Abstract: The Sir Ian McLennan Award was established in 1985 by the leaders of Australian industry and technology to recognise outstanding contributions by CSIRO scientists and engineers to national development.
It provides the winning scientist with a grant of up to $15,000 to undertake an overseas study visit appropriate to the achievement. As well as the grant, the successful scientist is presented with the Sir Ian McLennan Medal, and the companies or organisations involved in the development and/or marketing of the innovation are presented with the Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award plaque.
Named in honour of the late Sir Ian McLennan, the Award recognises his contributions to the application of science and technology to Australia's industrial development. Sir Ian was Chairman of BHP for many years and later Chairman of the ANZ Banking Group and Chairman of Elders IXL. He was associated with Australian industry for over fifty years and was an enthusiastic supporter of new technology.
In 1991, Mr. Don Beech (Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures) of CSIRO, working on Chickpea being the third most widely grown grain legume crop in the world, after soybeans and peanuts. It can be used as a split pea, as flour and in hummus (a spread made from chickpeas and sesame paste). World production is now about 7-8 million tonnes a year, with Australia contributing about 240,000 tonnes.
Chickpea was first introduced to Australia as a potential crop almost 100 years ago, but successful commercial production was not achieved until the 1980s. It was Mr Beech's work that established the industry which, in the last ten years, has expanded from nothing to the 196,000 hectares sown in 1991 and earns about $80 million in exports.
He played a leading role in a collaborative project in the 1970s, which evaluated the suitability of many different types of chickpea for growing in different States. Mr Beech finally selected the Tyson cultivar because of its high yield in Australian conditions and acceptability to the Asian market.
Mr Beech collaborated with the Queensland Grain Growers Association in the market research and seed production activities, and in the initial development of the first export industry by Mr. Pars Ram Punj of Pars Ram Brothers (Aust) Pty Ltd, that were the basis for launching the Australian industry. The Queensland Department of Primary Industries, along with Departments in other States, strongly supported the development of this new industry.
The Queensland 400
Pars Ram Brothers (Australia) Pty Ltd is recognized for its outstanding achievement in business and for its contribution to the economic growth of Queensland. PRB has ranked among Queensland's top 400 privately owned businesses, based on independent research conducted.