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Vale Dennis Phillips1950-2023We salute this man who dedicated his career to advancing the horticulture industry of Western Australia through research and development.DENNIS stepped into the industry in the 80s and is behind setting up bulk shipping of vegetables to reduce cost for growers.BY ROHAN PRINCE DIRECTOR HORTICULTURE & IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE, DPIRD
Sadly, Dennis Phillips, our former horticulture researcher with the former Department of Agriculture, passed away on January 22 this year after a period of illness. Many readers will remember Dennis for his dedication to horticulture R&D, and his advocacy for Western Australia throughout his 38 years with the State Government.
Dennis was a local boy who was educated at Kent Street Senior High before becoming a Masters Graduate of the University of Western Australia and starting his career in the State. Although he spent most of his career based at the department’s South Perth office, he supported the South West industry, working from the Manjimup Research Facility during a two-year stint in the early 1990s.
A passionate applied vegetable researcher, some of Dennis’ work included improving tomato production, bulk shipping vegetables to reduce supply chain cost and the three-phase fertiliser program. He also spent many years collaborating with strawberry growers to improve productivity through agronomics and supporting the national breeding program. He also held acting positions as Officer in Charge of Manjimup Research Station and Director of Horticulture.
Some of Dennis’ accolades include the Australian Horticulture Congress Trust Award in 1986 to attend the XXIInd Horticulture Congress in California (supported with funding from the Market Gardeners Association of WA Inc). He was also the inaugural Bill Stevens Award of Excellence recipient in 1997. In 2007, he was winner of the AUSVEG Researcher of the Year Award, followed in 2008 by the Department of Agriculture and Food Excellence Award for Horticultural Research. He also led several information gathering trips overseas with members of the strawberry industry.
This long-serving department officer will be deeply missed by his former colleagues and extensive industry network and remembered for his significant contribution to advancing horticulture research and development in WA. He is survived by his wife Kerry, three children and six grandchildren.
DENNIS Phillips with Danny Trandos at the AUSVEG Awards in 2007.“ This long-serving department officer will be deeply missed by his former colleagues and extensive industry network, and remembered for his significant contribution to advancing horticulture research and development. ”DENNIS Phillips was a highly regarded researcher who worked extensively with the industry for our gain.