June Rose Bullock loved her 18-year-old cat Lucy so much that, on becoming ill in 2014, she sought an aged-care facility that would allow Lucy to continue to live with her.
Milford House in Randwick was able to accommodate both June and Lucy. However, due to June’s frequent visits to the hospital during 2014 and her eventual passing in November that year at the age of 82, June was never reunited with Lucy.
But June’s love of cats extended far beyond her own pet. A senior dietitian at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital during her lifetime, June and her 80-year-old sister, Del McIlveen, had wills that provided their entire estates to the one who would survive the other. Del passed away in June 2014, leaving $3 million to June.
From this, and her own estate, June bequeathed more than $2 million to the University of Sydney for research into diseases and treatment of cats. She also left a similar sum to the Cat Protection Society.
Professor Rosanne Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, accepted the gift on behalf of the faculty.
“Thanks to this generous bequest, the Faculty of Veterinary Science will establish a new postdoctoral fellowship to attract the world’s best feline researchers to work with the faculty’s team of feline clinicians and researchers,” Professor Taylor says.
Vanessa Barrs, Associate Professor, Feline Medicine Specialist and Veterinary Director, University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney, says the gift will strengthen the University’s position as the premier hub for feline research.
“It will enable cutting-edge research on feline diseases to expand at a time when government funding for feline research is scarce,” she says.