Kununurra’s Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture celebrates 75 years
The progress of the Ord Valley agricultural sector was the centre of celebrations at the weekend, as farmers, scientists, politicians and community members marked the 75th anniversary of Kununurra’s Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
With a history that precedes the development of the Kununurra township itself, the Kimberley Research Station was established as a joint State and Commonwealth initiative in 1946 to help realise the productive potential of the fertile and water-rich East Kimberley.
Initially staffed by the CSIRO and the WA Department of Agriculture, the research facility became fully owned by the Department of Agriculture in 1986, when it was renamed the Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
The research station was named after former WA Premier Frank Wise, who led the State from 1945- 1947 and was instrumental in driving horticultural development in northern WA.
Over the past 75 years, the Kununurra facility has led research into sugar cane, cotton, rice, sorghum, maize, winter cereals, safflower, linseed, peanuts, lemongrass, kenaf and other fibre crops, producing 33,500 tonnes of fruit and vegetables on average each year.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan was in Kununurra on Saturday to mark the occasion, describing the milestone as a celebration of the pioneers and researchers who had made large contributions to the agricultural industry and WA economy.
She said the State Government was committed to revitalising the institute and its infrastructure, resourcing and research partnerships. “The Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture and its staff have achieved so much over more than seven decades, underpinning the transformation of this outback region into a valuable northern food bowl,” she said.
“As science and new technologies evolve, so too do opportunities for sustainable, profitable agricultural development in the north, in harmony with the Kimberley’s natural assets.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails