Ian S Tolley was born in Renmark, South Australia on 8 July 1929. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Civil Engineering and Surveying. He followed his passion for plants and became the guru for citrus, running a successful citrus nursery and orchard for most of his life. He is a specialist and global expert in seed production, seedling production, orchard planning, establishment and management.
In 1965 Ian was awarded one of the first Australian Churchill Fellowships for citriculture, enabling him to tour overseas for six months learning from citrus growers around the world. He developed a new propagation for citrus called ‘Micro-Budding’ and this has now become an accepted technique world-wide.
Internationally renowned, Ian was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1995 for services to the community, horticulture, and the citrus industry.
Ian is a regular on ABC talkback as well as presenting popular Masterclasses for Diggers Club Members in Adelaide, Dromana and Blackwood.
In 1975 he was awarded Life Membership of the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia. In 1978 he was elected National President of the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS) – Australian Region. In 1985 he was elected World President and in 1992 received their Award of Honour for outstanding work in the Society. In 1998 Ian was the first member outside of the USA to receive the IPPS International Award of Merit for services in the dissemination of horticultural knowledge.
In 1980 he was selected as one of three International Founders of the International Society of Citrus Nurserymen (ISCN), to represent the Australian/Pacific Region. He became a Society President and in 2005 was voted as Patron of the ISCN at their Cairo Congress.
In 1995 Ian was awarded an OAM, the Medal of the Order of Australia, for his lifelong service to horticulture, particularly the citrus industry.
In 1999 he was asked to write a small 80-page fully colour illustrated booklet, called Citrus for Everyone. In the 23 years since it has never been out of print. This led to devoting the past 10 years of activity into producing what some have told him is a masterpiece with no equivalent, named Common Sense Citrus of 228 pages with 500 illustrations.
In 2004 he attained a TAFE Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training.
In 2005 Ian was awarded the Churchill Fellows Association Life Membership and Citation for long service to the Association.
In 2013 Ian was Awarded Life Membership for service to the Rare Fruits Society of South Australia.
Over the years, Ian has been involved in Australian and International consultancy in the USA, South Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, and was formerly the Lead Consultant to GTZ, a German Aid Group that worked Government to Government in Egypt and Thailand to restructure their citrus industries.
He regularly lectures on production and technical aspects of horticulture, and is a prolific writer and regular ABC commentator on gardening and trees. Ian is widely recognised for his innovation and experience in irrigation methods and general technological and orchard mechanisation innovation. Ian is constantly sought for factual help and has run Masterclasses and Workshops throughout Southern Australia.
In 2017 Ian released his book: Commonsense Citrus – a hands-on guide to propagation and planting.
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