Named in honour of their past secretary, Mr Norman Lethbridge, the New South Wales State Committee began the Norman Lethbridge award in 2002 and since its inception have granted the award to fifteen worthy recipients.
The Norman Lethbridge Award is open to students and cadets over 16 years and under 25 years of age, studying agriculture, livestock auctioneering or stock and station agency that reside in Sydney or within 200 kilometres of Sydney.
The Munro family, Booroomooka Angus Stud, Bingara have proudly sponsored the Norman Lethbridge Award since it began and the same subcommittee formed at the beginning, comprising Christine Erby, Mark Lucas, Simon Hennings and Richard Buck have interviewed applicants and adjudicated all these years.
In 2016 a record number of entries were received with Ella Palmer, St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton presented with the award during Angus judging at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show.
As the NSW State Committee celebrates 15 years of the award, committee secretary Richard Buck was honoured to catch up with the first three winners of the award during the Easter Show and hear of their success in agriculture.
Rachael Parkes from Richmond High School won the inaugural award in 2002 and along with her husband, Ged Mullins, runs the largest dairy farm in Queensland.
Ellerby Dairy at Ellangowan, 60km south of Toowoomba, was established in 2009 on 1040ha (800ha leased) with 700 head of Holstein with some Brown Swiss-cross, producing seven million litres of milk this year for Lion’s Dairy Farmers label.
Rachael has recently returned from a trip to China, investigating export opportunities for the dairy industry as a member of her regional economic development group.
2003 winner, Stuart Moeck runs a successful Simmental Stud, Valley Creek Simmentals at Bowral and Schofield.
Stuart’s 4th bull sale realised a top price of $22,000 and averaged $9,000. Stuart has also had a lot of success at the Sydney Royal Easter Show with both steers and stud cattle.
Stuart was attending Richmond Tafe at the time he won the award.
In 2004, the NSW State Committee presented the award to Gosford High School student Ashley Norval.
Ashley was a 2017 RAS Rural Achiever during the Sydney Royal Easter Show and is the manager of Australian Pork Limited’s Technology Adoption and Industry Capability / Research & Innovation.
Ashley is still very much involved in cattle and spends most weekends at a farm in the Riverina that runs 400 Angus breeders.
Committee member Christine Erby also recently spoke with 2009 winner, Andrea Lawrence to catch up on what Andrea has been up to since she was granted the Norman Lethbridge Award.
In 2010 Andrea began an undergraduate degree in Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Sydney and in 2013 she began an honours project that married her love of entomology with animal health. Ashley’s project focused on the genetic diversity of the common cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). Studying the genetic diversity of pest species allows us to understand differences in geographic populations that may
translate to differences in control efficacy or disease vector capability.
Andrea has spent the last three and half years on her PhD project carried on from the work in her honours degree and is in the process of finalising her thesis and has travelled all over the world for her project.
Andrea is grateful for the opportunity provided to her by the Norman Lethbridge Award.
‘It has undoubtedly helped to kick-start my path into pest insect research, both in an agricultural sense and in regards to human and animal health,’ she said.
‘The award provided me with the confidence to pursue opportunities that I may have previously believed out of reach. As such, I am to this day grateful to the New South Wales State Committee for providing the chance for a fledgling agriculturalist to develop into an internationally recognised scientist.’
Throughout the award’s 15 years, schools and businesses who have nominated winning applicants include: Caroline Chisholm College, Colo High School, Elders Goulburn, Gosford High School, Knox Grammar, Lisarow High School, Marian College, Northholm Grammar, Picton High School, Richmond High School, Richmond Tafe, The Scots School, St Catherines Catholic College and Tocal Agriculture College.
Feature Image: Richard Buck and Ashley Norval, Chris Erby, Simon Hennings and Mark Lucas