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Farrer, William James (1845 - 1906)

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Agriculturalist and Wheat popagator
Born: 3 April 1845  Docker, Westmorland, England.  Died: 16 April 1906.
William James Farrer was involved in developing breeds of wheat to withstand disease (especially rust) and harsh Australian conditions as well as to produce high yields. His most notable achievement was the breeding and establishment of "Federation" wheat. His achievement extended wheat-growing areas, especially in New South Wales, and resulted in Australia's becoming a world leader in wheat exports.

Career Highlights
Born Docker, Westmorland, England, 3 April 1845. Died 16 April 1906. Scholarship to Christs's Hospital, London, where he won a gold and a silver medal for mathematics. Educated University of Cambridge (BA 1868). Arrived Australia 1870. Tutor, George Campbell's sheep station, Duntroon (Canberra), New South Wales; qualified as s surveyor 1875; Department of Lands in the Dubbo, Nyngan, Cobar and Cooma districts 1875-86; bought Lambrigg, on the Murrumbidgee River near where Canberra now stands 1886; private experiments on cross-breeding wheat from 1889; wheat experimentalist, Department of Agriculture from 1898. His best known wheat was "Federation", the leading variety throughout Australia 1910-25 and in 1914, of the 29 varieties recommended for growing in New South Wales 22 had been developed by him. His wheats were not so much rust-resistant as rust escaping becausing of their early maturity. His grave behind his house at Lambrigg is marked with a granite column erected by the Commonwealth Government and there is a bronze bust of him at Queanbeyan, New South Wales. Commemorated by the Farrer Memorial medal for outstanding service to agricultural science in research, administration and education; the Farrer Memorial research scholarship awarded for postgraduate research in agriculture; currency; stamps; various schools; streets; a suburb of Canberra; a flour-mill; and several institutions.
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Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: McCarthy, G.J.
Created: 20 October 1993
Modified: 31 July 2006

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
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Updated: 26 February 2007

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