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.