Family honoured for educating our palates
The unveiling of Hickinbotham Hall at the University of Adelaide's National Wine Centre honours a man-and a family-who have made a major impact on wine and wine education for more than 70 years.
The name Hickinbotham might be best known in relation to building and development, but it is also synonymous with the Australian wine industry-a fact that the University of Adelaide recognised with the launch of Hickinbotham Hall at the National Wine Centre in March.
"Over three generations the Hickinbotham family has had a tremendous impact on the nation's wine industry, both in terms of research into wine-making and in the education of Australian wine-makers," said University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha.
"We are particularly pleased to honour the contribution of the Hickinbotham family to the University of Adelaide and the community by naming the Hickinbotham Hall."
Hickinbotham Hall takes pride of place at the National Wine Centre. Its 23-metre high ceiling, 100-year-old jarrah floorboards and a stunning rammed earth wall make a spectacular main function venue. On 7 March, the Hall played host to three generations of Hickinbothams who attended the launch ceremony to honour the contribution of their father, grandfather and great-grandfather to the wine industry.
The Hickinbotham connection to the wine industry began with Alan Robb Hickinbotham, or 'Hick' as he was affectionately called-known by many today as the father of Australian oenology. Appointed Lecturer in Physical and Chemical Sciences at Roseworthy College (now the Roseworthy Campus of the University of Adelaide) in 1929, Alan Robb Hickinbotham became Australia's first wine science lecturer.
He introduced the Diploma Course in Oenology at Roseworthy in 1936, one of the first courses of its type in the world. This became the University's Bachelor of Oenology degree, now run at the Waite Campus. Together with wine education programs at the National Wine Centre, the University of Adelaide has gained an international reputation for excellence in wine education.
"Alan Robb Hickinbotham's research and writing on wine making under Australian conditions laid the foundation for a technically advanced Australian wine industry," Professor McWha said.
Two of Alan Robb's sons, Alan David and Ian, continued their father's passion for wine. Today, Hickinbotham Wines owns three vineyards in South Australia, making it one of the largest family vignerons in Australia.
Thanks to the family, the state-of-the-art Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science Laboratory was also established at the University's Waite Campus in 1998.
"The Hickinbothams have provided generous support for the University of Adelaide over many years and we are very pleased to be able to recognise their contribution to the wine industry, the State and the University in this most appropriate venue," said Professor McWha.
"This acknowledgement in the National Wine Centre is appropriate recognition of the invaluable contribution made by Alan Robb and Alan David Hickinbotham and their family to the Australian wine industry."■
STORY LANA GUINEAY