Farrer Memorial Trust

The Farrer Memorial Medal is awarded annually to perpetuate the memory of William James Farrer, Plant Breeder, and to provide encouragement and inspiration to those engaged in agricultural science.

The medallist is chosen by trustees of the Farrer Memorial Research Scholarship Fund from the ranks of those persons who have rendered distinguished service in agricultural science in Australia in the fields of research, education or administration. The recipient of the medal is invited to deliver an oration on a topical subject of his or her own choice.Image of William James Farrer

Following the death of Farrer in 1906, a committee was formed to raise subscriptions for the establishment of a Memorial Fund, control of which was transferred to a Trust under a set of instructions dated 16 October 1911.

The Farrer Memorial Oration was arranged originally by a local committee at Queanbeyan. The originator of the idea was Mr Frank J. Gallagher MA, who was then Principal of the Queanbeyan Intermediate High School.

The first oration was delivered by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Rt Hon J.A. Lyons MP, on 3 April 1936 (the anniversary of the date of Farrer's birth) at the Star Theatre, Queanbeyan, when a silver medallion was presented to him by the children of the school as a memento of the occasion. This medal has been donated to the Adolph Basser Library, Canberra, where it is on display.

At the request of Mr Gallagher, the trustees assumed responsibility during 1941 for arranging an annual oration and presentation of a medal. The oration is now published in the Trust's Annual Report.

All Farrer medallists and their memorial orations since 1936 are available.

Renowned wheat genome advocate wins 2021 Farrer Memorial Medal

Congratulations to Professor Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Appels on receiving the 2021 Farrer Memorial Medal for his extensive work in wheat genome research.

“Professor Appels’ long and distinguished career in wheat genome research has provided significant agricultural breakthroughs that have benefitted countless growers and the wider agricultural industry.

View the full media release here.

2022 Farrer Memorial Scholarships

The Farrer Memorial Scholarships are designed to support overseas travel to include attendance at an international conference at which a paper or poster is being presented.

Nominations are now open with more details available here.

Donations to the Trust

The Farrer Memorial Trust welcomes donations from those with a commitment to the Australian rural industry to help it fund:

  • the Farrer Memorial Travelling Scholarships
  • the Farrer Memorial Research Scholarship postgraduate award for study or research in agriculture
  • the annual award of the Farrer Medal.

The Trust is required by an Act of Parliament  to fund these activities totally from investment income, and not from capital. Escalating costs, however, are making it difficult to keep the awards at an acceptable level and continue the medal presentations.

Cheques in favour of the Farrer Memorial Trust may be sent to the Secretary, Farrer Memorial Trust, GPO Box 5477,Sydney NSW 2001.

For more information about donating to the Farrer Memorial Trust, contact the Secretary .

Trustees of the Farrer Memorial Trust

  • Mr S Hansen, Director General, Department of Primary Industries, and Chairman, Farrer Memorial Trust
  • Ms K Lorimer-Ward, Deputy Director General, Agriculture NSW, Department of Primary Industries
  • Professor A McBratney, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, University of Sydney
  • Dr JC Radcliffe, AM.

Non-Official Trustees

  • Geoffrey Mason, AM
  • Rohan Wilson
  • David Davidson


Vicki Priest, Executive Officer Boards and Committees


(02) 6391 3023
0436 454 533


Ms Vicki Priest
Farrer Memorial Trust
105 Prince Street



Annual Reports

Older annual reports for the Farrer Memorial Trust can be found on the DPI web publication archive.