South Australian icon celebrates 125th birthday

Roseworthy Campus Honours student Megan Bray

Roseworthy Campus Honours student Megan Bray
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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Australia's first agricultural college - Roseworthy Campus - kicks off its 125th birthday celebrations this weekend with a series of events to honour its contribution to the State and nation.

The University of Adelaide campus, which began as Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1883, has an impressive list of 'firsts' to its credit. It pioneered the use of superphospate in Australia, introduced the first wine-making course in the country, developed the practice of cropping rotations and is on the verge of producing the world's first surgical mulesing alternative.

Roseworthy Campus Director Professor Phil Hynd says few other Australian institutions have such an impressive history or played such a pivotal role in shaping the nation.

"In 1883, when Roseworthy was founded, Australia was struggling with serious drought, pests, unsustainable farming practices, food shortages and a deficit of trained young people entering agriculture. Roseworthy rose to the challenge to address these crises," he says.

The college produced the first deliberately-bred wheat variety in the country in 1890 after trialling 180 varieties from five continents. It also established the use of superphosphate to reverse the rapidly-declining cereal yields in Australia and new fertilisers pioneered by Roseworthy increased the sheep-carrying capacity on farms by 400%.

Other Roseworthy breakthroughs which have revolutionised Australian agriculture include the development of the South Australian Merino and the emergence of sophisticated animal genomics research to produce superior cattle and sheep breeds.

Professor Hynd says the Roseworthy brand name is recognised globally for its viticulture and oenology reputation and many of its graduates constitute a "who's who" of South Australian agriculture.

To celebrate the historic birthday, several hundred alumni will return to Adelaide this Saturday 18 October for a commemorative church service in St Peter's Cathedral, a graduation re-enactment ceremony in Bonython Hall and a celebratory dinner at Adelaide Oval.

On Sunday 2 November, the Roseworthy Campus will host an Open Day from 11am to 5pm, featuring the theme "The Science Behind the Product". It will include exhibits, talks, food, entertainment and family activities.

For more information on these events, visit


Contact Details

Professor Phil Hynd
Roseworthy Campus
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7871
Mobile: 0438 743 336

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762