Allan Baker

Dr Allan Baker, this year appointed the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries' Operations Manager to deal with the State's equine influenza outbreak, will be awarded the prestigious UQ Gatton Gold Medal, and address graduates at the Friday, December 7, ceremony at 11am in the Campus Gymnasium.

Dr Baker, who still forms a vital part of the veterinary teaching team at UQ, graduated from the Queensland Agricultural College, which later became the UQ Gatton Campus, in 1956, with a Queensland Diploma in Animal Husbandry. Graduating third in his class, Dr Baker went on to complete his Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1961 and his PhD in 1968 (both at UQ). Dr Baker was also made a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinarian Scientists in 1982.

Dr Baker was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cambridge University from 1969 to 1970, and again, in 1975, where he studied livestock embryo transfer and its application.

Also in 1975, he was awarded a French Government Scholarship to study potential agricultural, including veterinary, collaborations between Australia and France.

His work led to him introducing French cattle breeds to Australia the following year, and he was awarded the Agency Pour Cooperation Technique Industrielle Et Economique (ACTIM) Medal in 1975 from the French Government.

Dr Baker's teaching involvement with UQ Gatton began through lecturing appointments and casual academic positions, then, between 1963 and 1967, he was Head Lecturer in Animal Science, before serving as a Senior Lecturer between 1970 and 1983. He was a Queensland Agricultural College Councillor between 1978 and 1983, and, from 1985 until 1988, he was Director of UQ's Pastoral Veterinary Centre at Goondiwindi.

He also instructed at the UQ Gatton Dairy as a casual academic between 2002 and 2004.

He was a veterinary practitioner and owner of three veterinary practices between 1988 and 1999, in Allora and Cooroy, Queensland.

His research and development activities in the animal and veterinary industries both in Australia and throughout the world have provided inspiration for generations of animal scientists and veterinarians.

Early in his career, Dr Baker took up the challenge of investigating the causes of low productivity, low calving percentages and poor calf viability, particularly in the harsher sub-tropical regions of Queensland. Dr Baker was an early advocator of the advantages of Bos indicus (zebu) cattle over the poorer performing Bos tauras cattle in these regions and started to suggest new techniques including oestruous synchronisation and artificial insemination.

Having established basic research into low productivity in northern beef herds, Dr Baker concluded that further investigation and more intensive experimental work needed to be undertaken. No facilities were available at that time at UQ, so Dr Baker entered into negotiations with the QAC and struck a deal which saw him spend the next four years teaching Diploma students at the College and studying zebu cattle on the site that now, fittingly, houses the Centre for Advanced Animal Science (CAAS), one of the most advanced animal research sites in the country.

Throughout his teaching and research career, Dr Baker has published more than 60 scientific papers, several monographs and has contributed several book chapters. He has lectured to hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate students at both the QAC and the UQ, successfully supervising several PhD, Masters and many other students to contribute to the body of knowledge for the animal science and veterinarian industries.

Dr Baker has undertaken significant work in underdeveloped countries, under the auspices of aid agencies in countries such as Vanuatu, Nepal, Fiji, Samoa, Bangladesh and Indonesia. There, he set up laboratories and clinics, teaching animal husbandry and veterinary science as well as training livestock staff and agricultural officers. His efforts were recognised jointly by the Australian College of Veterinary Science and the Australian Veterinary Association in 2005 when he was awarded the Kesteven Medal for his contribution to international veterinary science.

Awards

Gatton Gold Medal
2007

Qualifications

Queensland Diploma in Animal Husbandry from the Queensland Agricultural College
1956
Bachelor of Veterinary Science
1961
Doctor of Philosophy
1968