Colin’s retirement story

"Retirement is certainly not the end of the road." says Colin.

09 May 2018

"Retirement is certainly not the end of the road." says Colin. If you’re fortunate enough to continue your vocation and spend time with significant others then, as Colin’s story demonstrates, retirement can be a very rewarding and productive time. (Photo – Colin on the occasion of the Order of Australia awards)

I retired formally at 59 years in 1997, largely because I saw the opportunity of continuing in research in CSIRO as a Post-Retirement Fellow for three years on a modest remuneration of $15,000 a year. My CSS pension was of course critical in my decision to retire.

I wanted to have the flexibility to:

  • Spend time with my wife and with our grandchildren (on Fridays), [but the grand kids grew up!]
  • Perform community activities, such as Meals-on-Wheels. [In December, 2015, we retired from Meals-on-Wheels.]
  • Interact with seniors in our church (on Wednesday afternoons) [eventually the group died off or became unable to attend]
  • Spend time with toddlers and their parents in the Play Group at our church (on Wednesday mornings). [We still help with Play Group.]


Late in those three years as a Post-Retirement Fellow, the invitation came for me to act as Editor-in-Chief of an Encyclopedia of Grain Science for the UK-based science publisher Elsevier. It was published in 2004 as three volumes.

I was able to continue that responsibility whilst performing research consulting to a Cooperative Research Centre, relevant to my experience in grains and food technology.

Next came an invitation to edit a book on Cereal Grains, thus extending my opportunity for scientific writing and interacting internationally with other scientists.

During these years, my wife’s health continued to deteriorate so that she needed me with her all the time. The external consulting work therefore came to an end in 2009 and I concentrated my efforts on activities that I could pursue from home.

Despite this ‘obstacle’, I was able to continue my involvement in scientific writing because of continuing access from home internationally via email and international conference calls. These activities have since filled many of my evenings because my wife needs to retire early.

A few years ago, I was invited to prepare a second edition of the encyclopedia. It is published (January, 2016) in an internet version and in a print version of four volumes each with about 500 A4 pages.

Subsequently, I have been invited to prepare a second edition of the earlier book, and that task is now moving well towards completion.

In 2009, I was made a Member of the Order of Australia. The basis of that award was largely for my 37 years of employment with CSIRO, but also for the subsequent 12 years of semi-retirement activities, which have also included research and supervision of postgraduate students. I am still an Honorary Professor at QAAFI, University of Queensland, although I now interact mainly by email and phone.

So my retirement at 59 years was certainly not the end of the road. I have been blessed to have had the opportunities to continue with my vocation for so long into retirement.

Dr Colin Wrigley, AM. FRACI.

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