Clifford Christian

Award of Doctor of Agricultural Science honoris causa

Clifford Christian

Mr Deputy Chancellor,

The Faculty of Agriculture was established in this University just 50 years ago. The first intake of undergraduates and, in due course, the first graduating class, included Clifford Stuart Christian.

Following postgraduate work in the United States, Mr Christian joined the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the division of plant inudstry and was soon posted to Queensland to study pasture plants suitable for use in this area. His interests broadened to the more general question of utilisation of agricultural resources, and when a decision was made by the Australian government to conduct a scientific survery of the north as a basis for formulating land development policies, Mr Christian was appointed officer in charge of the northern Australian regional survey unit. This unit later became the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation division of land research with Mr Christian as its chief. His development of what is now commonly referred to as the integrated approach to resource survey and assessment may be his greatest achievement. It has been widely adopted in many parts of the world and has contributed significantly to the agricultural utilisation of land.

In 1959, he resigned as chief of his division to become one of the five full-time members of the C.S.I.R.O. executive, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. As the representative of agriculture on this body, he had a major responsibility for formulating agricultural research policies throughout Australia.

Mr Christian has served agriculture extensively, not only in his positions in C.S.I.R.O., but in other ways; as a member of many national and international committees too numerous to list here, by participating in international meetings grappling with problems of agricultural development and food production, and by active membership of scientific and professional societies. He has been president of the Queensland and Australian Capital Territory branches of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, and then its Federal President. He was active in ANZAAS. Honours have included a Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, the award of the medal of that institute, the Farrer Memorial Medal for agriculture awarded by Sydney University and Fellowship fo the World Academy of Art and Science. In 1972, he was made a companion of the most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. 

Our small foundation group of agricultural graduates half a century ago was to include a man destined to move to the very forefront; to make outstanding contributions to agriculture and agricultural science and to bring distinction to his profession and this University. In the view of his distinguished service to agricultural science, the Senate approved that Clifford Stuart Christian be admitted to the honorary degree of Doctor of Agricultural Science. 

Mr Deputy Chancellor, I present to you Clifford Stuart Christian, companion of the most distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Queensland), Master of Science (Minnesota), Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science for the admission to the degree of Doctor of Agricultural Science 'honoris causa'.

Honorary award citation


Doctor of Agricultural Science honoris causa