THREE Western Australians who made significant contributions to WA agriculture have been inducted in

24 Apr, 2007 08:45 PM

Dr Radunovich was born in Montenegro (now Yugoslavia) and arrived in Australia in 1940 with his family to join his father on a tobacco farm at Manjimup.

After graduating from Melbourne University and spending two years at Fremantle Hospital, he bought the local medical practice at Kununoppin in 1958 and commenced work.

Forty-nine years later, he is still in practice at Kununoppin, but during the intervening years he has had a major influence on the evolution of country medicine, from the introduction of visiting specialists in the bush to the provision of visiting female doctors in a predominately male world.

Kwolyn farmer and stud Merino breeder Jim Shepherd was greatly influenced by the research Helen Newton-Turner in the 1960s that embraced measuring the attributes of Merino sheep to assist in selection.

Having seen the success of using fleece weight and body weight to assist him in selecting the best sheep on his farm, Mr Shepherd went a step further and encouraged his ram-buying clients to use the same system to pick the best of their flocks, eventually integrating them into a cooperative breeding flock.

This gave birth to the Australian Merino Society (AMS) in the 1970s which grew to 1000 farmers in WA and interstate, revolutionising sheep breeding in Australia while incurring the displeasure of the more traditional stud breeders.

For 30 of the 40 years the late Claude Toop was with the Agriculture Department, he was either chief or assistant chief veterinarian.

So the animal industries in WA owe much of their high level of freedom from disease to the biosecurity programs he put in place.

Dr Toop initiated the development of eradication or quarantine measures for most of the important exotic animal diseases, as well as providing the expertise for the introduction of myxomatosis into WA in 1951 when the first rabbits were infected with the virus.


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