Move to Australia is a dream come true

Mon, 5 Feb 2018
Victoria Mellish

Six months after emigrating from England to Australia, Oral Surgery Lecturer Victoria Mellish is living the dream.

The former Londoner joined JCU’s College of Medicine and Dentistry late last year, and is thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“I always dreamt of working abroad, but once you’re in the daily grind it’s difficult to then make such a big change in your life,” Dr Mellish said.

“I started work in general dental practices and then moved on to working in oral and maxillofacial surgery departments in a number of hospitals in England.  I then became an oral surgery teacher at the Kings College London dental school,” she said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the undergraduates and helping them to become confident in their own skills. Teaching at King’s then opened up the opportunity to move abroad.”

That opportunity was presented by Professor Neil Meredith, Head of JCU Dentistry during a visit to King’s College London a few years ago.

“Professor Meredith spoke about recruiting clinically-focused academics to work in the state-of-the-art facility, and that Cairns is a truly beautiful part of the world,” she reflects.

A few years later and Dr Mellish has not looked back.

“I did a reconnaissance mission to Australia last February and the weather was vile, but after a tour around JCU’s dental department, I knew I wanted to move here,” Dr Mellish said.

“It really is a dream come true. The dentistry school has a great vibe and everybody is so passionate about providing high quality teaching to our undergraduates, along with exceptional care to our patients.”

With a background in Oral Surgery, and a passion for public dentistry, Dr Mellish is enjoying the variety that her new role brings, including helping to shape the curriculum and seeing first-hand the impact that JCU’s dentistry graduates are having across regional and rural Australia.

“I’ve worked in the public sector and low social economic areas in the UK and have found many similarities with the rural areas in Australia, in terms of dental issues and needs,” she said.

“I’m really keen to go out on our fifth year placements so I can see the types of issues the students are dealing with, and then adjust my teaching accordingly so that the students are best placed to service the communities they will eventually work in.

“It’s definitely the best job I’ve ever had.”