CAI Executive Committee

Contact Details & Profiles

Brian Casey (President)
233 Hughes Lane
Eurobin  VIC  3739
M:  0408 000 864

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Brian and Jane Casey moved from Melbourne to Eurobin in the Ovens Valley in North East Victoria in 1986 and purchased a small farm that had some existing chestnut trees planted by the Italian tobacco farmer who had owned the property. They have been actively involved in the development of the chestnut industry in Australia ever since.  As members of the Victorian Nut Growers Association (VNGA) they became founding members of the Chestnut Growers of Australia Ltd (CGA) when it was formed in 1991 with Jane being appointed as a Director and Secretary of the inaugural CGA Board.
  • Brian was appointed as a CGA Board Member in 1994 when Jane retired and served as Chairman from 2004 until he stood down in 2006 Brian was then appointed as Chair of the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) in 2008 and remained the Chair until 2014 when all IAC's were cancelled as part of the transition from Horticulture Australia Ltd to Horticulture Innovation Australia. In 2015 Brian was appointed as CAI President.
  • Brian and Jane planted 1,000 trees on their Eurobin property and purchased another nearby property in 2005 also with 1,000 mature chestnut trees. Their production reached over 25 tonnes before their orchards were entirely destroyed in 2010 and 2011 as part of the Vic DPI eradication of the fungal disease Chestnut Blight.
  • Brian and Jane are also the proprietors of Australian Gourmet Chestnuts founded in 1999 to produce value added products such as frozen peeled chestnuts, vacuum packed chestnuts and chestnut puree.  Brian was a member of an industry market access trip to Japan in 1994 and has been exporting fresh and value added chestnuts to Japan for many years.  Brian has also attended International Chestnut Congresses in Europe in 2004, 2009 and 2013 and with Jane has conducted European Study tours to the main chestnut regions of France and Italy.
  • Brian and Jane Casey were both awarded CAI Life Membership in 2011.

Luciano Cester (Secretary/Treasurer & Marketing Chair)
46 McKeon Circuit, North Dandenong, VIC, 3175
P: (03) 9580 3344
M: 0422 034 487

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Experience in and involvement with the chestnut industry:
    • Established 550 tree chestnut orchard (Stanley, VIC)
    • Attended South of Divide Grower Meetings
    • Pursued Value Added Chestnut products
      • Flour
      • Cake Mixes
  • Skills, experience and ideas offered to the CAI as a member of the Board:
    • Education: Bachelor Economics (Honors)
    • Major AGRI ECO Statistics
    • Grower Knowledge
    • Value Adding Experience


Adam Gatford (Vice President)
PO Box 373
Tumbarumba  NSW  2653
M: 0430 721 127

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Grower of Chestnuts since 2005 in Southern NSW
  • Member of CAI since 2005
  • Member of Premium Chestnuts Australia since 2005
  • 14 years with National Importer & Wholesaler - Sales/Wharehouse Management/Inventory Control
  • Aims - To make use of modern communications and to help unite growers and help make CAI a more coherent organisation

Chris Dikkenberg
33 Schoolhouse Rd,
M: 0458 220 122

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

  • 1992 - completed VCE 
  • 1993 - attended engineering at Swinburne University 
  • 1994-1999 - Share farmed on a dairy farm in Kernot VIC , milking 200 cows 
  • 1999-2003 - Share farmed on a grain\dairy farm in Berrigan NSW, milking 100 cows and cropping 450 acres on sub-irrigation 
  • 2003-2008 - Owned and ran a dairy farm in Cobram VIC, milking 300 cows on intensive irrigation 
  • 2008 - Purchased Percy Rodgers 3,200 tree chestnut farm in Fumina VIC
  • 2008 - 2009 - Employed as a Classifier for Holstein Australia, evaluating stud cattle across Australia
  • 2009 - Self funded study tour of Italy to research and import the 1st self propelled "facma" harvester for chestnuts 
  • 2010 - 2011 - Deputy Executive Officer for Premium Chestnuts Australia [PCA] 
  • Committee member of marketing for PCA 
  • 2011 - Board member for CAI

Andrew Hall
192 Myrtleford Road
P:  03 5728 6557
M:  0417 240 671

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • 1979 - 1981  Comalco/CRA. Executive Officer Corporate Finance Department
  • 1981 – 1983 Australian Resources Development Bank (ARDB)
  • 1983 – 1987 Indosuez Asia Limited. Manager Project Finance, Hong Kong
  • 1987- 2004  Westpac Banking Corporation, Senior Manager, Melbourne
  • 2005 – Non Executive Director, Plenty River Limited/Plentex Limited
  • 2006 – Accepted as a consultant to CEO, AGL
  • 2007 – Origin Capital

Professional Summary

  • March 2006                                                     AGL – Consultant 
  • March 2007                                                     Origin Capital
  • July     2008                                                    Farm Acquisition - 4000 tree chestnut farm
  • July 2005 – 2008                                            Plentex Ltd (small cap)                                            

Education and Qualifications


  • Bachelor of Economics, La Trobe University Melbourne
  • Specialist Knowledge – Section (923), Securities Institute Australia
  • Graduate Diploma, Solution Orientated Counselling
  • Coxswains License  - Unlimited


  • Preliminary Engineering, Level 6
  • Footscray Institute of Technology    

Interests and Hobbies

  • Swimming
  • Boating and fishing – Member, Swordfish & Tunny Club
  • Bushwalking

Richard Guthrie
PO Box 591
P:  03 5728 6711
F:  same
M:  0418 335 928

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This year commences my 30th year in the orchard industry. My career started at Tully Orchards in Beechworth, serving my Apprenticeship in Fruit Growing.

After completing my training there, I started my first term of employment with Nightingale Brothers at Stanley.

I then took on a Management position with Montague Australia in Harcourt establishing a state of the art,high density apple orchard.

Wanting to move back to the North East I accepted a Management role back with Tully Orchards.

After being approached by Keith Nightingale I took on the Management role at Nightingale’s Stanley Orchard, where I am currently employed. This is one of 6 properties, which Nightingale Bros own.

On arriving to this 150 Acre farm the decision was made to convert the Stanley property from apples to Chestnuts. I have witnessed and been in charge of the full replanting program,which sees us with over 15,000 Chestnut trees in the ground.

Our main chestnut variety is Purdon’s Pride followed by Red Spanish and Bouche. 2013/2014 yielded approx. 100 tonne.

We have planted intensively with spacing’s being 7.5mt x 3.5mt and we are practicing new pruning techniques and fertilizer management to establish a row/wall system to contain growth which is of a challenging nature.

I have propagated many of the trees on this farm, which led me to establishing my own nursery business, Galgate Nursery. My nursery is separate from my management role with Nightingales. I grow a number of chestnut trees to order every year on Menzies rootstock. The core of my business has been growing finished apple trees for fruit growers.

This year I became a member of APFIP (Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program) certifying me to grow and supply virus tested apple trees to fruit growers state wide.

In summary this is first board l have been on, and l am hoping to gain greater knowledge of the wider Chestnut industry. With my grower based experience in the production of Apples, Chestnuts and the Nursery industries, l look forward to being of some assistance on the board.


Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.