Victor (Gerry) Collins, AM

Mr Collins’ vision and leadership has made a difference, not only to the cattle industry, but also to the environment.

His work in ecotourism preserving the Undara Lava Tubes System has allowed domestic and international tourists to view this unique geological phenomenon which has been recognised by the prestigious Queensland Environmental Tourism Award.

After graduating from the Queensland Agricultural College (which became the UQ Gatton Campus) with a Queensland Diploma in Animal Husbandry in 1957, Mr Collins went on to be a huge influence to the Australian cattle industry for almost half a century.

Mr Collins attributes his impact partly to the education he received at Gatton.

He was actively involved in the Central and Northern Graziers’ Association (C&NGA), serving two terms as its President, representing the Association on the state-based United Graziers’ Association (UGA) executive for a number of years.

Mr Collins’ extensive industry experience as a UGA representative led to his involvement in a team instrumental in the formation of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA).

He has been at the forefront of genetic changes in the national cattle herd, including altering the genetic structure of his family company cattle herds from a base Shorthorn herd to a highly productive, tick-resistant Droughtmaster herd, the progeny of which consistently achieve premium prices both at sales and slaughter.

Due to his forward thinking in the early 1980’s the family diversified into tourism, developing an ecotourism business on his family’s cattle property based on the geological phenomenon, Undara Lava Tubes System.

The Undara Lava Tubes System is a labyrinth of underground tunnels, formed 190,000 years ago when the Undara Crater erupted and is now home to a wide variety of plant and animal life.

From this project he identified a need for well trained ecotourism guides in Northern Australia. Mr Collins became the driving force in the establishment of ‘Savannah Guides’, a professional organisation that provides accurate and easily understood ecotourism information and assistance to visitors.

He remains Managing Director and partner in a successful eastern gulf, family-owned cattle property and is a partner in a retail butchering company in North Queensland. The latter enterprise is part of a plan to vertically integrate beef production to Meat Standards Australia requirements from paddock to plate.

Throughout his life Mr Collins has developed a diverse range of interests from family, flying, bird watching, geography, travel, local history, sport and racing.

Awards

Gatton Gold Medal
2009

Qualifications

Queensland Diploma in Animal Husbandry from the Queensland Agricultural College
1957