How a cow joined the fight against MND


Forty-two is “the answer to life, the universe and everything” according to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams, but at Macquarie University’s Centre for MND Research it has proved to be the answer to furthering motor neuron disease research.

Every year, the Centre hosts a gala dinner to raise funds for its work, on account of the pandemic the last event was last held in 2019. A popular part of the evenings has been a live auction featuring a number of money-can’t-buy lots.

In 2019, the gala dinner raised more than $215,000, with the auction of a purebred Hereford heifer from Professor Dominic Rowe’s Hunter Valley farm adding to the total.

As Dominic makes a practice of not naming his cattle, the heifer continues to be known by her number: 42.

“The successful bidder paid $5000 for 42 and she’s now living out her life in comfort on the farm,” he says.

“She’s pregnant and the calf is due in August, so this year we’re keeping up the tradition by auctioning her unborn calf.”

The heifer, or steer, could be transferred to another certified property but Dominic’s preferred option is for it to remain on his farm, where he will keep feeding and caring for it.

“I send the successful bidders regular updates and photos and they’re also welcome to drop in for tea and scones any time to see how the animal is going!” he says.

The 2022 MND Gala Dinner is being held on Friday 17 June at the Art Gallery of NSW, and includes a sumptuous two-course meal, live entertainment and a private viewing of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes Exhibition 2022.

Tickets are $250 each, or $2250 for a table of 10. Get in quick, though – seats are limited and they’re selling fast.

Even if you can’t attend the dinner, there are still options to support the Centre’s much-needed research. Donations of any size are always appreciated, or if you would like to provide a suitable raffle or auction prize, please email the fundraising team at

Pictured above: Pregnant Hereford ’42’ on Professor Dominic Rowe’s farm.






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