• Dave was awarded a 2012 Nuffield Farming Scholarship which enabled him to study international date production. 
Click the link to view the blog: http://davereilly.blogspot.com.au
Click the link to view Dave's presentation of the final report to Nuffield: http://youtu.be/lfGcaM9XixY 


  • In March 2010 Dave & Anita were awarded the Khalifa International Date Palm Award for Best New Development Project.

Click the following link for more information:   


khalifa award

Dave & Anita receiving the Khalifa International Date Palm Award from H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan (Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research) at the Fourth International Date Palm Conference, Abu Dhabi, March 2010. 

  •  In November 2007 Dave & Anita were announced as winners of the 2007/08 South Australian Landcare Primary Producer Award. They represented South Australia at the National Landcare Awards held in Canberra, October 2008.


  • Gurra Downs featured on the ABC TV  Landline program in October 2007.

Click the following to view:  www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s2063192.htm

  •  In August 2007 Gurra Downs was one of six irrigators showcased at the Australian National Conference on Irrigation and Drainage held in Bundaberg, Queensland.

Click the following link to view the Natural Heritage Trust 'Innovation in Irrigation' video: http://www.nht.gov.au/publications/case-studies/irrigation2007/date.html 


DAVE REILLY                                                         
Dave is the Managing Director of Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd, Co-owner of the Gurra Downs horticultural property and a Director of Gurra Wet Pty Ltd
Dave’s primary role is to further develop the Australian date industry.
His duties include:

  • Promotion and marketing of the Australian date industry (including fruit sales)
  • Identification, selection and obtainment of desirable date palm varieties
  • Establishment/development of date plantings both at the Gurra Downs home property and for customers.
  • Evaluating the Research and Development results from date palm trial sites
  • Oversee production from vineyard

Dave has lived and travelled throughout much of inland Australia.  He completed his secondary schooling in Alice Springs (Central Australia) before graduating from the Northern Territory Agricultural College in Katherine.  Dave then worked for stock and station firm Dalgety Bennetts Farmers where he had the opportunity to experience the wide diversity of the Northern Territory and South Australian agricultural industry.  During his posting to Loxton Dave met Anita.  They decided to marry and settle in the Riverland.  In 1990 they purchased Gurra Downs and began establishing their horticultural property.

In recent years Dave and Anita have continued to travel extensively to assess suitable date growing regions and to visit the network of other growers.  Travels have taken them to outback Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and outback South Australia.

Dave holds a long-term interest in regional infrastructure and natural resource management.  He also places much importance on environmental management.  He assisted in the formation of Gurra Wet Pty Ltd which has been involved in local rehabilitation projects (see Environmental section for more detail).  Dave is a current member of the Loxton to Bookpurnong Local Action Planning group, previously serving a term as chairman.  He served  5 years (2 terms) on the state government’s South Australia Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board Riverland Group.

In 2009 Dave received his Diploma in Production Horticulture and in 2012 received an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture.

Anita manages the Gurra Downs date palm nursery and is skilled in tissue culture and micropropagation techniques.  She oversees the day to day administration of the business.  Anita is a director of Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd, Gurra Wet Pty Ltd and a partner of Gurra Downs .

Anita has a background in dryland agriculture, having grown up on her family’s farm in the Murray Mallee.   Anita is committed to the organic principles practiced at Gurra Downs, these values are shared with her four children.

Having travelled extensively throughout Australia, Anita enjoys travel into the outback and camping. Family trips are planned around school holidays and usually include the evaluation of districts with a potential for date production.

In 2010 Anita received her Diploma in Production Horticulture and in 2012 received an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture.

A career Senior Technical Officer [Meteorology], Brian has a working knowledge of many Australian climatic regions and maintains a close interest in Earth Sciences.  Accessing the Bureau of Meteorology’s data bank, he developed Summer Mean Rainfall and Heat Unit charts for the date-feasible subtropics.  The charts provide unique assistance in the siting of date plantations and in assessing the feasibility of date production over much of the continent.  He holds Real Estate agency qualifications and has recently completed a Business Studies [International Trade] diploma.

With A history in retail merchandising and with a background of extensive overseas travel, Ruth plays an active role in the promotion of regional tourism.  She maintains an interest in landcare issues and researches aspects of the date palm.

Ruth and husband Brian are directors of Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd, Gurra Wet Pty Ltd and are partners in Gurra Downs.



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