Gary Baker

Research interests

  • Tea tree breeding and genetics
  • Tea tree germplasm development


Gary Baker had been the Project Officer of the Tea Tree Breeding Project since it commenced in 1993. The project has progressively released seed from improved breeding lines to growers since 1997. In less than a decade of breeding and selection and release of seed to industry, oil yields have increased from 148 kg/ha to approximately 250 kg/ha, equivalent to a 70% yield improvement. Desirable changes in oil quality traits that enhance market access have also been achieved in parallel with the yield increase.

Gary continues to work on releasing improved tea tree germplasm.


  • Bachelor of Rural Science (Hons); University of New England, 1978
  • Master of Agricultural Science; University of Queensland, 1987

Current projects

  • Highly improved tea tree varieties to maximize profit

Recent publications

Baker GR, Doran JC, Williams ER, Olesen TD (2010) Improved tea tree varieties for a competitive market. Research Publication No. 10/188 (RIRDC, Canberra)

Baker GR, Doran JC, Williams ER, Southwell IA (2007) Breeding and cloning tea tree for greater profitability. Research Publication No. 07/142 (RIRDC, Canberra)

Baker GR, Doran JC, Williams ER (2007) Breeding for gains in tea tree oil. Australasian Forest Genetics Conference, Hobart, Tasmania.

Doran JC, Baker GR, Williams ER, Southwell IA (2006)  Genetic gains in oil yields after nine years of breeding Melaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae). Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture. 46, 1521-1527.

Baker GR, Lowe RF, Southwell IA (2000) Comparison of oil recovered from tea tree leaf by ethanol extraction and steam distillation. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 48, 4014-4043.

Doran JC, Baker GR (2000) Using clones to establish tea tree plantations. Short Report No. 73. RIRDC: Canberra.

Baker GR (1999) Tea tree breeding. In, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles – Tea Tree: The Genus Melaleuca (I Southwell, R Lowe eds). Pp. 135-151. (Harwood Academic Publishers, The Netherlands)

Baker GR, Doran JC (1999) Breeding Melaleuca alternifolia for essential oils. Proceedings of the 11th Australian Plant Breeding Conference, Glenelg, SA. Pp.104-105.

Doran JC, Baker GR, Murtagh GJ, Southwell IA (1997) Improving tea tree yield and quality through breeding and selection. Research Paper Series No. 97/53. (RIRDC, Canberra)

Fields of research

070602 Horticultural Crop Improvement (Selection and Breeding)

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Tea tree breeding
  • Germplasm development

Contact details