Scholar Profile: 1982 Scholar Bill Poynton (Scholar No 71) Warrnambool, Victoria

Prepared by Bill Poynton in June 2020, this profile follows the format used by Nicola Raymond, Program Operations Manager, in interviews with early Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars.


1. Please confirm family history and members including children, grandchildren?

(The Poynton’s have been farmers for as far back as we can trace – about 1715, so it is little wonder this tradition continued after their arrival in Australia (at Adelaide) from Lincolnshire in 1853. A short time after arrival they travelled to and settled in Western Victoria. In addition, my Mother’s family, the McLachlan’s, are recorded as farming at Morvern in Western Scotland in 1841. As part of the Scottish Clearances, they emigrated to Australia with the assistance of The Highland and Island Emigration Society in 1854 (disembarking at Portland, Victoria) and progressed to land ownership in both Victoria and New South Wales. In a similar vein, my wife Judy’s family, the Waterson’s, were pioneers of the beef cattle industry along the south coast of N.S.W. around the Bega area with Judy’s branch of the family later going to the Riverina. Therefore with both of our children choosing to reside in rural situations, our grandchildren are the 7th generation to be involved with the land since their forebears arrived in Australia.)


I am the eldest of three sons whose parents were in a family dairying partnership at Macarthur in south western Victoria and then successful WW2 Soldier Settlers at Hawkesdale, 50 kms north of Warrnambool in south western Victoria. I married Judy (Waterson) in Wagga Wagga in 1973. Judy’s family farmed near Wagga Wagga and we met whilst we both worked for a period in Sydney. Her father had attended Yanco Agricultural High School and in the 1940’s introduced silage and millet fodder crops to their dairy farm on the Murrumbidgee River flats outside of Wagga Wagga. We have a son, Andrew who holds a senior position in computer management at The University of Melbourne and married to Britt, a senior nurse at Kyneton Hospital. They have two sons and a daughter and live outside Woodend, a township north of Melbourne. Our daughter Amie is the Financial Manager of a large Warrnambool based fuel distribution company and is married to Grant who is an electrician specializing in instrumentation and working at the Origin gas plant at nearby Port Campbell. They live outside Warrnambool and have a young son and daughter. I was aged 38 in 1982 when undertaking the scholar ship and our children were under three years of age.


2. Please outline a brief version of your business history?

After attending Warrnambool Technical School to year 10 (Intermediate Certificate), I completed the three year Longerenong Diploma of Agriculture (LDA) in 1962. (2007 Nuffield Scholar David Jochinke who is currently President of The Victorian Farmers Federation is also a Longerenong graduate.) Following graduation I joined the staff of the newly established Victorian Department of Agriculture Hamilton Pastoral Research Station as a Field Officer, predominantly working with stocking rate and sheep reproduction research. I give credit to this early period of my working life to subsequently appreciating research and especially objective de