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Tocal History Timeline

Tocal has a long and proud history, during which it has become one of the foremost agricultural institutions in Australia.

Tocal was on part of the land of the Gringai clan of the Wonnarua people. The name 'Tocal' is a Koori word meaning 'plenty'. Its involvement with agriculture began in 1822 when James Webber took up the property as one of the first land grants in the Paterson Valley. Webber sold Tocal to Caleb Wilson in 1834, and Caleb's son, Felix, subsequently acquired it.

Felix built the Homestead in 1841 and it is the centrepiece of a set of timber, brick and stone buildings that are subject to a Permanent Conservation Order and registered in the National Estate. Charles Reynolds leased the property in 1844. During the next 82 years, Charles and subsequently his widow Frances, his son Frank and grandson Darcie ran Tocal as one of the most important Hereford, Devon and Thoroughbred studs in the country. Frank Reynolds purchased Tocal from the Wilson family in 1907.

In 1926, the Alexander family bought Tocal from the Reynolds family, which consisted of Isabella, Robert, Jean and Charles Alexander. By 1939 only Charles remained and when he died in 1947, he left a very large estate and a complex will. His intention was that his estate be used to help orphan and destitute children by training them for agricultural careers. In 1963, the Presbyterian Church was awarded Alexander's Estate under a proposal designed by Edward Alan Hunt, law agent for the Church.

In 1965, the College buildings, designed by architects Ian McKay and Philip Cox, gained Sulman and Blacket Awards for Architecture. In that same year the first fifteen students were enrolled, and Sir Robert Menzies opened the CB Alexander Presbyterian Agricultural College.

The Church managed the College until 1970 when it was transferred to the NSW Department of Agriculture (via NSW Department of Primary Industries DPI). This coincided with the passing of the CB Alexander Foundation Act, 1969. The Act provides scope to the CB Alexander Foundation to promote and advance agricultural education, to improve Tocal College and its assets and to provide student scholarships and financial assistance.

The Tocal property has increased through various land purchases since the College commenced and is now 2,200 hectares. In 2006 the CB Alexander Agricultural College and the Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture became one Registered Training Organisation (RTO) known as Tocal College. The College now has two campuses, the CB Alexander Campus at Paterson, and Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre at Yanco. The CB Alexander Foundation owns all of the Tocal land while the NSW Department of Agriculture owns and operates the buildings and infrastructure on the land with the exception of the Tocal Homestead precinct, Dunnings Hill and Numeralla and Clements Farm.

Legislation

The CB Alexander Foundation is constituted under the CB Alexander Foundation Incorporation Act No 61 of 1969. This Act defines the objectives and powers of the Foundation. The objectives as stated in the Act are

a) to promote and advance, in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW, agricultural education at the CB Alexander Campus of Tocal College, Tocal or other agricultural colleges or institutions.

b) to assist and advise as far as practicable, the Minister in the operation and maintenance of the College.

c) to take or accept any gift, subsidy or endowment whether subject to any special trust or not, for all or any of the objects of the Foundation and to carry out any special trust to which such gift, subsidy or endowment may be subject according to the terms thereof. To facilitate this process the Foundation has established a number of tax Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) accounts. These include; students trust deeds to enable donors to allocate scholarships to students, building fund DGR which allows donors to provide funds for building works / renovations to the Tocal Homestead and complex of buildings.

d) to grant scholarships or financial assistance to students attending Tocal College.

e) to effect improvements to the CB Alexander Campus or other agricultural colleges or agricultural institutions.

f) to do such supplemental, incidental and consequential acts as may be necessary or expedient for the exercise or discharge of its powers, duties and functions under this Act.

CBAF Strategic Plan

The CB Alexander Foundation 2024 - 2030 Strategic Plan.

Our Board

Members of our Board are appointed by the NSW government. The Act provides for five members to be appointed and selected from a range of fields to provide a broad cross section of government, community and business representation.

Susan Hunt (ex-officio)

Over the past 10 years, Susan has worked with the C. B. Alexander Foundation Board to
support Tocal College. As granddaughter of E A Hunt she and her family have a particular interest in the future of Tocal as one of the foremost agricultural institutions in Australia. From 1983 – 2009 Susan held prominent roles in historic site management, arts administration and cultural programming with the Historic Houses Trust NSW (now Sydney Living Museums). As former Properties Manager, (2006-7) Deputy Director of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (2008-9) and Head of the Museum of Sydney (2000-2005) she dedicated the major part of her career to heritage interpretation.

From 2009 she has occupied the role of Director of the State Library of NSW Foundation,
which has raised significant funding to support the new Mitchell galleries project and
enhance the collections. She is currently the Deputy President on the Board of the National Trust NSW.

Kate Lorimer-Ward (A/Chair)

Ms Kate Lorimer-Ward is the Deputy Director General, Agriculture, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), taking on the role in 2017-18. This role is responsible for developing DPI’s industry focus on increasing productivity and resilience driven by research and development, workforce capacity building and business and social resilience programs.

Kate is a committed senior executive within the NSW public service who continually seeks to deliver value to the communities that she serves. Kate has worked across a diverse range of portfolios with extensive management experience, and has a real passion for the agricultural sector, founded in more than 20 years experience in the public sector in rural and regional NSW.

Kate holds a personal focus and desire to service the rural, regional and remote communities within NSW, through creative leadership, innovative program creation, design and implementation.

Not only is Kate a committed public servant she is also a partner in a farming enterprise near Orange, a Director on the Board for the CRC for High Performing Soils, a Trustee for the Belgenny Trust, Farrer Memorial Trust and the Helen Newton Turner Trust as well as being a member of numerous inter-jurisdictional committees, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in soils and social geography, an Executive Masters in Public Administration and a Post Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries.

John Lennon

John has extensive experience in corporate governance and senior leadership, holding a position as Board Director on the Mars Superannuation Trust for 20 years. John’s career with Mars spans 30 years specialising in manufacturing and supply chain management across Australia and the Asia Pacific.

John started his association with Tocal as a student in 1979/80. Post graduating John worked across North West NSW conducting contract shearing and general agricultural teams. In 1992 John started his career with Mars based at the Bathurst manufacturing plant. John has run sheep at his property north of Bathurst since the mid 80’s, originally stocking superfine merino’s and transitioning to Australian Whites in 2014.

John has a strong understanding of Tocal College and of many committees relating to the CB Alexander Foundation including being Chair of the Tocal Alumni and working with Senior Management of the College to transition the Alumni from an earlier Ex-Students Association and reviewing constitution of the Tocal Students Association.

Simon Hugh Fraser

Simon Fraser attended Sydney University and graduated in law in 1976. He practiced with the law firm Allen Allen & Hemsley for 15 years and then became a partner in the Sydney law firm of Colin Biggers & Paisley in 1989. He continues with that firm. His practice area is real estate and particularly property development. He has also worked in related fields including planning law, probate law and industrial law.

Mr Fraser was appointed the Law Agent (solicitor) of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales in 1986. He continues in that position. Through his church connections he was appointed to the Council of The Scots College in 1989, stepping down in 2017. He served for many years as Chairman of the Council of The Scots College. He has always maintained a close interest in education. For a number of years he was a member of the Council of PLC Armidale including, for a period, Chairman of that Council.

As Law Agent of the Presbyterian Church, Mr Fraser is ex officio a member of the C.B. Alexander Foundation. The provision of the C.B. Alexander Foundation Incorporation Act, 1969 which provides for this does so because a predecessor as Law Agent, Mr Ted Hunt, was the main person responsible for arranging the C.B. Alexander bequest and the subsequent transfer of Tocal from the Presbyterian Church to the State Government.

With his background skills and experience, Mr Fraser is particularly interested in governance, strategic planning and financial management of the Foundation.

Glenn Kennedy

Glenn has extensive legal, fiduciary, trustee, compliance, governance and risk frameworks, and business management in complex, international banks with experience across Asia, Europe, and Australia.  Glenn is an experienced senior leader and CEO with demonstrable track record in stewardship and driving transformation and enhancement in business performance, risk management, regulatory and industry engagement and P&L responsibility of material and highly regulated segments within international banks.

Glenn has extensive director experience and a passion for heritage management. He has been led the integration of sustainable finance and metrics in to the operations, product proposition, management KPIs and overall risk frameworks.  Glenn is a values and integrity-driven leader of diverse teams in organisations with strong senior leadership presence and trust among company leaders, clients, regulators, and industry.  Glenn is a qualified solicitor and worked in legal practice in Sydney and Dublin.

Gurmesh Singh

Gurmesh Singh was elected to the NSW Parliament on 23 March 2019 and is a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Coffs Harbour for The NSW Nationals.

Mr Singh is a third-generation Coffs Harbour local and has worked in various industries from digital marketing to design, as well as agriculture.  He is dedicated to ensuring small industries aren’t forgotten and there is less red tape so such businesses can thrive.

Mr Singh is passionate about representing the constituents of the Coffs Harbour electorate in the State Parliament and ensuring that the Coffs Harbour electorate gets is fair share of State Government funding.

Mr Singh’s path to Parliament that began 120 years ago with the decision made by his great-grandfather to migrate to Australia and his vision for growth and opportunity as outlined in his Inaugural Speech to the Parliament which can be accessed at :https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/member/files/2244/Gurmesh%20Singh%20inaugural%20speech.pdf

Mr Singh currently holds the roles within NSW Parliament of: Member of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development; Deputy Chair of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development; Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Jobs and Investment; Nationals Whip in the Legislative Assembly; and the Standing Order and Procedure Committee.

He has also held roles within NSW Parliament of: Temporary Speaker; Chair and Committee Member on the Health Care Complaints Commission; Deputy Chair and Member of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Transport and Infrastructure; Member of the Public Accounts Committee; and Member of the Joint Select Committee on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020.

Support Staff

The Foundation is supported by Ms Kate Lorimer-Ward, Deputy Director General, NSW DPI Agriculture, who ensures an effective strategic and operational relationship between DPI and the CBAF, by Mr Darren Bayley, Director of Education NSW DPI and Tocal Centre Director, Ms Vicki Priest, Secretary to the CBAF Board and Executive Officer Boards and Committees DPI, as well as other staff of the College in particular Mr Robert Rein, Centre Manager who oversees the Numeralla Free Range Egg Farm and Sandra Ognibene, College Registrar and Business Manager who oversees homestead precinct operations and finance for the Foundation.

Our Values

Our values underpin everything we do for the Foundation in order to meet our priorities, our goals and our core services.

Integrity | Accountability | Service | Connection

Annual Report

Publications

Tocal College offers a large range of publications on all aspects of agriculture and land management. They are a valuable educational tool and a range are available as e-publications. There is a full list of agricultural books and videos for sale on the Tocal College website. Tocal also offers the ‘All about Tocal’ series of publications which consists of 31 books covering all aspects of Tocal history including the people, convicts, heritage values, the buildings and the bushrangers.