Research & Education

The Period 1945 to 1959

After the establishment of the Institute in 1945, the gifted land was leased back to Coree Pastoral Company to generate revenue to allow the purchase of additional sheep and cattle to stock the property. The lease period extended to 1953 after which the property was fully stocked and then run by the Institute as a going concern. This enabled further improvements to be made and generated revenue to enable the commencement of research and education activities.

The Period 1959 to 1972

The McCaughey family developed a close relationship with the University of Sydney as a result of Sir Samuel McCaughey’s interest in innovation, research and education. Sir Samuel left a significant bequest to the University which enabled four McCaughey Chairs (English Language, French, Dentistry and Surgery), four Associate Professorships (German and Comparative Literature, Psychology, Physiology and Geography) as well as a Lectureship in Entomology to be established.

In 1959, the Institute took Sir Samuel’s philanthropy to another level when they commenced an active research and education program, in conjunction with the University of Sydney, on Old Coree. The focus of the collaboration was research and education into: 

  • Animal nutrition
  • Fertility
  • Disease control
  • Artificial breeding techniques

A number of well-known scientists were involved in the programs, including Prof Neil Moore, Prof Jim Shelton, Prof Stephen Salamon, Prof Terry Robinson, Prof David Lindsay, Prof Jim Brown, Dr Peter Holst, Dr David Quinlivan, Dr Doug Killeen, Dr John Smith, Prof Carl Wood, Prof Alan Trounson and Dr Geoff Spry.

The success of the collaboration can be measured by the fact that around 100 peer reviewed papers were published; 5 PhD’s were awarded; sheep artificial insemination and embryo transfer technology was pioneered and the foundation work for human in-vitro-fertilisation was carried out.


The Period 1973 to 1989

The collaboration with the University of Sydney at Old Coree terminated in 1972. However the Institute remained strongly connected with and continued to be a significant supporter of research and education carried out by the University through to the present time.  The wool price collapse in the early 1970’s, shortly followed by cattle prices, led to some difficult years when research and education activities had to be reduced. The Institute consolidated its financial position by selling 22,000 acres of the property in 1973 but bought back 1,500 acres in 1975 to make Old Coree the size it is today – 4,512 acres or 1,826 hectares.

From 1974, the Institute developed some of property for irrigation and in conjunction with researchers from CSIRO, the Department of Agriculture, the National Forestry and Timber Bureau and the Water Resources Commission, was able to carry out research of benefit to the developing irrigation industries in the region. This work included assessment and seed production of the new aphid resistant Lucerne variety, Falkiner, bred by Dr Veronica Rogers; Conifer growth evaluation; supplementary feeding of beef cattle; stall feeding of housed merino sheep; soybean evaluation, dairy farm pasture development and irrigated wheat production.

The Institutes involvement in rice production commenced in 1982 and led to research collaboration with the industry and its processing and marketing arm, Ricegrowers’ Co-operative Limited (RCL – now Ricegrowers Limited trading as SunRice). In 1987, the Co-operative approached the Institute about leasing Old Coree to become the hub of its research and education activities.

The Period 1989 to the Present Time

After due diligence to ensure compliance with the Trust Deed, the Institute,  Ricegrowers Co-operative Limited and its R & D subsidiary company, Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL) signed a lease agreement on 1st July 1989. The collaboration has been extremely successful for both parties.

For RRAPL, new rice varieties are developed in collaboration with NSW DPI, agronomic and plant protection R & D is carried out and best management practices are continually developed. In addition, SunRice’s pure rice seed operates from Old Coree and the property is able to showcase Australian rice growers’ world leading production efficiency and product quality to SunRice’s global and domestic customer base. The rice industry carries out a large number of technology transfer events for rice growers at Old Coree, including the annual rice field day, farm walks and industry meetings.

For the Institute, the partnership with the rice industry continues the vision the McCaughey family had in establishing an R & D Institute to honour the memory of Lieutenant Samuel Michael McCaughey and Sergeant David Leslie Macpherson and at the same time facilitate

R & D to benefit the agriculture sector and their communities. The lease also provides an important source of revenue to enable the Institute to support its chosen research and education projects.

Recognition of the Institute’s Philanthropy

The collaboration with the University of Sydney that was highlighted in the period 1959 – 1972 is ongoing, delivering huge technology benefits to the agricultural sector from research as well as to students and research personnel through support of education and training.

This longstanding and ongoing contribution was recognised when the University of Sydney inducted the McCaughey Memorial Institute into the Founders’ Circle on 17th August 2018.

The Founders’ Circle celebrates the remarkable contribution of philanthropy to the University of Sydney and recognises donors who have the vision to make a difference through substantial giving during their lifetime.

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