During the wool crash of the late 1980’s, when rural communities were hurting badly, the Vizard Foundation purchased a 770 acre property known as “South Roxby” in the Barrabool Hills on the edge of the western district of Victoria.
The Foundation entered an agreement with the University of Melbourne to use the South Roxby Farm exclusively to create a centre of excellence for agricultural research, demonstration, education and rural welfare aimed at enhancing rural development in Victoria and the southern States of Australia.
- 1. Improve wool production by researching, developing and extending best practice techniques to farmers.
- 2. Develop innovative, profitable uses of land other than for wool production.
- 3. Provide undergraduate and post-graduate education on matters relating to agriculture.
Research projects undertaken at South Roxby with the aid of participating farmers and the scientific community included genetic improvement of sheep, wool quality, improved parasite control, grazing management systems, automated systems, low-cost pasture renovation, and evaluation of fibre measurement.
Southern Farming Systems, a farmer owned and operated group with over 500 members conducted applied research on improving crop production for the high rainfall, cool climate zone of Southern Australia, and by 2000 improved sheep production and better farming practices were being demonstrated to thousands of farmers at South Roxby.
In 2001, The South Roxby Project was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in collaboration in education, and training by the Australian Government Business/Higher Education roundtable.