CAS Hawker Scholarship

2017 CAS Hawker Scholarship Winner

MacKinlay Cookson

CAS Hawker Daniel Coulthurst Studying Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham

MacKinlay is committed to Australian agriculture. He grew up on a family property at Borambola in NSW. The Cookson family specialise in producing commercial domestic and international grass seeds and beef cattle.

MacKinlay spent time at the Trinity Anglican College at Albury and then, as is the case with many country students, he went to a boarding school in the city. At Melbourne Grammar he got a taste of city life and some international experience with Grammar’s educational trips to Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. He graduated in 2013 with an ATAR of 95.3.

He took a gap year in 2014 and went home to work on the farm. He learnt new skills about being adaptive and resilient and handling ever-changing demands posed by nature, the economy and business relationships. His improved skill set included decision making, planning and completing manual tasks.

After a year on the farm he decided to give engineering/commerce a go at university. The property wasn’t big enough to support MacKinlay and his three siblings. Engineering and commerce appeared to offer financial stability and opportunity. What they didn’t offer however, was sufficient stimulation. MacKinlay came to the realisation that his passion was for agriculture, and after completing the year at Monash University he enrolled in the Agribusiness Program at Marcus Oldham College.

MacKinlay has a vision for Australian agriculture. He wants to be involved in its growth and development and, in particular, with young, motivated agriculturalists. This, he believes, could be done through the development of avenues for motivated, educated, young people to build equity within corporate agriculture.
With the high cost of agricultural enterprises, it’s extremely difficult for young people to buy into the industry. Programs need to provide accessible and affordable pathways for young Australians.

Ultimately, his goal is to use his personal and professional skills to facilitate pathways for the younger generations of agricultural enthusiasts into agriculture. MacKinlay believes there is a need for strong leadership, open communication, networking and mentoring as well as the use of technology as a major form of communication. He believes that opportunities abound in agriculture. It is a matter of opening up these opportunities and providing strong support.


He sees opportunities to work within corporate and government bodies to develop and facilitate programs supporting young, motivated farmers to get a foothold in the business of agriculture.
MacKinlay Cookson is a remarkable, talented and thoroughly genuine young man who is destined to make a significant contribution to Australian agriculture.


Applications for the 2018 Charles Hawker Scholarships open onDecember 4th 2017 and close on January 5th 2018.  An application form and further information is available from www.hawkerscholarship.org