Eric Stodden West

By Helen WolffJune 24th, 2020

Eric Stodden West was the Division of Irrigation Research's Officer-in-Charge from 1924, when it was known as the Commonwealth Citrus Research Station until his retirement in 1956.

Early life

Eric Stodden West was born in Rose Park, South Australia on 30 May 1896.

In 1914 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Roseworthy Agricultural College and graduated in 1916 with a Diploma in Agriculture (RDA). In that same year, he enlisted as a ‘Private’ in the First World War. In April 1917, during the battle of Bullecourt, he was badly wounded and returned to Adelaide in late 1917 where he undertook a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1921.

In 1921 he travelled to the USA to study at the University of California (Davis) for a Master of Science (M.Sc) in the area of Hydrology and Irrigation.

Time at CSIRO

Eric Stodden West started his career with the Institute of Science and Industry in 1924 and founded the Division of Irrigation Research at Griffith, New South Wales, where he was Officer-in-Charge for 34 years.

A pioneer in his field of agricultural technology, Eric West encouraged and developed a more scientific approach to the problems in this field. He advocated banding of fertilisers in the soil for orchard and field crops which is now common practice. He not only had a brilliant career in agricultural technology and applied science, but he was highly regarded by those who worked with him and under his supervision.

Eric West retired in June 1956 and died in 1978 at Griffith, New South Wales, aged 81 years.


CoResearch no. 219 January 1978, pp. 3.

Further reading

Carlyon, K. (2014) The Great War. Sydney, Pan Macmillan, 2014.

Turnball, R. K. (2017) Eric Stodden West RDA, The ROCA Digest, Spring 2017, pp. 7-8.