1936-1991 On Sunday 29 September 1991, whilst at tennis, Phil Kable suffered a fatal heart attack. His death came as a great shock to his family, friends and colleagues, as there had been no sign of earlier health problems. Phil Kable was born on 25 February 1936 at Kogarah, a southern suburb of Sydney. Soon after, his family moved to Taren Point on the lower reaches of the Georges River and Phil grew up in the then semi-rural atmosphere that existed in many of the outer suburbs of Sydney. Much of his life-long love for the bush developed during these childhood years. His schooling began at the little school at Taren Point, continued at Kogarah Intermediate High and later at Canterbury High. In February 1953, he was awarded a traineeship with the NSW Department of Agriculture to undertake a course in Agricultural Science at the University of Sydney. He graduated B.Sc.Agr. in 1957, having specialised in plant pathology in his final year, and, on 15 April 1957 he commenced duty as a plant pathologist in the then Biology (now Plant Pathology) Branch of the Department. At that time, the Biology Branch was located on the sixth floor of the Department of Agriculture head office building in Farrer Place, Sydney. I had taken up duty as a plant pathologist five years earlier and well remember the quietly spoken, smiling, calm young man who started that April. His stay in Sydney was only temporary, as he had been appointed to work at Yanco in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, Australasian Plant Pathology Vol. 21 (1) 1992
'specifically on brown rot of stone fruit, to give general advice on plant disease matters and to investigate disease outbreaks'. He took up his position at Yanco on 30 January 1958 and worked on plant disease problems in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area for the next 22 years. For much of this period, he concentrated on various aspects of brown rot work. He investigated its life cycle and epidemiology, the frequency and timing of benomyl sprays, the use of systemic fungicides for curative control in ripening peaches, problems with the disease in harvested cherries and brown rot resistance in apricots. Time was also found for work on a wide range of other problems, including the epidemiology of prune rust and grape vine downy mildew, the establishment (in conjunction with the then Bureau of Meteorology)of an apple and pear scab forecasting service for the M.I.A., studies on Armillaria root rot, the epidemiology and spread of the rust Puccinia chondrillina (introduced by CSIRO as a biological control agent for skeleton weed) and on virus diseases and nematodes in stone fruit orchards. In addition, he carried an advisory load on a wide range of plant disease problems for growers and for plant quarantine. On the persona! side, he met his future wife, Alice, early in his period at Yanco and his interests in photography were greatly stimulated by membership of the Leeton Camera Club and participation in its exhibitions. Phil was awarded an M.Sc.Agr. by the University of Sydney in 1962 for his thesis 'Aspects of the overwintering of Sclerotinia fructico/a (Winter) Rehm in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Areas of New South Wales'. In September 1962, he took up an assistantship at Cornell University for two years and, in 1965, was awarded his Ph.D. for the thesis 'Influence of soil moisture upon the biology of Pratylenchus penetrans'. Many other overseastrips followed. In 1971, he took part in a NATO workshop at the Advanced Study Institute in the Netherlands on the Epidemiology of Plant Diseases and this had a profound influence on the future direction of his work. During this trip, he also took part in the First International Mycological Congress at the University of Exeter in England. One of my fondest memories of Phil is sitting with him, enjoying a virtuoso organ recital in an almost empty, darkened Exeter Cathedral one evening in 1971. After the 1971 NATO workshop, Phil developed a keen interest in disease epidemiology and in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of disease management systems. In 1976, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to pursue this interest and he accepted the position of Visiting Professor at Pennsylvania State University for 9 months. On his return to Australia, Phil led the development of a computerbased simulator for prune rust to provide growers with a tool to improve disease control. In 1988, he established Prune Rust Infection Predictors (PRIPs) in orchards at Griffith and Young to give early warn-
ings of disease outbreaks and on the timing of spray programs. At the time of his death, he was still working on improvements to this system. Much more could be written of Phil's professional achievements-of his involvement with the Australian Viticultural Disease and Pest Management Coordination Group, his position as plant pathology representative on the SCA National Committee on Agrometeorology, his membership of the Plant Protection Committee of the International Society for Horticultural Science, his many (over 100) scientific and advistory publications and his contributions to many conferences-but all these miss some essential characteristics of the man himself. Phil was a gentle and easy going person and it was not really possible to have an argument with him. Nevertheless, he was a person of high principles, with definite opinions on many aspects of life and he was often resolute in his views. As such, he was a quiet but
dedicated contributor to discussions, giving a sense of perspective and a timely word of experience to guide more enthusiastic suggestions into productive channels. The hospitality that he and his wife extended to interstate and overseas colleagues has been a blessing to many and has served to strengthen the productive bonds that now exist between many pathologists in Australia, the United States of America and Europe. Phil's death has not only ended a valuable career but has left a significant gap in the ranks of Australasian plant pathology and has deprived us all of a valued friend and colleague. We offer our sympathy to his wife, Alice, and to his family in their sad loss. I am most grateful to Alice and to several colleagues, especially Peter Magarey, for help in the preparation of this obituary.
BOOK REVIEW Viruses of Tropical Plants Edited by Alan Brunt, Karen Crabtree and Adrian Gibbs. CAB. International, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8DE, UK 1990. 707 pp. ISBN 0-85198-663-3. Price: £35 Hardcover.
In this book, detailed descriptions are presented of well-known and many lesser-known plant viruses which occur in the tropics. The book is a product of the VIDE (Virus Identification Data Exchange) project, which has the ultimate aim of producing a computer database of information on all plant viruses. In addition to past and present members of the editorial group, over 170 plant virologists from around the world have contributed to the collation of the data for this book. In scope and detail, the book is very comprehensive and it is both a useful compilation of viruses from the tropics and an aid to the identification of novel viruses. Chapters include: Known Natural Hosts of Plant Viruses in Tropical Plants (arranged in alphabetical listings of plant species and families); Virus Descriptions; and Virus Group Descriptions. A guide to the layout and use of the book and sources of commercially available diagnostic aids are also presented. Information on over 500 characters has been sought for each virus. Over two-thirds
of these record the susceptibility or otherwise of a range of commonly used test plant species. The remaining characters comprise most of the biological and biochemical properties commonly used to identify and characterise viruses. The format of the descriptions allows information to be readily found and is very similar to that used in the popular A.A.B. Descriptions of Plant Viruses. Understandably, the amount of information presented for the different viruses varies enormously. Some are well studied and characterised and are comprehensively described. For others, the only information available may be a single brief reference or comment, though even the listing of such a virus may be valuable information. This book is yet another valuable contribution from the VIDE project, previous efforts being 'Viruses of Legumes' (1983) and 'Viruses of Plants in Australia' (1988). It is a forerunner of a planned CD ROM version, expected in the next couple of years, which will include colour photographs of symptoms. There are few comprehensive and authoritative compilations of this sort available. It represents excellent value at £35, and is highly recommended to both individuals and libraries alike.
J.E. Thomas Australasian Plant Pathology Vol. 21 (1) 1992