Interview with Alexander John Kerry (Lex) Walker / Interviewer: Bernard O'Neil Walker, Alexander John Kerry

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Walker, Alexander John Kerry
Walker, Alexander John Kerry.
Interview with Lex Walker. Subject Tape 1, Side A. Personal background (born 1916); family farm; education; Great Depression; John Ridley Scholarship to Roseworthy; employment on control of Cape Tulip weed; war service. Family farm (mixed cereal and sheep); desire to teach or work in agriculture; return to work after war service; joining Department of Agriculture. Waite Institute work; links with Roseworthy College. Moving to the Department, 1950; soil conservation; soldier settlement; experimental work; based in Adelaide. Size and nature of the Department in 1950s; cadetships; reorganisation of animal husbandry area. Structure of the Department; relocating the Department. New head of the Department; War Service Land Settlement Scheme; research role and demonstration farms; Tape 1, Side B. Supervising research officers and staff; Commonwealth Extension Services Grant; funding from industry. Need to improve primary production; impact of activity on the land; land clearance; Soils Branch work erosion, salinity Promoted to head extension and research work. Research work weed and pest control, fertilisers; success; extension programs windrowing of barley, using legumes. Chief of the Division of Plant Industries; work trips; politicians on trips. Contact with the Director; locust plague, 1955 Tape 2, Side A. Extending South Australian knowledge and markets overseas. Australian Barley Board role in SA and Victoria; retirement in 1977. Applied to be Director of Agriculture; relations with the Ministers. Framing legislation; administering and enforcing Acts and policy; committee work .Tape 3, Side A. Build-up in research after 1950; recruiting graduates; need to increase the value of primary production. Regionalisation; overseas trip to observe situation elsewhere and implementation in SA Monarto episode; Agricultural Bureau movement; involved in the location of bulk ports; Royal Show; Tape 3, Side B. Relationships with other departments and agencies. Change in support for and understanding of agriculture; Callaghan Report. Status of the Ministers Law enforcement role. Soil Conservation Act. Environmental issues salinity, Soil Conservation Board, grasshopper plague, fruit fly control, quarantine, land clearing; land improvement; local conferences; Standing Committee on Agriculture; Agricultural Council. Working conditions Tape 4, Side A. Publications. Extension Services. Economic Section; Artificial Breeding Board; Policy and Technical Committees Wheat quotas in South Australia. Retired Officers Group.
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