MILESTONE: The NSW Department of Primary Industries' Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute is set to celebrate 125 years as a leading centre for primary industries research. Pictured are staff in the 1990s.
MILESTONE: The NSW Department of Primary Industries' Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute is set to celebrate 125 years as a leading centre for primary industries research. Pictured are staff in the 1990s. contributed

Experimental farm opened in 1894 to test crops

MARKING a significant milestone, the NSW Department of Primary Industries' Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute will this year celebrate 125 years as a leading centre for primary industries research.

Institute Director Mark Hickey said when Wollongbar became the site of the second experimental farm in New South Wales in 1894, its purpose was to test fruit crops, grasses and dairying suited to the subtropical climate.

"Wollongbar is now a modern Institute located on more than 500 hectares of prime agricultural land, part of a network of DPI research facilities across the state,” Mr Hickey said.

"Today the Institute continues to support primary industries with approximately 100 staff working in the field and in laboratories.

"We support profitable and sustainable agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and rural communities through research, compliance, education and industry engagement.”

An Open Day will be held at the institute on Saturday August 24 for everyone in the community, with guided tours, hands-on activities, historical displays, and information on the latest research discoveries.

Displays and activities at the Open Day will include horticulture, beef cattle operations, the cattle tick program, a fisheries activity trailer, soils research, water testing, drones, rainforest walks, timber plantations, entomology, biosecurity and invasive species.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, throughout August staff at the Institute will hold Masterclasses for members of the community, to highlight some of the research undertaken at the centre.

An Anniversary Dinner will be held on the evening prior to the Open Day for all ex-staff members to attend.

For more information on the Wollongbar Open Day, Masterclasses or the Anniversary Dinner, please phone (02) 6626 1200.