About Dr Harbury

About Dr Cathy Harbury

My nutrition journey has spanned 30 years and my career is best described with three key words:


I invite you to read my story…
Richard Harbury (aka hubby), Prof Clare Collins, Me, Jean Baldacchino (aka mum), Prof Robin Callister, and Dr Vanessa Shrewsbury. (left to right)
My son (Lachlan) and I at my graduation in 2001
Graduating from my Bachelor of Science (1991)

A love of learning

I’m a born and bred Melbourne girl. I grew up in the Western suburbs to migrant parents and quickly realised that education is a privilege not afforded to everyone. So, I studied hard hoping to go to university and my hopes were realised when I was accepted by Deakin University, Geelong, to undertake a Bachelor of Science majoring in nutrition.

At university, it wasn’t until fourth year when I gained real insight about how dietitians can make a difference to people’s lives. I learnt about the inspiring work of two influential dietitians.

During placement at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne I learnt about Dorothy Francis, author of “Diets for Sick Children”. She prescribed special diets for children with rare, inborn errors of metabolism (eg Phenylketonuria) and their diets made them well. How amazing!

I also learnt how indigenous Australians were being cured of diabetes by adopting a “hunter-gatherer lifestyle”, as guided by my lecturer, Professor Kerin O’Dea. 

These were big “wow” moments, and I knew I was on the right path to become a dietitian. 


Bachelor of Science, Deakin University, Geelong (1998-1990)

Graduate Diploma of Dietetics, Deakin University, Geelong (1991)

Graduate Certificate in Marketing, University of Newcastle (2000-2001).

Doctorate of Philosophy, Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Newcastle (2011-2021)

Biostatistics A HD

Biostatistics B HD

Sole Dietitian, Maryborough Base Hospital (1993-1994)

My first dietetic position saw me pack up my little orange Renault and head north from Melbourne to Maryborough, Queensland. I was to be the sole dietitian at the Maryborough Base Hospital. For one person this was a super busy position that provided an opportunity to apply a wide range of knowledge.

Before long I was packing my bags again to head to the United Kingdom. They were calling out for dietitians, and I decided to gain further experience by working a range of locum positions. I took on roles from health promotion (Dundee), community health (Chesterfield) and clinical nutrition support (Barnsley) until a sunny summer beckoned me back to Australia.

Mel and I

In 1996, I returned to Australia to cover a locum in-charge position at Cessnock District Hospital, NSW. In this role, I met a bunch of great dietitians, across the Hunter including Mel Shaw (nee Harding).

From that role other opportunities presented themselves and I gained skills working in oncology (Mater Miscercordiae Hospital), eating disorders (Centre for Psychotherapy), paediatrics (John Hunter Children’s Hospital) and casually at the John Hunter Hospital (JHH).

By 1999, Mel and I decided to join forces and we established our own private practice “Harding and Harbury Consultant Dietitians”. I continue working in this role today.


Post-Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Melbourne (2001)

To learn more about running a private practice I decided to enrol in a marketing degree. Despite having a new baby, juggling work and study I managed to be awarded the 2001 Lawler Partners Consultants Prize for excellence in post-graduate consumer behaviour. I contributed some of this knowledge to the Dietitians Australia (DA) Small Business Manual that remains available for purchase.

In 2006, at the JHH I met Dr Jon Gani, upper gastrointestinal and bariatric surgeon. By the following year he had invited me to join him at his rooms in Gateshead to support his bariatric surgery patients. He has since retired but I continue to support Dr Costa Karihaloo at Surgery Central.

Presenting at a DA conference in Brisbane

A love of teaching

In private practice I was mindful not to become isolated from my peers and contributed to an array of professional activities, such as student supervision, mentoring, university lecturing and DA interest group participation. This led to invitations to lecture and present at local meetings.

Over the last 10 years I’ve grown to enjoy public speaking and I now regularly present at national and international events such as Dietitian Australia and Australia and New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society (ANZMOSS) conferences.

If you are a dietitian here is the link to my DA free webinar about micronutrients after bariatric surgery:

DA shop link

Frankie (RIP),
my study buddy reminded me to take a doggy break.

A love of researching

Around 2011, I decided to pursue DA Advanced Practitioner status but quickly recognised I was unable to satisfy credentialling criteria around research and evaluation.

To address this, I organised a meeting with Professor Clare Collins at the University of Newcastle. Next thing I knew I was undertaking a master’s degree, that soon morphed into my Doctorate of Philosophy.


DA Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) credential (2017 to 2025)

Dietitian Australia awards the AdvAPD credential to dietitians with outstanding leadership skills. In 2023, only 146 (less than 2%) of Australian dietitians (8000) have achieved this credential by demonstrating innovation, inspiring others, and exerting significant influence.

That conversation with Clare started a 10-year journey to undertake my thesis (part-time) that investigated the associations of nutrition knowledge and diet quality for those living with higher weight, and after bariatric surgery. The staff and patients from Surgery Central generously supported my research.

My research has been published in peer reviewed journals, and I am about to submit a further manuscript, so watch this space.

My work has also been recognised by a couple of recent DA awards.


Another great outcome of undertaking my PhD was meeting other amazing dietitians (Katherine, Roberta and Grace). Both Roberta Asher and Dr Katherine Brain also committed to doing their PhD’s and this mutual ground has seen our connections grow.

Dr Brain’s area of expertise is in the role of nutrition in chronic pain management. She is currently an associate lecturer at the University of Newcastle and consulting dietitian at the Hunter Integrated Pain Service. She is an amazingly clever and gorgeous person, who is always willing to offer a helping hand and does so with great attention to detail. Roberta Asher is a talented chef and dietitian with a superpower that makes nutritious food super delicious. Grace Manning is a dietitian and graphic designer whose creative flare and positive, can-do attitude makes her an asset to any team.

We are now collaborated to develop a range of resources. These aim to address a key finding of my research, that after bariatric surgery individuals want more support to improve diet quality with practical nutrition advice.

This has inspired me to launch my own website with the vision of improving access to high quality nutrition information for those undergoing upper gastro-intestinal and bariatric surgery.

I invite you to review our resources, and all feedback is welcome.

Dr Katherine
Roberta Asher
(chef & dietitian)
Grace Manning
(graphic designer & dietitian)