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australian rowers profiles and history

Dr David Asimus AO

Sydney University Boat Club (NSW)

The following obituary is published on the Sydney University Boat Club website in 2008.

David Asimus, a Blue in Boat from 1953 and a member of the 1955 NSW Kings Cup Eight passed away last weekend quite suddenly. David, who is described on the ABC Rural web page as “one of the most influential figures in the wool industry” and as a “founding father” of that industry.

David was recognized in his later years for his contributions at Charles Sturt University, becoming its first Chancellor in 1989 and serving in this post until 2002.

As a member of the Australian Wool Corporation when it was founded in 1973 he oversaw the early days of wool’s reserve price scheme.

David Asimus became chief executive of the corporation in 1979 and chairman of wool’s then influential worldwide promotion and research body, the International Wool Secretariat.

His contribution to the wool industry was recognised in 1984 when he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.

Through a family business, he remained a woolgrower after his retirement.

He reached the top in agribusiness over the years, holding positions on the boards of Rural Press, Wesfarmers and also BHP.

On the sporting front David was a prominent member of a number of Sydney Uni crews and teams in rowing during the early 1950’s and rowed No 6 in the NSW Kings cup Eight in 1955 finishing third to WA on the Brisbane River.

David in the six seat of the 1955 NSW crew

The University recognized David’s service as a distinguished alumnus in 1997 by conferring an Honorary Doctorate of Agriculture. On that occasion this was the introduction given for David in the Great Hall:

“David Asimus is a distinguished alumnus of this University. He was born in Tumut in 1932 and educated at Barker College, Sydney, where he was Head Prefect; and St Paul’s College in this University where he was Senior Student. During his time at University he distinguished himself as a sportsman, especially in rowing for which he received a University Blue. After graduating Bachelor of Economics, he was awarded a Nuffield Travelling Agricultural Scholarship for study in the United Kingdom. After University study he continued his interest in rowing as a member of the New South Wales King’s Cup rowing crew.

David Asimus returned to the Gundagai area as a farmer and grazier and became actively involved in several farmers’ organisations, holding a number of leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. In particular he was an Executive Member of the Graziers’ Association of New South Wales, a post he held until 1971. He was also a member of the Australian Wool Corporation from its formation in 1973 and became Deputy Director in 1975 and Chief Executive Officer in 1979. In the same year he was elected Chairman of the International Wool Secretariat in recognition of his services to the wool industry worldwide.

David Asimus has been involved in every aspect of the wool industry from research to international freight charges for the Australian clip. His dedication and commitment to wool production and his outstanding service to Australian wool industry were recognised in 1984 when he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia. He was also named the Ronald Anderson Memorial Man of the Year for Agriculture in 1986 and in 1988 he was chosen as Australian of the Year by The Australian newspaper.

In addition to his service to the wool industry, David Asimus has held a number of government and semi-government appointments, including that of Director of the Australian Trade Commission, as a member of the Australia- Japan Foundation and the Australia-Japan Consultation Committee; and as a member of the Government Task Force on Liner Shipping. He has served for many years on the Advisory Council of the CSIRO and with research organisations that administer funds levied on primary products. In 1996 he chaired the Rural Summit at the request of the Minister for Primary Production, to discuss financial and adjustment problems facing Australia’s rural industries.

Currently David Asimus is a Director of BHP Pty Ltd, the Industrial Bank of Japan, Australia Ltd; Wesfarmers Ltd; Rural Press Ltd; and Delta Electricity.

As a leading figure in the business and rural communities and a long time resident of the Riverina, David Asimus was an eminently appropriate choice as the first Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, a multi campus, regional University, dedicated to serving rural communities. Elected Chancellor in August 1989, David Asimus continues to provide strong leadership and commitment to the University.”

Extracted by Andrew Guerin
January 2024


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