12 Aug 2022
WITH a farming background behind him, Paul McClure has plenty of knowledge and experience to pass onto his horticulture students at SuniTAFE.
Based at the SuniTAFE SMART Farm, Paul has shared his passion with SuniTAFE horticulture students for 16 years.
“What is important to me is that I really enjoy horticulture, I am really passionate about horticulture so it’s a real thrill when I have students who are just as passionate and want to have a horticulture career,” he said.
“There are quite a few former students I see in the district that hold high positions in companies and work on horticulture farms which is pleasing for me.”
Paul grew up on a country farm in the Western District before moving to Mildura where he initially worked in a bank and settled down and got married.
“I loved it up here because of the water we had and the environment,” Paul said.
“The growing of vegetables was just fantastic; we can grow anything up here with the right soil.
“I really enjoyed that side of it so I bought a farm. It was originally dried fruit, did a lot of experimentations growing different crops on that farm and at the same time I worked at Department of Primary Industries.”
When Paul decided he wanted a career change, he turned to SuniTAFE.
“I wanted to get into horticulture research, so I was advised that I needed experience in lab operations, so I came to SuniTAFE in 1992 or 1993 and did a short course on lab operations,” he said.
From there he landed a job at CSRIO, Merbein, before moving onto working for the Department of Agriculture and in 2005 he became a horticulture teacher at SuniTAFE.
Over the years, Paul has worked with many students to achieve their career goals in the horticulture industry with many courses, certificates and diplomas on offer in horticulture and agriculture.
SuniTAFE's Horticulture and Agriculture courses give students access to state-of-the-art learning technologies and equipment, including the training farm at Cardross, which boasts the most up-to-date irrigation facility in Australia. Students get hands on experience with the latest water saving and irrigation techniques, plus instruction in water sampling, monitoring biodiversity, GPS technology, cultural heritage and land restoration
WHEN Paul isn’t at work or enjoying time on his property, he can be found working on his Sprint car.
Recently Paul, his wife Faye and their team won the 2021/2022 Australian Sprint Car All Stars series.
“We have been on cloud nine for a few months, I still can’t believe it,” Paul said.
“I often think how would I feel if I hadn’t won it as I felt this year was our best shot and now it’s in the history books and it’s time to concentrate on what we are going to do next season.”
Paul first dipped his toe into the world of motorsport when his son Shaun first began racing Go Karts more than two decades ago.
“We did that for eight years, and we got very passionate about racing,” he said.
From there, Shaun raced motorbikes with Paul by his side every step of the way. Their passion then moved onto a Wingless Sprint Cars before ultimately moving into competition with a 360 Winged Sprint Car.
While Shaun decided to step away from driving several years ago, Paul and Faye were still incredibly passionate about the sport and have since gifted the opportunity to drive to several people.
Steering their vehicle in the 2021/2022 series was Brad Warren, from Pakenham.
The team competed at nine events, travelling more than 6000kms to various race tracks before taking out the championship win at Timmis Speedway on Good Friday.
Despite Paul’s students being horticulture focused, he said many have been eager to learn about his racing passion and followed how his team went throughout the series.