About Us

About Us

 Our Council Members

Elise Pocknee-Clem - Past President

Elise was president of our organisation for 6 years and she has served on council for over 9 years.  Originally from Queensland, she has spent most of her practising career in South Australia and the majority of that in Port Lincoln where she and optometrist husband Phil Clem own a private practice. "I enjoy the challenging nature of rural Optometry and have a special interest in disease management. I have been therapeutically endorsed for 3 years now and have come to recognize that the ability to prescribe has been of huge value to our practice and patients.  I particularly enjoy representing the rural Optometrists in our State."  Involvement with Council gives Elise the opportunity to have regular contact with Optometrists from across Australia, and also with the many other partners and organisations involved with our industry.  It has given her a greater understanding of the complexities of the industry, the many modes of practice available to optometrists, and an insight into politics! 

Elise spends much of her spare time with her three young children (Porsche, Austin & Sebastian) but also enjoys playing hockey and loves taking holidays!!

(E) eyreeyecentre@internode.on.net         

(Practice Ph) 08 86824566


Kurt Larsen - President

With two young boys (Alistair and Patrick), three independent consultation only practices, and taking on the role as President of Optometry South Australia, "hobbies" isn't currently the question to ask Kurt. He first joined Council because he knew very little about what was going on behind the scenes in optometry and wanted to be sure that his profession was heading in the right direction. Since then Kurt has found that the knowledge gleaned and the opportunities he gets to interact with other optometrists give him a real buzz. "I love to be able to help guide and evolve my profession into the future, and to work with members in both what's currently happening in optometry and what challenges we all face as practitioners". Kurt's wife Jenny is also an optometrist and is very understanding of his time spent away from the family. After graduating he worked in Brisbane for two years before heading to SA to locum for 6 months. That was sixteen years ago. "I love the work I do and never fail to get satisfaction from talking to my patients and taking the time to solve their problems. I love the reaction you get when you see a solution fall into place. Now with a whole new (therapeutics) tool box to play with and not worrying about spectacle sales (in my practice model) I can just focus on what I want: that is to be a really good optometrist and to build a practice where I'm proud to work. On Council I can bring this focus and passion to ensure that we never forget why we're here".

(E) kurtclarsen@hotmail.com          (Mobile) 0416 112 467

Mark O'Connor - Treasurer

"To be honest I joined Council initially because I had my arm twisted by Michael Burnside and my Dad (David O'Connor, Port Augusta) had been involved in the past. It seemed like the right thing to do. What I've found is that I really enjoy it and it's also useful to me in my business. As a private practitioner without a manager keeping an eye on the legalities of practice, I find it handy during council business to be updated on everything that is going on and events and opportunities coming over the horizon that I need to be aware of, both at a state and national level. What do I bring to Council? Well obviously my charming smile and sense of humour (which we all need at times) but also a breadth of experience across a range of practices where I have been employed, provided locum services or run my own business. In addition to bringing the perspective of members who own their own practice, like Kurt, I also bring knowledge of a modality of practice that does not include the sale of spectacles - one that in the current tight market allows me to look at issues such Medicare item numbers and suggested fees for additional optometric services in a very different light." In his spare time, Mark likes to hit a little white ball around a paddock, when his three lovely ladies at home (wife and fellow optometrist and OAA member, Suzanne and daughters Evie and Erin) allow him.

(E) mocon@adam.com.au          (Practice Ph) 08 8336 4356

Gavin O'Callaghan - National Optometry Australia Board Nominee

Gavin has been on the SA Optometry South Australia Board since 1993, and has been the SA body's appointment to the Optometry Australia Board since 2007. He holds a Master's degree in Optometry, is a Fellow of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. In addition to his Optometry qualifications, he is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors course. He is a Board director of a charity/not-for-profit, the work of which aims to reduce the burden of avoidable blindness in the developing world.

His private practice is a specialty contact lens practice in Norwood, and he also consults in the contact lens clinic of the Ophthalmology Outpatients at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Gavin brings experience in Optometric politics, corporate governance and small business ownership to the table at Optometry Australia.

(E) gavin@optometryonosmond.com         

(Practice Ph) 08 8332 1444

Aimee Patten - Board Member

"The thing I enjoy most about being part of Council is hearing what's happening in the wider optometry community and discussing perspectives and ideas with others who have completely different experiences and perspectives than me. I appreciate having the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of the profession I have chosen. "

Aimee (OPSM, Firle) brings the perspective of working both in the suburbs and rural South Australia, having practised in the Riverland. In addition to representing the views and interests of her peer group, Aimee has a particular interest in paediatric optometry, is a member of ACBO and is a regular participant in overseas aid programmes. Aimee completed her therapeutics training in 2011.

When Aimee isn't working she is a busy Mum of one and another on the way.

(E) yam_yam_yam@hotmail.com         

(Practice Ph) 08 8332 9788

Mitch Walker - Vice President

Mitch is a busy man, as well as working full time and renovating a house, Mitch is the Optometry State Manager (SA) for Optical Superstore, Vice-President of Optometry South Australia, Chairman of the SA Blue Sky Congress reference group, Board member of CCLSA (SA) and optometrist at Royal Society for the Blind.

All this leaves little time for his other passions of riding his motorbike, soccer, squash, golf and touch-football.  Just as well he can sit down of an evening and enjoy a glass of scotch (another passion)!

 (E) mi.walker@hotmail.com          (Practice Ph) 08 8234 8288

Loucia Calder - Board Member

Pictured above at the 2011 Blue Sky social event with husband Fergus, Loucia enjoys nothing more than to let her hair down with friends with a cocktail in her hand! This will now become a distant memory as Loucia and Fergus are about to welcome a  little bundle of joy.

Loucia is currently working for Laubman and Pank at Burnside. She completed her therapeutic training in 2013.

"I'm passionate about optometry and want to be a part of influencing the future of our profession and to find ways to boost its profile within the community." In addition to bringing the perspective of a corporate optometry service provider to the table, Loucia enjoys playing the role as an active listener and collator of views and in so doing acting as a "funnel" for the concerns and ideas of her optometric team across the state.

(E) loucia_fergus@hotmail.com          (Practice Ph) 08 8338 3988

Karen Hawkes - Board Member

Karen is  originally from Qld but has been in Adelaide for 11 years and now calls it home.  In that time she has worked in a variety of corporate and private practices in both metro and regional locations.  Karen currently practise part time for Health Partners Optical and completed the ocular therapeutics course in 2013. In her spare time (which is severely lacking at the moment) she likes to spend time with her family (husband Andrew, son Evan and daughter Lucy) and friends and enjoying the outdoors.

Karen joined council as she is interested in what happens behind the scenes and wants to be involved in where the profession is heading. During her short time on council so far it has given Karen a better understanding of the industry and a chance to see the profession from a different perspective.

(E) karen.hawkes@ymail.com          (Practice Ph) 1300 115 115

Ashok Bhoola - Board Member

Ashok is originally from South Africa and now calls Australia home, along with his optometrist wife (Veno) and two daughters. Ashok has owned his own practice  in South Africa and more recently has worked for OPSM when he first moved to Australia. He is now a partner with optical dispenser Adam at Specasavers at West Lakes. He joined Council because having just completed his MBA and become a Specsavers franchisee, he felt he had a different perspective to add and is keen to help all optometrists, wherever they work to continue to benefit from their Association membership. Ashok completed his Ocular Therapeutics training in 2013.

(E) ashokb@bigpond.net.au          (Practice Ph) 08 8235 1488

    Ben photo

Ben Hamlyn - Board Member

Ben is part of the teaching and research team at Flinders University School of Optometry.  He is passionate about creating the highest level of graduate optometrists to lead the profession into the future.  Ben's main area of research is in improving eye-care delivery for those that are currently under-serviced.

After practising in Adelaide for several years and attaining his thereapeutic endorsement Ben took up a position with the Fred Hollows foundation to deliver outreach Optometry services across the top end of the Northern Territory.  From Waeye to Borrolloola in a light aircraft services were provides to some of the most remote communities in the country.  Ben has also spent time working with Dr Tim Henderson assisting in providing outreach ophthalmology services out of Alic Springs to remote Central Australian communities.  "Working in remote environments was a great deal of fun, it created clinical challenges that pushed my confidence and knowledge."

Ben returned to South Australia in late 2013 and rejoined the Optometry South Australia board.  "I joined the Optomery South Australia board because I wanted to have input into the future of the profession.  I did not want to stand by and allow others to decide the future of my profession."

 (E) ben.hamlyn@flinders.edu.au       (Practice Ph) 08 7221 8409

Luke Higgins

Luke Higgins - Board Member

Luke is part of the teaching team at Flinders University School of Optometry and is also part of the clinical team at Flinders Vision. In addition to his commitment at Flinders University Luke also practises for the Royal Society for the Blind as a low vision and rehabilitation optometrist.

Luke has a special interest in low vision, sports vision and rural eye health. Furthermore, his key focus on the OSA Board is to engage with and champion the needs and aspirations of our early career optometrists (graduated 10 years or less).

At the end of 2015 Luke joined the Optometry South Australia board.  "I joined the OSA Board because I really wanted to be involved in shaping the future of the optometry profession. As I am early in my career, I have a great interest in the profession continuing to grow in scope and quality of practice and to continue to provide world class eye care."

In his spare time Luke enjoys competing in his chosen sport of Clay Target Shooting where he has successfully represented Australia as part of the Australian team, and South Australia with the SA state team. He also loves heading off for the weekend camping and a spot of gem fossicking.

You can also read the article "Luke on target" featured on the Optometry Australia News and Features section of our website.

(E) luke.higgins@flinders.edu.au                  (Practice) (08) 7221 8700