Authors Invitation

The following letter invites past officers of the Department of Agriculture, Victoria ( and successor  agencies) to contribute to this history.

A HISTORY: Victorian Department of Agriculture 1946 – 96


Dear Colleague

A human history of the Department

The three of us (Lawson, Russell and Bardsley) are writing to you to ask for your help in preparing a history of the Department that highlights the role played by staff members over the period 1945 to 1996. Dr Bruce Kefford, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Primary Industries will already have contacted you about our project, which is receiving his valued support.

Our work aims to complement that of Dr Lyn Peel by adding a more personal dimension. We have worked in several of the various incarnations of the Department, and we're well aware of the important role played not only by the formal leaders, but also by staff in all sectors of the organisation. We've seen how people have contributed to, adapted to, supported and sometimes railed against organisational change. We want to ensure that these contributions aren't lost as time flies past ever more quickly. We're good examples of how none of us is getting any younger!

Specifically, we're asking you to provide us with your recollections and comment on your time in the Department. You can do this in a number of ways:

You may also wish to give us the names and, if possible contact addresses, of others you think could contribute.  Do pass this on to other old colleagues.

Decisions will be made later about the final form of publication for this material. We envisage its publication on a website and in electronic (DVD) form, and probably as a hard copy version of the final format. Much depends on the amount of material we receive.

We've set out below several questions that may prompt your thinking. These are meant to provide some structure to the final document we produce, but they're by no means exhaustive and you may wish to add further ideas. On the other hand, don't feel compelled to comment on all questions. To try to keep this manageable, somewhere around 200 words per question should be the maximum where possible.

These, then, are the questions we'd like to raise:

  1. Given the period of interest (1945 to 1996), what was the time span of your career? What were the major issues during that time?  
  2. What was the Department like when you joined? Who were the key people, both in the Department and in your career development?
  3. What did you see as the overall ethos or philosophy of the Department when you joined, and did that change? If so, how did it change?



  1. What approach, ethos or philosophy did you aim to employ in your work and to foster in others?
  2. What did you see as different or unique about the Department, compared with your experiences with other organisations?
  3. What were the key challenges and opportunities you faced – and saw the Department as facing? 
  4. How did the political environment of the time affect your work?
  5. Who were the key industry leaders you regard as important in your era?
  6. What major events, projects and achievements shaped your career in the Department?
  7. What do you regard as having been the main successes and failures in Victorian agriculture during the time of your service?
  8. Who were your role models, or who played a major influential role, in your career?
  9. Do you have a particular anecdote or experience about people or events that really stands out? If so, please feel free to contribute it!

Don't forget that if you have other issues that you'd like to raise, please go ahead and do so.

A couple of matters that we do need to mention. These are important for the successful completion of this task:

If possible, we would like to receive all contributions by 30 June 2010. If you require more time, please let us know.

With our kind regards

Dr Ras Lawson

Dr Hamish Russell

Dr Barrie Bardsley





Email: hrus1814@bigpond,