Lynsey Welsh, a former member of WISENET, passed away on 23 February 1997 after a battle with cancer. Lynsey made major contributions to cereal chemistry and near infrared spectroscopy.
Born in 1951, Lynsey grew up in the Sydney suburb of Caringbah and was educated at Fort Street Girls High School and at Sydney University. In 1972, Lynsey was appointed by the Irrigation Research and Extension Committee as a Technical Assistant to assist the Cereal Chemist at Yanco Agricultural Institute. This posting started a love for cereal chemistry and a rewarding career with Rice Research. She was initially responsible for routine evaluation of samples from the rice breeding programme at Yanco Agricultural Institute but soon became a specialist in the chemistry of amylose and amylopectins which constitute starch grains.
At Yanco Agricultural Institute Lynsey contributed to the release of all the currently grown rice varieties and is listed as a codeveloper of Goolarah, Harra and Kyeema. She presented her research data at Australian and international scientific conferences and was secretary of the committee which ran a very successful conference on near infrared spectroscopy at Lorne, Victoria in 1994. Lynsey was a driving force in the publication of the proceedings of this NIR conference and also an international conference on rice quality. Her contributions in the field of rice technology were recognised in 1991 with a degree of Master of Science in Agriculture from Sydney University and several promotions culminating in the appointment as Chemist in 1996.
Lynsey enjoyed her work, but she also loved travelling, bushwalking and amateur theatrical productions. In 1976 Lynsey climbed in the Himalayas with a group of Newcastle bushwalkers. She had earlier been the first woman president of Sydney University Bush Walkers. Lynsey was a long-serving member of the Leeton Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society, singing in the chorus, helping with makeup, prompting and scenery. Despite failing health Lynsey was director of a very successful production of "No Sooner Won than Wed" in 1996.
After learning that she had cancer about 4 years ago, Lynsey maintained a determination to continue working and continue with her other interests. She did this with increasing difficulty but enhanced determination to the end. In addition to her scientific and social contributions to her field of science and her local community, Lynsey has left us with an example of how to present a positive attitude to life under adversity and this was a real strength to her work mates and friends.
Source: Royal Australian Chemical Institute
(Cereal Chemistry Division) Newsletter, March 1997