Hugh booty! Papers reveal RSPCA to get $5.7m in gift of great Wirth


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Dr Walker said Dr Wirth gave almost 50 years of service to RSPCA Victoria as a director, president and patron.

‘‘He was one of a kind – forthright, passionate and incredibly knowledgeable – and he dedicated his life to animal welfare,’’ she said.

Dr Wirth was RSPCA Victoria president for 43 years and also ran a Balwyn veterinary surgery for 47 years.

He served on the board of the World Society for the Protection of Animals for more than two decades and was a regular on radio petcare segments for more than 30 years

Dr Wirth, who was not married and had no children, left assets of three houses worth a combined $4.5 million, and $2.5 million in diverse cash, shares and managed fund investments.

One of the houses, in Balwyn, which the will values at $1.58 million, is the home of his sister Rose Pollock.

Dr Wirth was a well-loved voice on talkback radio.

Dr Wirth was a well-loved voice on talkback radio.Credit:John Woudstra

The will, probate for which was granted in the Supreme Court of Victoria on December 12, states that Ms Pollock can stay in the house until her death.

Dr Wirth also gives $350,000 each to Ms Pollock, to his niece Emma Keeler and to his nephew Hugh Pollock.

He gives $100,000 to World Animal Protection Limited based in St Leonards, NSW, and $10,000 to RSPCA Australia based in Canberra.

The will also gives $25,000 each to: the Xavier College Foundation in Kew; to the St Leo’s College Foundation within the University of Queensland; to the University of Melbourne faculty of veterinary science; and to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitalier, a service for the sick and poor, in Geelong.

Hugh Wirth as a schoolboy at Xavier with his red setter.

Hugh Wirth as a schoolboy at Xavier with his red setter.

The rest of Dr Wirth’s estate – valued at about $5.7 million – goes to RSPCA Victoria .

In the will, Dr Wirth states that he has made no provisions for his brothers, David James Wirth, and Paul Francis Wirth.

He also states that he has made no further provision for family members ‘‘on the grounds that they have no need to benefit from my estate, whereas my nominated residuary beneficiary [the RSPCA] does have need of financial support’’.

The will is in keeping with Dr Wirth’s direct, dry, to-the point manner.

The one sentimental aspect of the will is the statement: ‘‘I give my wooden flagpole made by my maternal great-grandfather to my nephew Hugh Andrew Pollock.’’

Members of the public who who wish to attend the February 5 service at RSPCA Victoria in Burwood East can phone 9224 2222 to register their interest.

Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.

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