Save Our Soils Media Release 2019

Save our soils: snapshot reveals top threats The top threats facing Australian soils—erosion, contamination, urban encroachment, salinity and climate change—must be addressed or prevented through a nationally co-ordinated approach before irreversible...

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WA branch news and events

The Western Australian branch of Soil Science Australia holds a number of events throughout the year, including the soil science seminar series, most often held at the University of Western Australia, Perth campus.

The annual Boodja Lecture acknowledges the important role of Aboriginal understanding of responsible management of our soil and land. Booja is a Noongar word for ‘land’.

2020 Boodja Lecture

In 2020 the Society was honoured to receive the WA annual lecture in Soil Science from Professor Len Collard.

Professor Collard is with the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. His research has broadened the understanding of the many unique characteristics of Australia’s Aboriginal people and contributed to improving the appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage of the Southwest of Australia. He is a Whadjuk Nyungar elder and a respected Traditional Owner of the Perth Metropolitan area and surrounding lands, rivers, swamps ocean and its culture.

Len presented ‘Cracking the ancient codes of Nyoongar place names of south western Australia’

Victorian branch news and events

The Victorian branch holds regular events and activities throughout the year including lectures, field trips, symposia and quiz nights.

Strategic Agricultural Land – consultation

March to April 2019

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is working with Agriculture Victoria and Deakin University to identify strategic agricultural land within 100 km of central Melbourne.

Thank you to all members for your contribution to the survey.

Soil Science Australia’s submission

Leeper Lecture

The Leeper Lecture is named in honour of Dr Geoffrey W Leeper (1903 – 1986).

Dr Geoffrey W Leeper

  • Educated University of Melbourne (BSc 1924, MSc 1926)
  • University of Adelaide 1927
  • Rowett Research Institute Scotland 1929 Research scholar in chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Melbourne 1930-32
  • Lecturer in Agricultural Chemistry 1933-46
  • Associate Professor 1946-62
  • Professor 1962-69
  • President, Royal Society of Victoria 1959-60
  • President, Victorian Branch, Australian Institute of Agricultural ScienceHonorary Life Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Geoffrey Leeper wrote four books, two on trace elements, one on soil chemistry and one on soils. Peter Ryan described Leeper as “one of Australia’s most distinguished and useful citizens” (quoted in The Age newspaper, 1986, several years after Leeper’s death).

Leeper Lecture Guidelines

Leeper Lecture nomination form (word format) (pdf format)

SA branch news and events

The South Australian branch holds regular events throughout the year, including informal seminars, the annual lecture and the annual field trip.

Queensland branch news and events

Bruce Carey Award Applications

Each year the Queensland Branch confers the Bruce Carey Award to a Branch member for outstanding effort in promoting and raising the awareness of soil science in Australia via activity with Soil Science Australia and the wider community. Electronic applications must reach the Queensland Branch Secretary by 22 July.  Please complete the application and submit with your application to the branch secretary at  It is the responsibility of the person submitting the application to confirm receipt of the application with the Branch Secretary.

Bruce began his career as a Soil Conservation Extension Officer with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in 1971. He carried out this role in Millmerran, Goondiwindi, Emerald and Toowoomba before moving to Brisbane in 1988. His heart remained in extension and he continued his career as a science communicator in soils and land management. Bruce gave many soil related talks to community organisations. He was well-known for his ability to present complex information about soils in an interesting (and often humorous) manner. Over his career Bruce made an amazing contribution to promoting soil conservation in Queensland for which he was a well-deserved recipient of the LJH Teakle Award in 2014.

Branch Newsletters

2021 March

2021 June

2019 AGM minutes

The 2019 Queensland Branch Annual General Meeting minutes are available for download here.

Virtual Tour Western Tour with Dr Andrew Biggs CPSS

Dr Andrew Biggs CPSS is a pedologist and soil surveyor based in Toowoomba with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. He has spent 30 years mapping and studying the soils and landscapes, in particular southern inland Queensland. His areas of expertise include salinity investigation and risk assessment and the role of soils in ecological studies.

Andrew presents a virtual tour through some of the soils and landscapes of southern inland Queensland.

Annual Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture

The Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture was established as a tradition to honour the late Ron McDonald.

Ron McDonald passed away in 1989 at the age of 53 but not without touching many people’s lives along the way. Ron played several essential roles in the Queensland Branch … to most he was the guru of pedology, to others he was a willing counsellor, trainer, leader and motivator.

Ron’s career began in 1964 when he joined the Agricultural Chemistry Branch as a soil surveyor. In 1965 he was sent to Emerald to assess the irrigation suitability of lands for the Emerald Irrigation Area. In 1970 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study soil survey methodology in the Netherlands. This allowed him to visit a number of eminent pedologists in Europe and he returned to Australia with a great desire to improve the quality of soil survey. After eight years in Emerald, Ron was transferred to Brisbane to supervise the rapidly expanding soil survey team. During the early 1980s Ron led a team of authors in the preparation of the ‘bible’ of soil survey, the ‘Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook’. This is still the standard handbook for the characterisation of landforms, soils and vegetation throughout Australia.

Ron was an active member of the Australian Society of Soil Science, being President of the Queensland Branch in 1977/1978. His real love was field pedology and he was enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge on Queensland soils.  Ron’s 25 year career in pedology had a tremendous impact on the quality of soil survey carried out across the State.