Structure and leadership

Structural Development of the SA Department of Agriculture 1836–1992

This series of articles map the development of the South Australian Department of Agriculture from its early founding days. It is structured around the major achievements of its Directors during the period 1904 to 1992, and is made up of the following sections:

About the Authors

This series of articles were researched and written by Mr Peter Trumble, a retired Deputy Director General of the Department of Agriculture.

Mr Trumble has been personally associated with South Australia's agricultural services in one way or another almost all of his life, beginning with his father's services as a foundation member of the staff of the Waite Institute. He studied for the Bachelor Degree of Agricultural Science at Roseworthy College and the Waite Institute; then served as an officer of the Department from 1950 to 1962 and again from 1971 to 1983.

Mr Trumble also spent some years with CSIRO Head Office and at the Waite Institute during which time he maintained close contact with the Department. This, together with continuing interest in and occasional involvement with the Department since retiring in 1983 has given a strong sense of perspective on the Department of Agriculture, how it has been structured and its interactions with other organisations.

The article on the McColl Era was co-written by Mr Trumble and Dr Donald Plowman and the Radcliffe Era article was written by Dr Plowman.

Don Plowman was the Deputy Chief Executive at the time of his retirement in late 2014, following positions of Executive Director, Agriculture Food and Wine and Director Research and Development in the SA Research and Development Institute.

Both authors are indebted to the executive officer support provided by Ms Rosemary Hawke who assisted in preparation of a number of the articles.

Further Reading

Annual reports dating back to the 1880s published by the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Minister of Agriculture have been reviewed for much of the information in this series of articles. These are held in the Woolhouse Library at Waite Institute. Following are a number of other useful publications containing related information:

  • Callaghan A.R. and Millington A.J. 1956. The Wheat Industry in Australia. Angus and Robertson.
  • Cook V. 1992. Economics and the Development of Farm Business Management in the SA Department of Agriculture. SA Department of Agriculture.
  • Daniels J. (Ed) 1983. Roseworthy Agricultural College: A Century of Service, Roseworthy College.
  • Edgeloe V.A. 1984. The Waite Agriculture Research Institute: The First Fifty Years, 1924-1974. Waite Institute.
  • Humphreys R. 2002. Allan Callaghan – A Life. Melbourne University Press.
  • Tideman A.L. 1994. The Medic Fields. SAGRIC International.


During the preparation of articles on the Structure and Leadership the authors have received much assistance and support from Arthur Tideman, other members of the History of Agriculture Working Group and Tony Davidson and Geoff Thomas. Special reference is made to the support provided by Barry Philp whose ever-willing and capable assistance in accessing departmental and other recordshas made much of the work presented here, possible

The fine work of John Love, former State Archivist, whose unpublished history of the Department of Agriculture has been the most fertile source of material for these articles, especially for the period 1836–1914. Access John Love's manuscript Determined to Improve the Land: A History of the Department of Agriculture (PDF 329.1 KB), written in 1987.

Special thanks to Barry Philp, retired Director, Horticulture Industry Development of the Department of Agriculture for his assistance in searching of archival material and providing information.

Page Last Reviewed: 20 Nov 2017
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