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A monument commemorates the 100th anniversary of Australia`s first commercial rice crop. A memorial was unveiled at the site in 2006 but this was upgraded to a new monument in 2014 and Forest Road was offically renamed to Takasuka Road.

In 1905 Joe Takasuka and family arrived from Japan and began experimenting with different rice varieties, finally succeeding with rice suitable for Australian conditions. 

A century of growing rice in Australia was celebrated at its birthplace on Thursday, with a ceremony at Vinifera marking 100 years since Jo Takasuka planted the country's first commercial rice crop in 1914. About 60 people, including delegates in town for the Ricegrowers Association of Australia annual conference, turned up to celebrate the occasion held adjacent to the site where the crop was originally planted.

A new commemorative monument was unveiled, while road signage to officially rename Forest Road, off the Murray Valley Highway, Takasuka Road was presented to the grandchildren of Mr Takasuka.

Ricegrowers Association of Australia president Les Gordon said the "master-stroke" of the correct variety, combined with suitable conditions had kick-started what was, at the time, a new industry in Australia. "What we are recognising here today would be easy to dismiss if you weren't careful, but it would be a real disservice to the Takasuka family to do so," he said.

"While this was the first commercial crop, Jo had actually been trying to produce rice here for six or seven years and for various reasons had been unable to plant or what he had planted had failed. "He did all of that through flood, government disinterest — a whole range of impediments that were in his way — but nontheless he still managed to produce that first, very small crop."

Nyah District Action Group president Bill Maher said Mr Takasuka's persistence in unpredictable conditions had brought about a memorable moment in history. "This is one of the most historic events that has ever happened from within the Nyah district and to this day it is still relevant to agriculture within Australia," Mr Maher said.

Although rice is no longer grown in the area, economic effects of rice grown in nearby communities still benefits the region, Swan Hill Rural City councillor Gary Norton said. Rice is now Australia's third largest cereal grain export with the industry generating about $800 million revenue each year.

The long-standing relationship between the countries is evident in the work of Mr Takasuka, and in the continuing demand for Australian product in Japan. A free trade agreement between the two countries was also recently signed.

Japanese Embassy official Hiroyuki Yamaguchi said the historical rice industry connection between Australia and Japan showed the strength of the relationship. "Rice is a very special product in Japan," he said. "I didn't know a Japanese person came to Australia and introduced rice farming here so I am very proud of that. The climate is very different between Australia and Japan so I am very surprised that 100 years ago a Japanese person came to Australia and started up rice farming."
The Guardian (Vic), 8th August 2014. 



Address:Takasuka (Forest) Road, Vinifera, 3591
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.205183
Long: 143.420163
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 7th August, 2014
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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