The Rural Press Club of Queensland was founded by a group of rural journalists in Brisbane on July 28, 1972 as a forum to debate and discuss issues important to the bush.

The Club sprang to life in 1972 when 23 people paid $3 each to hear the managing director of the Australian Breeders' Service criticise the then State Government policy for restricting artificial insemination centres in Queensland.

Numbers swelled to 40 for the second meeting where guests heard the then Federal Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Sinclair, declare the role of farm journalists would grow in importance.

Rural Press Club monthly speaker functions now attract hundreds of guests from the spheres of politics, agribusiness, agriculture and the media to hear the views and insights of industry and community leaders. RPC events tackle the most important agricultural issues of the day. The Club has members from across Queensland and thousands of followers on social media.

Rural Press Club (Queensland) - how it all began

By Phillip Bate, Foundation and Life Member

THE Rural Press Club (Queensland) began in Brisbane on Friday, July 28, 1972.

For some time agricultural journalists in Queensland had felt the need for an association similar to the Farm Writers and Broadcasters Society of NSW and a preliminary meeting was held on Friday, July 7, 1972, to discuss the issue.

The inaugural meeting was held in the office of the Australian Sugar Journal, Australian Estates Chambers, Creek Street, Brisbane, where a draft constitution was adopted and a committee elected.

The committee was:

President: Max Pridham, Editor, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable News
Vice Presidents: Keith Franklin, ABC Rural, Brisbane; Ron Powell, Powell Lorkin & Associates; (country) Russell King, ABC Rural, Mackay.
Secretary: Graham Petty, Editor, Australian Sugar Journal
Treasurer: Phil Haliday, Queensland Country Life
Committee: Bill Kerr, Queensland Country Life; Phillip Wilson, ABC News.
Foundation members, in addition to the office bearers, were: Phillip Bate (Queensland Country Life); Jim Bowden, Queensland Country Life); Don Mason (Queensland Country Life); Don Mason (Queensland Country Life); Peter Cole (Powell Lorkin & Associates); and Harry Moore (Freelance).

The first function attended by 23 people was held at the Pelican Restaurant, St Paul’s Terrace, Fortitude Valley, adjacent to the RNA showgrounds during show week at a cost of $3 a head. The guest speaker was veterinarian Dr Lloyd Donaldson, managing director Australian Breeders' Service, who criticised the State Government’s policy on restricting AI centres in Queensland.

The second meeting was on Monday, September 18, 1972, at the Zebra Motel, George Street, which attracted more than 40 people to hear the Federal Minister for Primary Industries Ian Sinclair. Other speakers included the Liberal Party spokesman on rural matters, Malcolm Fraser, and former Australian Wool Board chairman Sir William Gunn.

In the Club's first newsletter, publicity officer Ron Powell wrote:

“Some of the objects of the Rural Press Club (Queensland) are to promote the development of pastoral and agricultural resources of Australia and its mandated territories and to spread knowledge of new farm developments, ideas and techniques to the Australian community.

“We can only achieve these high ideals through a strong and active membership. Our membership is open to any journalist, broadcaster, artist or photographer who regularly prepares material for a rural audience, and to any public relations officer or publicity officer who services rural industries and who subscribes to the club’s objectives.

“Anyone who has some association with rural activities may become an associate member."

The joining fee was $2 with an annual subscription of $2 for both full members and associates.

The club’s first annual report showed the club held 8 luncheons while membership grew from 15 to 49 members.