In Memory of Dorothy

By Shelley Scoullar

Today we farewell a pioneer of not just the Australian rice industry, but a leader and trail blazer of rural communities. Dorothy Meyer passed away peacefully on Sunday 3rd September in Griffith Hospital at the age of 87.

Dorothy grew up on the beaches of Brighton in Melbourne, before falling in love with a Dutch immigrant, Rudy Meyer, and subsequently leaving the privileged city life to follow her beloved husband into various parts of rural Australia. It was a journey which spread across Western Queensland, before moving to the Riverina and eventually the Coleambally region where the Meyer family became rice farming pioneers.

Arriving in Coleambally in the 1960s, Dorothy and Rudy threw themselves into the community, including the emerging irrigation industry, and particularly rice growing. While Rudy lead the way in experimenting with water and nutrient management to maximise crop potential, Dorothy was also doing her part.

At every opportunity Dorothy would do what she could to promote and support the rice industry. Dorothy would often be found cooking up her famous fried rice at field days and demonstrations. This type of support often goes unnoticed, but was invaluable to increasing awareness and helping establish a new industry. For her contribution to the industry Dorothy was awarded an Honorary Life Member of the Rice Growers Association of Australia, and to this day is still its only Honorary Life Member

Outside the rice industry Dorothy was committed to the development of the community the Meyers had fallen in love with and was instrumental in many committees, none more so than the establishment of the Coleambally retirement centre, Cypress View Lodge, where there is a room named in her honour. Dorothy was the founding chair of Cypress View Lodge and remained the chair uncontested for 23 years. She has also been recognised with Life Membership of various organisations in Coleambally for her decades of hard work and commitment.

I only met Dorothy a couple of times, but her story is inspirational and her passion for the rice industry and her community was evident. Without people like Dorothy we would not be where we are today. Thank you Dorothy Meyer, you shall not be forgotten.