The banana industry farewelled longtime industry advocate Vicky Kippin-O’Connor last month, remembering her for her dedication and commitment to bananas.
A fourth generation primary producer, Vicky was well-respected and well-known for going above and beyond during her time serving as a Director and President of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council from the late 1990s until 2007.
“She put in a lot of effort,” said Len Collins, who she replaced as Chair when he took over the Imports Committee.
Mrs Kippin-O’Connor, well-known in Innisfail and Far North Queensland, sadly passed away on March 24.
She served as a director of ABGC for a number of years, including a stint as President, and spent 25 years in public office, as a Member of Parliament, a Local Authority councilor and as the Northern Australia Development Council administrator.
A fourth generation primary producer, she came from a large farming family based in the Burdekin.
“I think her main contribution was when the Black Sigatoka outbreak came,” Mr Collins reflected.
“Vicky put her whole life into it. Every day, she was working with growers or the DPI – she really did put a tremendous effort in.”
Patrick Leahy succeeded Mrs Kippin-O’Connor as ABGC Chair. He joined the Banana Sectional Group Committee (Growcom) when she was chair, a position she held through to 2003 when the statutory levy ended.
At that point, Mr Leahy explained, ABGC only had two members – one was the banana committee from NSW and the banana committee from Queensland, which came from that sectional committee.
“At my first meeting I was elected to go onto the ABGC, which I did with Vicky,” he said.
He described Vicky as very industry focused, noting she also gave time to other industry-related groups including as chair of Freshcare.
“She was very thorough and gave her everything,” he said.
Mrs Kippin-O’Connor received a Banana Industry Award of Honour in 2009 for her contribution to the industry at a state and national level.
She was farewelled at a funeral in Innisfail on April 2.