Scott Sargood, also known as the ‘Mulga Man’ – or Scotty to close friends and family – made a living from the land and made a reputation for himself for his dedication to it.
When he was killed in a mustering accident in 2019 near his Charleville property, the agricultural and environmental fraternities were both left reeling.
In acknowledgement of his commitment to Queensland’s mulga lands and his passion for quality science to support practice and theory across the different bioregions of the state, the Scott Sargood Memorial Prize was developed in 2020.
Funded through a collaboration between the University of Southern Queensland and Southern Queensland Landscapes (SQL), the impetus for the new scholarship was community-driven, just like Scott Sargood, according to Chief Executive of SQL, Paul McDonald.
“There was a lot of discussion between friends, family, colleagues and the wider agricultural and vegetation management community around how we could or should continue to honour Scotty’s legacy and ensure that his efforts were continued to be carried out,” Mr McDonald said.
“Scotty always worked to ensure that land decisions were based on science, not opinion, so when we first started talking about a bursary or prize in his name, we were thrilled when the University of Southern Queensland understood what we were hoping to achieve,” he said
“We wanted to ensure that land management connected with the academic world in a really positive way, and the inaugural winner of the Memorial Prize, Matthew Hollis, embodies everything we hoped.”
At 37 years old, Matthew Hollis comes to the environment and sustainability space with passion and an unlikely career history
“I worked as a chartered accountant for more than 15 years but wanted to find a way to mix my enthusiasm for education and the environment,” Matthew said
“The time was right in 2020, and I enrolled and completed UniSQ courses in Environmental Studies, Sustainable Resource Use, Weather and Climate, and Climate Change and Variability and this year started my Master of Learning and Teaching (Secondary) with UniSQ,” he said
“Sustainability is one of the most important, yet complex issues facing Australia and the world today and I believe it represents the balance of society’s social, economic and environmental goals, based on the principles of intra-and inter-generational equity.
“Without timely and considered action, including genuine consultation between government, industry and community groups, considerable environmental degradation will eventually impact Australia’s energy, water and food supplies with serious implications for society.
“I see my future teaching career playing an important role in educating the next generation on the importance of sustainability and sustainable resource use, and to be acknowledged and supported by the Sargood family and Southern Queensland Landscapes to make this happen is overly exciting. I’m incredibly honoured.”
For Paul McDonald, the desire to connect environmental learning with practical environmental reality is a shared affinity with the Sargood family.
“I think success for this Prize would be in five to 10 years’ time, seeing that we had supported a number of students to go out into the world with a really good understanding of how a landscape works in theory and in practice, and share that knowledge,” he said
“That would be a wonderful success and just acknowledgement of Scotty’s legacy.”
The Scott Sargood Memorial Prize