2012 Distinguished Past Student Award winner

If you needed answers to questions about baseflow, basalt aquifers, irrigated alluvium or integrated catchment management, then probably the best man to ask would be Jim Galletly.

Jim was presented with his Distinguished Past Student Award for his lifetime of work involving soil and water conservation as well as education.
Arriving at the Queensland Agricultural High School and College in 1943, Jim went on to complete a Queensland Diploma in Agriculture (2nd class honours) in 1946.

He was fortunate to get an Open Scholarship to UQ and completed his Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 1950.

Joining the Soil Conservation Section of the then Department of Agriculture and Stock in Brisbane with extension work in the Redland Bay and Nambour districts, he was later posted to Pittsworth from 1951-54.

He then returned to Gatton as lecturer in Agronomy at the start of 1955.

With a wide range of teaching responsibilities, he was later to share the classroom and the load with others, including Pat Grogan, Bob Talbot, Fred Kleinschmidt and Lochie Rule.

Jim was awarded a Master degree in 1968 for his study into the development of pastures in association with water harvesting on the solodic soils of the College.

In the 1960’s a Catch 22 situation developed when seeking people to teach ‘field engineering’, with neither engineers nor agriculturalists suitably qualified to fill the role.

In the end, Jim was appointed lecturer in Agricultural Engineering, and played a major role in the development of the hydraulics and hydrology laboratories at the College.

In 1972, Jim undertook a six-weeks tour of Britain and a further six-weeks in Israel which yielded valuable information in the soil and water conservation methods of those countries.

Of particular note was the idea of a rotating disc rainfall simulator to demonstrate the use of stubble mulches in preventing soil erosion – Jim borrowed the idea and had one built for teaching purposes, which later led to soil saving techniques such as ‘conservation tillage’ and ‘controlled traffic farming’.

He was also very heavily involved in Australia’s first Integrated Catchment Management scheme comprising scientists, engineers and farmers who developed the Lockyer Watershed Management Association.

Catchment management groups were tasked with tree planting and salinity management on the uplands while water managers were formed on the alluvium to come to grips with water management during droughts.

Another group known as the ‘Crowley Vale Water Board ‘ was formed to administer water allocation from a purpose built ring tank of 350ML with distribution to 12 farms – this scheme continues to operate today.

Retiring from the College in 1987, Jim could not let go, and proposed that the baseflow to Lockyer Creek was from basalt aquifers and not outflow from alluvial aquifers.

This proposal and study proved to be successful, resulting in Jim being awarded his PhD in 2008 at age 81.