Pink Lady apple creator dies aged 95

Pome fruit May 12, 2022

A Western Australian man known across the globe as the breeder of the Pink Lady apple, John Cripps, has died at the age 95.

He has been described by those that knew him as a quiet gentleman who was passionate and dedicated to the art of plant breeding.

The British-Australian horticulturalist carried out his research in WA's Department of Agriculture.

Mr Cripps' name also adorns another of his cultivars, the Cripps Red — a late-season variety of the Pink Lady marketed as the Sundowner and Joya.

He was formally recognised in 2010 when inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia for his influence on Australia's apple industry.

Mr Cripps was also named an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2015 for his "distinguished service to primary industry through internationally renowned, innovative contributions to the agriculture and food sectors, and to the community".

Mr Cripp's daughter, Helen Cripps, said the family was proud of his contribution to horticulture in Australia.

"We are so proud that he's left a legacy," Dr Cripps said.

"It took 25 years of research to develop the apple genetics of the Pink Lady to the point it's at today."

Since its release in 1991, the Pink Lady variety has become internationally recognised as a success story, listed in the top 100 greatest inventions from Australia.

In 2015, the Cripps Pink — the cultivar of the apple sold under the trademark name Pink Lady — accounted for more than 30 per cent of Australian apple production.

Prominent Manjimup producer and Newton Orchards owner Harvey Giblett said he had the pleasure of working with John Cripps over the years.

"I always found him very calm and quiet, but beneath that he was quite determined and dedicated in what he was doing," he said.

"As a Pink Lady grower I'm proud that the variety was bred right here in WA. It's pretty amazing, really, because he's created a world-class apple.

"Even to this day it's still growing in popularity around the world."

Australian Pear and Apples Ltd CEO Phil Turnbull said Mr Cripps made an enormous contribution to the apple industry, both in Australia and internationally.

"John’s painstaking work produced an apple that has become one of the most successful and best loved apples worldwide," he said.

Internationally, Pink Lady apples are grown and consumed from South Africa, Chile, and New Zealand to North America and Europe.

Mr Turnbull said the decision to market Cripps Pink under the Pink Lady brand had also changed the face of apple marketing.

"John leaves behind an incredible legacy, and we thank him for it," Mr Turnbull said.

Source: ABC Rural

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