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Annual RD Watt lecture

Commemorating our first lecture in agriculture

The annual RD Watt lecture commemorates the first lecture delivered to University of Sydney agriculture students in March 1911 by Australia’s first Professor and Dean of Agriculture, Sir Robert Dickie Watt.

2018 lecture

Cotton tales: celebrating success in Australia

White fluffy bolls of cotton grow across eastern Australia, making us a top cotton producer and the world’s third largest exporter of cotton behind USA and India. Discover more about this Australian success story at the 2018 RD Watt Lecture ‘Cotton tales: celebrating success in Australia’

From the first cotton seeds brought to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788, the cotton industry has blossomed into the extraordinarily successful agri-industry that it is today, with Australian cotton held in the highest regard internationally.

While we all use cotton products every day – from clothing to homewares, and from soaps to pharmaceuticals – many of us don’t know much about this Australian success story.

Learn more about cotton industry successes, such as how it provides jobs and business opportunities in rural regions of NSW, Queensland and Victoria; how we deliver highly regarded cotton fibre to international spinners; and how science allows us to combine increased yield and fibre quality, with improved water use efficiency and a smaller environmental footprint.

Find out about our cotton history, our scientific and production achievements, and where cotton will take us in the future, from three leaders in the cotton industry who are all University of Sydney alumni. 

About the speakers:

  • David Anthony, Chair, Auscott Limited, Director, Plant Biosecurity CRC, will speak about the history and development of the Australian cotton industry.
  • Dr Greg Constable, Post Retirement Fellow, CSIRO, will speak about research achievements in the Australian cotton industry.
  • Adam Kay, CEO, Cotton Australia, will reveal the future and commercial direction of the Australian cotton industry.
  • Dr Kim-yen Phan-thien, from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, is hosting the event. She is a plant biologist who works on a range of crop plants.
  • Followed by a Q&A panel hosted by Emeritus Professor Les Copeland, Board member of the federal government’s Cotton Research and Development Corporation and member of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture.

2018 RD Watt lecture slides - History and development of Australian Cotton, David Anthony

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2018 RD Watt lecture slides - Research achievements in the Australian Cotton Industry, Greg Constable

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2018 RD Watt lecture slides - The future of the Australian Cotton Industry, Adam Kay

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