Gatton Gold Medallist celebrates a fruitful career

7 Dec 2017

A horticultural industry leader whose career has focussed on the export of high quality Australian fruit and vegetables and improved access to international markets was honoured with The University of Queensland’s 2017 Gatton Gold Medal.

David Minnis OAM accepted the award at the graduation ceremony for the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at UQ Gatton on Thursday, 7 December. 

UQ Deputy Dean of Science and Associate Dean (Research) Professor Ian Gentle said the award was made each year to a UQ graduate who had made an outstanding contribution in their field. 

“We are delighted that in UQ Gatton’s 120th year, David is recognised for his leadership in scientific post-harvest innovations and developing export markets for Australia,” Professor Gentle said.

“Only last month the Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj announced a new Centre for Horticultural Science will be launched at UQ.

“Horticulture is one of the largest and most diverse industries in Australian agriculture, accounting for about 18 per cent of its total value.”

Mr Minnis began his career in research and has built up a wealth of knowledge about quarantine, bio-security, market access and international trade. He has worked in the public and private sector and has provided technical and policy advice to both government and industry.

He earned a Diploma in Horticulture from the Queensland Agricultural College (now UQ Gatton) in 1963, and went on to obtain horticultural Bachelors and Masters degrees at Lincoln College, New Zealand.

He has held senior roles in Australian horticultural research and exporting organisations, including Austrade, the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association, the Australian Horticultural Research and Development Corporation.

In 1993, Mr Minnis established his own Australian export company, 888 Exports, which now exports more than $10 million worth of horticultural produce a year.

Mr Minnis said he appreciated early that although farmers could grow excellent crops, better post-harvest technologies could extend product shelf life and improve profitability and export potential.

“My scientific background has been very helpful and much of my career has also centred on gaining Australian access to closed or restricted international horticultural markets,” Mr Minnis said.

“It’s important that Australia does export to improve profitability as we have a small population and would otherwise be in an oversupply situation.”

Mr Minnis’s expertise and international standing in the field of horticulture has previously been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal, and with awards from the Australian Horticultural Exporters Association and Horticulture Australia.


Contact: David Minnis,, +61 427 101 599.