Queensland branch news and events

The Queensland branch holds regular events throughout the year.



Refresher Training Course


You're invited to the Queensland Branch Soil Basics Refresher Training Course in Toowoomba. 


The course is an introduction to soils, their uses, formation, components, structure and texture.  This course also provides sessions on basic soil chemistry theory and practice using case study examples.  A field practical session with hands on participation is included.


Thursday 1st November 2018


Green Room, Conference Centre
Dept of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
203 Tor Street, Toowoomba


Registration from 8am for a 8.30am start


Register here







Broad overview of soils (uses, views, importance) and role of SSA


Introduction to soils – formation, components, texture, structure, colour


Morning tea


Introduction to soil chemistry – cation exchange, pH, salinity


Practical implications of soil chemistry




Case studies showcasing soil management


Field session 1

-Soil texture, soil colour

-Field pH / EC tests

-Acid sulfate soil field tests

-Dispersion tests


Availability of regional soils information


Afternoon Tea


Describing soils – look at the big picture, where are you in the landscape, what soil type to expect before even digging a hole

Field session 2

-Soil profile discussions

-Describing different soils







Annual Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture

The Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture was established as a tradition to honour the late Ron McDonald.

Ron McDonald passed away in 1989 at the age of 53 but not without touching many people’s lives along the way. Ron played several essential roles in the Queensland Branch ... to most he was the guru of pedology, to others he was a willing counsellor, trainer, leader and motivator.

Ron’s career began in 1964 when he joined the Agricultural Chemistry Branch as a soil surveyor. In 1965 he was sent to Emerald to assess the irrigation suitability of lands for the Emerald Irrigation Area. In 1970 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study soil survey methodology in the Netherlands. This allowed him to visit a number of eminent pedologists in Europe and he returned to Australia with a great desire to improve the quality of soil survey. After eight years in Emerald, Ron was transferred to Brisbane to supervise the rapidly expanding soil survey team. During the early 1980s Ron led a team of authors in the preparation of the ‘bible’ of soil survey, the ‘Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook’. This is still the standard handbook for the characterisation of landforms, soils and vegetation throughout Australia.

Ron was an active member of the Australian Society of Soil Science, being President of the Queensland Branch in 1977/1978. His real love was field pedology and he was enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge on Queensland soils.  Ron's 25 year career in pedology had a tremendous impact on the quality of soil survey carried out across the State.