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Fryer, John (1940–2007)

John Fryer, n.d.

John Fryer, n.d.

It is with great sadness that the Institute of Foresters of Australia records the passing of Dr John Fryer, a prominent Australian forester and long-time member of the Institute.

John served with distinction in a range of forestry agencies. A NSW cadet, John graduated from the Australian Forestry School in 1962, and then worked in the Kyogle and Oberon districts. After completing a Ph.D. at Yale, he led the research station at Traralgon. Moving then to Canberra, he was in charge of the Horticultural Research Branch of ACT City Parks. In this position, John was responsible for a number of notable introductions. In a subsequent role as leader of the forestry program of the Bureau of Rural Sciences, John contributed strongly to a range of national forest science issues.

From 1994 to 2004, John served as Forestry Research Program Manager with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). In his ACIAR role, John made a significant contribution to the development of forestry in the Asia- Pacific region. In particular, he oversaw the continued development of eucalypts and acacias as major elements of plantation forestry, and the introduction of approaches to managing pests and diseases and improving utilisation of these species. ACIAR’s contributions to the Asian eucalypt and acacia plantation programs, and the industries now based upon them, have been independently assessed as among ACIAR’s most effective international development activities, and John was a major catalyst.

Always the complete forester, in his spare time John was instrumental in developing a partnership with several other foresters to establish a model forest near Captain’s Flat. The resultant 80 hectares of radiata pine plantation, incorporating the best available genetic material and best silvicultural practices, now stands as one of the finest private plantings in the region.

An affable and unassuming man with an easygoing but effective manner, John made many friends among Australian and international forestry agencies. He had a strong commitment to development and, at the time of his death, had almost completed a two year period as a volunteer advisor to the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam. His achievements in mentoring young Vietnamese forest scientists were very evident and much appreciated.

John was a true gentleman, generous and patient. He will be greatly missed by his family and by his many friends in Australian forestry and internationally.

Original publication

  • Forester, vol 50, no 4, p22, December 2007

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Citation details

'Fryer, John (1940–2007)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/fryer-john-18395/text30043, accessed 24 November 2017.

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