Ralph Schulze AM

Following the news that John Knight is most probably the first son of Emanuel Hungerford, there has been a burst of effort to document the Knight line, with many stories emerging.  Ralph Schulz (husband of John Knight’s descendant, Merilyn) has been awarded as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Ralph Robert Schulze
Ralph Schulze (photo by The Northern Daily Leader)

Ralph has spent a lifetime working in the cotton industry and the award was for “For significant service to primary industry through research and innovation in a range of executive roles in the cotton sector”. Ralph has devoted more than 45 years of his life researching the “fluffy fibre” and playing a significant role in the development of the industry in the North West of NSW.

He started as an agronomist in 1960 at the then newly opened Narrabri Experiment Farm (now the Australian Cotton Research Institute).

Two years later, he was dispatched to the University of California to learn what he could about the cotton industry from established American growers.

“While I was there, I did meet quite a number of the American cotton growers who later emigrated to Australia,” he said.

In 1965, he went and worked for Auscott Limited (helping set up the Auscott Scholarship in 1969). He later served on a number of cotton-related boards devoted to improving the sustainability of the industry and was a farm manager in Trangie, NSW from 1970 to 1981.

The Narrabri resident was the founding board member of Cotton Seed Distributors from 1967 to 2005 and was a founding member of the Co-operative Research Centre for Cotton.

Ralph was also a member of the organising committee of the International Cotton Advisory Committee between 1986 and 2000 and was the convenor of the first World Cotton Research Conference in Brisbane in 1994. He e was also the Executive Director of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation from 1990 to 2004 and a committee member of the Australian Cotton Conference for 22 years and the chair in 2000.

He was “surprised, humbled and pleased” to learn his decades of service in the cotton industry had earned him an Australia Day honour. “I know quite a lot of effort has to go into substantiating any nomination, so obviously a number of people have gone to a lot of trouble,” he said. “It makes you feel humble that people have recognised your own efforts to that level.”

Mr Schulze has been married to wife Merilyn (nee Knight) for 50 years and has three children.

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3 thoughts on “Ralph Schulze AM”

  1. Ralph’s caption is slightly incorrect. It should read as – Ralph Schulze (not Alan Schulz) , husband of John Knight’s descendant Merilyn……

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