Project update – July 2021

July 1st, 2021

This month marks the end of a 60-year era at CSIRO Ginninderra Experiment Station, as the property has been decommissioned for agricultural research activities.   With CSIRO’s Boorowa Agricultural Research Station fully up and running, and the Ginninderra property being prepared for future sustainable urban living and conservation, it’s timely to reflect on a little of our history.

Ginninderra was acquired by CSIRO in 1958 following the resumption of the former Dickson Experiment Station to make way for the suburb of Dickson. Prior to Dickson, up until 1940, CSIRO operated a research farm at Duntroon, in an area now occupied by Canberra Airport.

Boorowa, in the heart of NSW’s farming district, represents the third move and fourth location for CSIRO’s flagship agricultural research station in the Capital Region.

With all research activities transferred to Ginninderra by 1962, the property hosted six decades of world-leading science. During that time Ginninderra contributed immeasurably to Australia’s farming sector through innovations like the development of BarleyMax and ultra-low gluten Kebari® barley and dual purpose wheats.

At Ginninderra, our scientists field-tested high yielding and disease resistant wheat varieties such as Lawson, Paterson, Gordon, Tennant, Brennan and Dennis.  Ginninderra was home to groundbreaking research into crop and pasture improvement, sustainable farming, plant breeding and the effects of climate change on crop production.

Ginninderra leaves an impressive and invaluable legacy for Australian agriculture. You can read about how CSIRO research into dual-purpose canola, tested and proven at Ginninderra, contributed to a world record breaking canola crop for a NSW farm in 2020.

While agricultural research has moved to Boorowa, a range of other CSIRO or collaborative research continues at Ginninderra. We recently provided an update on the latest autumn burns, a part of the grassland restoration trials being carried out with the Ginninderra Catchment Group.

During National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) we were pleased to welcome the ACT Aboriginal Natural Resource Management Facilitator and an expert arborist onto the Ginninderra site to inspect and inform the preservation of culturally modified ‘scar trees’. We will provide further news about this invaluable work and further consultation with the Representative Aboriginal Organisations (RAOs) as it comes to hand.

Last but not least, across the gamut of CSIRO research, we continue to advance new work and innovations with a key part to play in sustainable cities and urban living. On this front, we recently launched a new Hydrogen Industry Mission to advance Australia’s transition to clean energy through development of Hydrogen as an emissions-free fuel for electricity, power and  heat generation.

Four men bent over each one sheering a white sheep in a shed. Another person is sweeping and another picking up a pile of wool.

Last shearing day at the Ginninderra woolshed. All agricultural activities move off site from the end of June 2021.

Four people gathered around a gum tree in a field. One of the people is wearing a fluro safety vest with black text reading, "TREE OFFICER".

During National Reconciliation Week, the ACT Aboriginal Natural Resource Management Facilitator and an expert arborist visited Ginninderra to inspect and inform the preservation of culturally modified ‘scar trees’.

A hand on a grey tree trunk.

A scar tree at Ginninderra