Queensland Branch Committee Members

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The Queensland State Soil

qldvertosolThe Queensland Branch of the Australian Society of Soil Science Inc selected a Vertosol as the State soil.

Vertosols are clay soils with shrink-swell properties that cause deep and wide cracking on drying. More than half of Australia’s Vertosols are found in Queensland, where they occupy 28% of the State’s total area. 58% of the State’s cropping area is located on Vertosols. They occur on mainly on alluvial plains, weathered sedimentary rocks (e.g. shales mudstones) and weathered basalt. Vegetation associations include grassland (e.g. Mitchell grass), open eucalypt woodland (e.g. Queensland blue gum) and brigalow/gidgee forests.




Queensland Branch Email: qld@soilscienceaustralia.org.au



Book review and content for Soil Science Australia website

This thankful Earth – A Practical Guide to Sustainable Land Use

Authors - John and Anne Shaw

When an elderly couple bought a run-down farm near a small town in southern Queensland, Australia, their neighbours thought the old people were just enjoying their retirement on a ‘hobby block’.  It took a while for the message to sink in that these old folk were about to challenge long-held local myths about land and farming. Soon it was seen that water was being pumped from a bore which had previously been declared ‘dry’. Edible grasses and clovers replaced the tough, spikey weeds which had infested the farm. Trees were planted and thrived despite a lack of irrigation. The farm became prosperous again.

‘This thankful Earth’ is a record of the combined thoughts, ideas and hard work of two people with a common heritage of caring for the land and all its inhabitants.

Soil Science Australia members have provided some comment on the book:

“For anyone interested in land rehabilitation their journey is of interest.  While some may disagree with the authors on one or two technical points, their observations highlight that every farmer is a scientist – nothing beats years of close field observation of the climate, plants, animals and soil.  The insights gained in doing so can be more valuable than years of academic study in terms of on-farm practice change”.

“I encourage people to read the book as many of the simple comments in it make you stop and think about landscapes and how they are viewed by different people”.

 “From a scientific point of view, some of John’s explanations are open to question. These are minor, and one gets the distinct impression that exposed to more information, he would alter his views, but subject to testing in practical context.  The essence of John’s plea for sustainable land management is based on fundamental, unquestionable principles revolving around maintaining cover on farm land and beyond. He links cover to soil protection, water penetration, proliferation of soil biota, carbon sequestration, water quality improvement and run-off reduction. It makes interesting and informative reading to see how he has used traditional and innovative ways to achieve these outcomes’.

 “I found it an interesting read, not the least because I have met the authors and visited their property not long after they purchased it.  While it is a slightly rambling read, the style reinforces the passion of the authors for their topics and you feel you are sitting on their verandah, having a conversation with them”.

‘This thankful Earth’ is available to purchase as a hardcopy for $38.50 (inc postage and packing + tracking within Australia, additional costs if posting overseas). To order a copy contact Anne Shaw (either by phone or email).  There are discounts available for multiple book orders.

Email: johnandanne47@gmail.com

PH: 07 4420 1236

‘This thankful Earth’ is also available as an electronic publication from Amazon:


Queensland Honour Board

2015-16 J McLean Bennett M Crawford D Brough K Williams
2014-15 G Kopittke K Brown D Doolan J McLean Bennett
2013-14 D Brough G Kopittke D Doolan J McLean Bennett
2012-13 S Buchanan D Brough G Kitzrow S Santomartino
2011-12 L Cartwright S Buchanan R Bruce S Santomartino
2010-11 A McElnea L Cartwright R Bruce K Bryant
2009-10 T Baumgartl A McElnea G Kopittke K Marchiori
2008-09 P Kopittke T Baumgartl G Kopittke K Marchiori
2007-08 B Harms P Kopittke K Diefel/A McElnea B Carey
2006-07 K Watling P Tolmie S Catchpoole B Carey
2005-06 D Yule K Watling P Kopittke B Carey
2004-05 R Thwaites D Yule P Kopittke K Watling
2003-04 A Biggs R Thwaites C Vacher RC Bruce
2002-03 MJ Grundy A Biggs C Vacher RC Bruce
2001-02 AA Webb MJ Grundy PG Shields RC Bruce
2000-01 KM Hey AA Webb AE McElnea G Kopittke /RC Bruce
1999-00 M Littleboy /RJ Loch KM Hey AE McElnea FPC Blamey
1998-99 DM Freebairn M Littleboy A Biggs SR Raine
1997-98 NW Menzies DM Freebairn A Biggs SR Raine
1996-97 CR Ahern NW Menzies DE Baker SR Raine
1995-96 GH Price CR Ahern J Standley HM Hunter
1994-95 B Powell GH Price J Standley CR Ahern
1993-94 BM Schafer B Powell RC Dalal CR Ahern
1992-93 GE Rayment BM Schafer SF Glanville CR Ahern
1991-92 BJ Bridge GE Rayment SF Glanville ME Probert
1990-91 WM Strong BJ Bridge DE Baker PG Shields
1989-90 RC Bruce WM Strong DE Baker NW Menzies
1988-89 ME Probert RC Bruce AA Webb RJ Hartigan
1987-88 KJ Coughlan ME Probert EA Gardner BA Forster
1986-87 PG Saffigna KJ Coughlan ME Probert RW Plenderleith
1985-86 HB So PG Saffigna BJ Bridge RL Aitken
1984-85 JP Thompson WB So EK Best DM Freebairn
1983-84 RJ Myers JP Thompson DF Cameron AB McBratney
1982-83 NM Dawson RJ Myers BM Schafer BE Vandersee
1981-82 LC Bell NM Dawson PW Moody RL Aitken
1980-81 I Vallis LC Bell R Ison GG Beckmann
1979-80 PR Stevens I Vallis PB Powell PG Saffigna
1978-79 AL Clarke PR Stevens MJ Whitehouse SE Macnish
1977-78 RC McDonald AL Clarke MJ Whitehouse GE Rayment
1976-77 JS Russell RC McDonald RJ Myers I Vallis
1975-76 SA Waring JS Russell NM Dawson AS Black
1974-75 BJ Crack SA Waring NM Dawson RC Bruce
1973-74 IF Fergus BJ Crack IP Little R Reeve
1972-73 DG Edwards IF Fergus CJ Asher LC Bell
1971-72 GG Beckmann DG Edwards PJ Ross I Vallis
1970-71 HS Briggs GG Beckmann RD Ridge KJ Coughlan
1969-70 WE Fox HS Briggs KJ Coughlan JD Hughes
1968-69 GB Stirk WE Fox HS Briggs GG Beckmann
1967-68 AW Moore GB Stirk HS Briggs GG Beckmann
1966-67 KC Leverington AW Moore H Hassler RE White
1965-66 F Chippendale KC Leverington H Hassler A Hegarty
1964-65 CH Thompson F Chippendale IP Little IF Fergus
1963-64 PJ Skerman CH Thompson JD Hughea WE Fox
1962-63 AE Martin PJ Skerman GB Stirk RF Isbell
1960-62 JE Coaldrake AE Martin R Reeve RE Prebble
1958-60 CR von Stieglitz PJ Skerman (JE Coaldrake) H Hassler JD Hughes
1956-58 GD Hubble RE Prebble CH Thompson  

Soil Science Australia


Soil Science Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that serves as the peak body for soil scientists across Australia, and seeks to advance soil science in the professional, academic and technical fields.  It is a member of the International Union of Soil Sciences



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J.A. Prescott Medal of Soil Science

J.K. Taylor, OBE, Gold Medal in Soil Science

Australian Society of Soil Science Inc Publication Medal

C.G. Stephens PhD Award in Soil Science

L.J.H Teakle Award


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