Sir William Alan Thompson Summerville (Class of 1921)
William Summerville enjoyed cricket at Ipswich Grammar School and was a determined, short, compact figure on the rugby field. In 1922 he was appointed a ‘learner in entomology’ in the Department of Agriculture and Stock, Brisbane whilst he studied part-time at the University of Queensland.
In 1929 Summerville was promoted to Assistant-Entomologist and posted to Nambour to work on horticultural crops. His early research, reported in the Queensland Agricultural Journal, was on the scale insects of citrus and the spiny and bronze bugs of orange-trees. He found that oil sprays were a more effective means of control than the growers’ hazardous method of fumigating with cyanide. Summerville was the first to identified and documented the destructive mealybug.
Summerville was made Director of Horticulture in 1945. Two years later he was appointed Director of Plant Industry: his division embraced agriculture, horticulture, agricultural chemistry, entomology, plant pathology and botany. In 1957 he was elected President of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science. He became Under-Secretary of the department in 1958 and its Director-General in 1959.
As Agent-General in London, Summerville proved a buoyant, convivial advocate of his State’s interests. In 1968 he was Knighted for his work in horticulture. Back in Queensland, he chaired the Sugar Board. #igsoldboys