EXCLUSIVE: Dr Harry Cooper reflects on life, love and living on the land

The television vet recently celebrated his 80th birthday
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Sitting on the verandah, cup of tea in hand, Dr Harry Cooper is content as he takes in the view across the sprawling hills of his 50-hectare property.

With wallabies playing on the front lawn and birds chirping from the gum trees, for Dr Harry, it’s where he’s most at peace.

WATCH NOW: Dr Harry helps a chicken with a beak problem. Article continues after video.

“It’s our Sunday morning thing to sit out here with a tea or a coffee,” says Dr. Harry, who shares his Port Macquarie farm with his wife Susan, affectionately called ‘Suze’, and their menagerie of animals.

“It’s where we come to unwind at the end of the day … it’s quiet and it’s just peace.”

man with cake
Harry is planning some low key celebrations for his birthday (Credit: Phillip Castleton – Are Media)

Speaking to New Idea ahead of his 80th birthday on February 20, the Better Homes and Gardens star shares that he feels blessed to be celebrating this incredible milestone after experiencing health setbacks last year.

“I’m privileged to have had a wonderful life … to have made so many good friends along the way, it’s been fantastic,” Dr Harry says, his voice thick with emotion.

“I’m privileged to have met Suze, she’s a wonderful wife and a big support to me.

“And God willing, I’ve got a few more years left in me and I’ve got a few more tales to tell.”

men singing
Musician Angus Gill worked with Harry to write a song (Credit: Phillip Castleton – Are Media)

Celebrations will be subdued for the popular TV veterinarian, who has plans to visit Sydney with Suze, 66, and enjoy a nice dinner with his family at home, instead of a big birthday bash.

But the milestone won’t go completely unmarked, as Dr Harry reveals he’s been working on a special project – music.

Expanding on his passion for writing poetry, he has teamed up with his friend, country singer, and fellow Port Macquarie local Angus Gill. Together, they’ve penned a bush ballad in an ode to Harry’s beloved farm.

man and woman with dogs
Harry and wife Suze love their life on the land (Credit: Phillip Castleton – Are Media)

“My father was a great devotee of our Australian poets. I grew up with that. I’ve been a great fan and a friend of Slim Dusty. So, there’s a lot of Australiana in me,” says Dr. Harry, who dubbed the song ‘Arcadian Run’, the same moniker as his homestead.

“I think my real forte is writing poetry. Angus took what is a sort of a sad poem about leaving the farm and turned it into a love story.

“We have a great camaraderie,” he adds.

man and woman with horse
The happy couple have plans to travel to Sydney for Harry’s birthday (Credit: Phillip Castleton – Are Media)

While some would be looking to retire when they hit 80, Dr Harry is adamant he has no plans to slow down.

“There is always somewhere to go, there’s always something to see. Life’s for the living.”

Learning all he can from Angus about his songwriting craft, Harry says the experience inspired him to pen more music of his own.

“I want to do a bit of songwriting,” he says. “Next time I find a keyboard in an op shop somewhere, I’m going to buy it, so I can just write a bit of music.”

man and woman smiling
The TV vet says he wouldn’t change a thing about his life (Credit: Phillip Castleton – Are Media)

Reflecting on his life, Harry shares he has no regrets about the way he’s spent his 80 years.

“I’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way, but if you don’t make a few mistakes, you don’t learn anything, do you? That’s what I believe,” muses Harry.

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