love to cook and garden, and can be seen cruising South Ballina in her extreme 4WD.

Meet Our Nurses

These are the friendly voices you will hear on the phone when you call us. Our skilled and passionate veterinary nurses ensure all the complexities of our hospital keep running smoothly each and every day. Whilst their brains are highly training in advanced medicine and surgery, the biggest asset of this team is their love and compassion, ensuring every individual animals feels safe and loved whilst in our care.


Veterinary Nurse Vert IV

With an over-sized heart, Tayte is one of the most caring people you will ever meet, always putting the needs of the people and animals around her before her own. As one of our anaesthetists, Tayte works together with our surgeons to ensure the safety of every surgical patient and her calm energy is perfect for animals as they recover.

Tayte's other passion is conservation and wildlife rehabilitation, and she serves as a vital connection between the local rehabilitation groups and the veterinary care these animals often require.



Sharon has been our amazing receptionist since 2006! Her warm smile is often the first thing you will see when you walk through the doors, and her thorough nature to ensuring every pet gets the right treatment will make sure that you get exactly the service you need.

She is a proud mum to her daughter Charlie and her stepson Chris. At the moment she has 5 cats and 1 pug at home but there’s always room for more!

Sharon thoroughly enjoys her job as Racecourse Road’s receptionist. She enjoys spending time with our clients and their pets. She even considers most of them extended family members. When she has spare time Sharon enjoys spending time with her loved ones


Practice Manager (Veterinary Nurse Cert IV)

Tait is a passionate, highly skilled nurse who has a phenomenal ability to remain calm under high-pressure. This couples with a seemingly endless supply of energy to make him a wonderful well-rounded member of the team who's versatility helps make the entire hospital function better.

Tait has a charismatic smile and clearly loves his interactions with clients, and we are often receiving compliments about his personable service. He is clearly proud to be caring for the community in which he was raised.

His care for animals, support for his colleagues and drive to ensure the highest quality of care is part of what keeps Racecourse Road Veterinary Hospital at the forefront of veterinary medicine.

As comfortable playing rough and tumble with a boisterous young staffy as he is gently nurturing a sick rabbit, Tait is often the first through the door and the last to leave.


Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Kate's love of animals developed after rescuing her chihuahua Benny in 2010 and rehabilitating him from the trauma he experienced for the first 3 years of his life. Since then Kate has been involved with multiple rescues in Melbourne, and since moving up to the Northern Rivers in 2014 to pursue vet nursing, this passion has continued.

Since 2014, Kate has worked in multiple clinics in the area, with a particular interest of hers being emergency medicine. She has continued to study things such as Canine Myofunctional Therapy, canine massage and has almost completed Canine Bowen Therapy and Canine Hydrotherapy. Her desire is to combine these study to be able to help animals, particularly those struggling with the decreasing function and pain associated with ageing and disease .

Kate lives with her partner on property where they have 3 senior rescue dogs, 8 rescue chickens and Louie the peacock.


Veterinary Nurse

Bobo is the one of the newest members of the team, bringing a wealth of enthusiasm and passion to her daily work.

Originally from Taiwan, Bobo has been living on the North Coast for the past 5 years, completing her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing in the middle of 2023. A naturally compassionate person, Bobo is certainly a cat person, and can often be found in the clinic's cat ward cuddling our feline patients.


Registered Veterinary Technician

Alexe is a Registered Vet Tech from Canada who recently moved to Northern Rivers to discover what this beautiful coast has to offer. From a young age she has always been very passionate about animals and has been involved in many animal welfare organisations abroad. During her time volunteering at an animal rescue organisation in Mexico, she adopted a stray dog named Zephyr, which you can always find by her side! After working in Spey and Neuter Clinics, Alexe was inspired to pursue her passion in veterinary care and went on to complete her studies at the Thompson Rivers University in Veterinary Technology. When she’s not busy caring for animals, she loves to spend her time on the beach, hiking with her dog or trying to catch a wave!


Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Graduating her Cert IV nursing in 2010, Amy is a very experienced veterinary nurse and seems to have knowledge in any possible area that she may be questioned on; from grooming to practice management to pharmacology to anaesthesia.

Having worked at several of the vet clinics along the peninsula, Amy has been a wonderful addition to our team, her calm and easy going energy is just what we need during the busy hospital atmosphere. She also has an uncanny ability to constantly supply tea and coffee to the team despite never leaving her post, and we are yet to figure out how she does it.

Amy is also an extremely dedicated mum, and we have been thrilled to see her welcome into the world her second child Annie in 2021. We are all excited about her return from maternity leave as she is currently a sorely missed member of our team.


Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Hannah M.

Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Hannah was a senior veterinary nurse at Lismore Central Veterinary Hospital, leading their surgical anaesthetic nursing department. Unfortunately the tragic floods of 2022 forced the closure of this clinic, but this did provide the opportunity for Hannah to come and join our team, and she hit the ground running from day 1.

Hannah has exceptional knowledge about the complex changes that happen in an animal's body when under anaesthesia, making her the ideal person to be monitoring your fury loved one when they are in hospital.

Hannah is also a passionate and skilled cook, and the staff are often challenging her to use us as test subjects for her culinary experiments.


Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Clare has been nursing in various clinics in Sydney and Melbourne for the past 8 years, moving to the Northern Rivers last year. She has a keen interest in medicine and reception - where you will often find her greeting the patients with a treat in hand or giving big cuddles to our hospital patients

Hannah E.

Veterinary Nurse Cert IV

Hannah has been nursing at various veterinary clinics around the Northern Rivers for over a decade, and we were thrilled to have her join the team at the start of 2023. A multi-talent, Hannah loves everything from emergency medicine to anaesthesia and her bubbly personality is a pleasure to work with. She has a love for all animals, but there is no question that dachshunds hold a special place in her heart.