Around 640 prospective students, alumni and members of the Goulburn Valley community explored the University of Melbourne's Dookie agricultural campus on Sunday 9 September.
Around 150 academics, professional staff and students led tours, gave presentations, organised activities and delivered other assistance for the event, bringing numbers at the campus to around 800 on the day.
Dookie Day, first held in 2017 following the redevelopment of the campus’ teaching facilities and student accommodation, showcases the School of Agriculture and Food’s teaching, industry engagement, research and capabilities.
Visitors were able to discover the University's agricultural and veterinary science courses, meet students and watch presentations on what they had learned during the industry-focused Dookie Semester of the Bachelor of Agriculture, see new developments in agricultural research and technology and listen to seminars presented by scientific experts. A farmers’ market sold fresh local produce, including fruit grown at the campus.
The day started with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by local Yorta Yorta man Graham Briggs.
Seminars throughout the day explored genomics and data science in crop biotechnology, soil management for environmental benefit, lab-grown meat, technology in equine veterinary medicine, the importance of farm advisers and fenceless livestock farming.
Visitors could also watch demonstrations of agricultural drones, virtual reality teaching tools that allow city-based students to see agricultural processes first-hand, shearing and wool classing demonstrations and tours of Dookie's student accommodation, teaching spaces, solar panel farm and glasshouse.
There were also a range of alumni-focused activities, including a morning tea, a refitted Dookie Museum and a dinner to celebrate the campus’ history and future the night before Dookie Day where 80 attendees heard presentations from Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Herbert Kronzucker and current students.
Dookie Professor in Residence Timothy Reeves delivered the keynote presentation, in which he said that while the School of Agriculture and Food produced a diverse range of graduates, they shared a common need to understand the context of the agricultural industry.
He said the Dookie experience delivers this efficiently, effectively and enjoyably.
“Listening to some of the third-year students tell their audiences that the Dookie experience was one of the best things in their life was very emotional and uplifting," he said after the lecture.
Professor Reeves also emphasised the industry experience the Dookie campus delivers to its students through frequent exposure and interactions with the 2,440-hectare commercial farm; industry excursions to farms, processors and marketers; which are complemented by visits and demonstrations from agronomists, vets and specialists from the dairy, pig, sheep and wool industries.
“The campus engages with over 40 different organisations in the Goulburn Valley region,” Professor Reeves said.
“This broad range of experiences not only makes an outstanding and valuable contribution to the education process, but also gives the students industry exposure and an insight into potential future jobs – some third-years already have job offers.”
Third-year Bachelor of Agriculture student Tiffany Miller, who has chosen to complete her studies based at the campus after completing the Dookie Semester last year, said the day exemplified the Dookie experience.
“Dookie Day really brought together the students at the campus as a family, rather than separate cohorts,” she said.
“We were able to work together to show off the campus that we are really proud of, which is what Dookie day is all about.
“We want people to love Dookie as much as we do. It’s just an overall amazing experience with some of the most amazing up and coming ‘aggies’ to enter the industry.”
Story by Stuart Winthrope. Gallery images by Shape Creative and Stuart Winthrope.
Plan ahead for Dookie Day with a sneak-peek at our 2018 program. Not sure how you will get to everything on the day? Don't worry, we will have plenty of maps and programs to hand out and lots of volunteers to help you find your way.
|10.15am||Welcome to Country, Smoking ceremony and welcome from Ros Gall, Director of Dookie Campus||Dookie Hub Stage|
|10.30am||Learn about the Bachelor of Agriculture and Diploma in General Studies||C Lecture Theatre|
|10.45am||Genomics and data science in crop biotechnology||Dookie Hub Stage|
|11am||Managing soils for environmental benefit||Dookie Hub Stage|
|11.15am||Session 1: Become a highly skilled agricultural scientist, ready to take on the world||Dookie Hub Stage|
|11.30am||Learn about Graduate studies (research and coursework)||C Lecture Theatre|
|11.45am||Is lab meat the future of meat production?||Dookie Hub Stage|
|12.30pm||Learn about Technology in Equine Veterinary Medicine, Presented by Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital||C Lecture Theatre|
|12.30pm||Session 2: Become a highly skilled agricultural scientist, ready to take on the world||Dookie Hub Stage|
|1pm||Learn about the Bachelor of Agriculture and Diploma in General Studies||C Lecture Theatre|
|1.45pm||Learn about Technology in Equine Veterinary Medicine, Presented by Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital||C Lecture Theatre|
|2.00pm||Session 3: Become a highly skilled agricultural scientist, ready to take on the world||Dookie Hub Stage|
|2.15pm||Keynote presentation: Dookie Professor in Residence, Timothy Reeves, 'Global food security – Tomorrow’s heroes are today’s students'||C Lecture Theatre|
|2.30pm||The importance of farm advisers in Australian agriculture||Dookie Hub Stage|
|2.45pm||Will fenceless livestock farming become a reality in Australia?||Dookie Hub Stage|
|3pm||Agriculture alumni panel discussion: Where are they now?||C Lecture Theatre|
|3pm||Who’s doing what? The changing world of farm work||Dookie Hub Stage|
|3.15pm||Heat stress mitigation for sustainable food animal production||Dookie Hub Stage|
Tours and demonstrations
| 10.45am 12.10pm 1.30pm 2.30pm |
|Tour of Dookie campus, visiting the winery site, student accommodation, teaching spaces, solar panel farm and glasshouse||Dookie Info Hub|
|All day||Principles of brewing, winemaking and viticulture at Dookie||Dookie Hub|
|All day||The Virtual 4D Farm||Dookie Hub|
|All day||Sustainable crop production for food security under uncertainty||Dookie Hub|
|Shearing and wool classing demonstrations||Location 5 on map|
|All day||Baking better bread||Dookie Hub|
|All day||Healthy soils for healthy food||Dookie Hub|
|Bus tours to the Robotic Dairy||Meet at shuttle bus, Location 14 on map|
|All day||MUASIP Melbourne Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Platform||Location 4 on map|
|All day||What's that smell? Understanding whats in the air through optics||Dookie Hub|
|All day||Acting out: tackling scientific misconceptions||Dookie Hub|
|Microwave weed management demonstrations||Location 12 on map|
|All day||Biometric monitoring with meat consumers||Dookie Hub|
|All day||Climate resilient crops for the changing world||Dookie Hub|
|Drone demonstrations||Location 4 on map|
|All day||Dookie Agricultural College Museum||Location 11 on map|
|All day||Information Hub||Dookie Hub|
|All day||Reinvigorating Dookie||Dookie Hub|
The Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences hosted a community open day at the Dookie campus on Wednesday 18 October 2017 to engage the local community, industry and stakeholders in the Goulburn Valley.
Around 300 visitors were able to see demonstrations of research based at Dookie and the Faculty's other campuses, learn about our courses and see the recently upgraded Swinburne Hall and A Dorm, where Bachelor of Agriculture students in the Dookie Semester have been based this semester.
A gallery of photos from the day by local photographer Liz Arcus is available here.
Swinburne Hall was officially opened by Deputy Chancellor Ross McPherson in a ceremony attended by University Executive. The Executive also attended an engagement lunch with Faculty staff and local VIPs where Faculty Dean John Fazakerley and Provost Margaret Sheil presented on the Faculty and University's commitment to the campus, and to the Goulburn Valley.
The 90 Bachelor of Agriculture and Diploma in General Studies students based at the campus guided visitors and gave presentations on what they had learned at the campus.
Other Dookie Day highlights included:
- Demonstrations of drones that monitor plant health by Sigfredo Fuentes and Engineering's Rodger Young
- Weed control with microwaves instead of pesticides, by Graham Brodie
- Tours of the robotic dairy Demonstrations of the Faculty's sensory testing sensory testing technology
- A research showcase to demonstrate Parkville and Werribee-based research, teaching and veterinary clinical services
- Tastings of beer and wine made at the Dookie winery, including a gold medal-winning shiraz brewed by students in the 2016 Vine to Wine breadth subject
- Seminars on mastitis control, preventing footrot in sheep, sheep progeny evaluation and farm investment by Faculty staff and experts aligned with the Faculty.
Support our Dookie Fund and help students become highly skilled agricultural specialists.
We aspire to be at the forefront of research and innovation in agricultural practice and food production – not just in Australia, but across the world. We aim to be a destination of choice for thought leaders to converge and collaborate on teaching and research. And we aim to attract the very best staff and students to work, study and train with us.
Excellence begets excellence. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to reinvigorate the Dookie campus. Our vision is a campus that will nurture the next generation of farm and food entrepreneurs and industry leaders – a place where researchers and students engage directly with agricultural communities, industry stakeholders, government, farmers and private companies to co-develop solutions.
So far, we’ve installed a robotic dairy and refurbished Swinburne Hall as a teaching and learning centre. Over the next five years, with your help, Dookie will be completely transformed. Our staff and student accommodation will be modernised, and our farm and research infrastructure will be upgraded. We’ll build new animal accommodation and new glasshouses, and invest in state-of-the-art laboratories.