Farmer & Clarke Stock Agents 1928 – 1954

Tracing back the timelines and history of Primac Branches and Primac Gurus leads to a number of Private Agency businesses that where merged or acquired by either Mactaggarts or Primaries.

One of those Businesses is Farmer & Clarke Stock Agents which had 6 branches and a number of staff who went on to have distinguished careers in the agency business. Those people that we know of so far include Bill Lewis (RIP) and Graeme Jenkinson (RIP).

Farmer & Clarke Stock Agents, Stewart Clarke and a 15 year old Bill Lewis. Dec 1941

A young 15 year old Bill Lewis with Stewart Farmer, taken Dec 1941 Jandowae Railway Station.. (Kero fridges a good seller). Bill had been working for Farmer and Clarke since 1939 at the age of 13 after school before becoming a permanent.  Both he and Stewart transferred soon after to Kingaroy Branch in 1942 as a result of staff shortages due to the War.”

Photo – Andrew Lewis

Bill Lewis gave the Eulogy at Eddy Clarke’s wife Clarice funeral. His handwritten notes survive and thanks to his son Andrew they are published here. Bill’s notes offer a rare insight into the Farmer and Clarke Stock Agents business, history and timeline.

Clarice Clarke Eulogy (Typed version see screenshot of originals below)

“As most of those here today are aware, all of Clarice’s married life has been associated with the Agency Business in Jandowae. In fact, it spans a period of 54 years from 1942 to 1995.

It all started when she married Eddy Clarke on 6th December 1941.

However, when one commences to analyse the life of Clarice it is difficult not to reflect on the history of the Agency Business in Jandowae because you realise they are totally connected.

Eddy of course was a partner in Farmer & Clarke Jandowae, with later branches being established at Kingaroy, Stanthorpe, Goomeri, Murgon and Biloela (in that order), but Jandowae was the core business having been established in 1928 after having been moved from Cunnamulla.

At the time of Clarice’s first involvement with the Agency, Jandowae was a huge business particularly the Fat and Store Sales.

The Jan, Feb & March Weaner Sales were without doubt the premier white face sales in Qld. Buyers attended in great numbers from all eastern states. Most of these cattle were later walked or railed south to new homes in the New England, Southern NSW and Victoria.

Cattle were drawn to this center from as far away as Mundubbera and Gayndah, everything moved by stock route, and it was the accepted thing to see mobs of 5/600 cojoined mobs of young Hereford Weaners from the South Burnett, Chinchilla, Monogorilby en-route for the Jandowae Annual Weaner Sales.

Everything ran like clockwork under the stewardship of Jack and Harold Kennedy.

The largest sale of 7000 cattle was held in 1938, it was too big for the facilities, resulting in future sales being limited to 4000 head.

To cope with the activity and stock movement to the south a branch of Farmer & Clarke was opened in Stanthorpe in 1940 under the management of Puddy Mahon, the express purpose of this branch was to liaise with southern buyers. It was very successful for a number of years.

With the commencement of the war, things had to change. Reg Mant and Henry Blomfield at Kingaroy joined the forces. This meant Stewart Farmer was required to move to Kingaroy and take charge of a growing business, whilst Eddy took over the running of Jandowae.

It was at this stage Clarice became progressively more involved with the branch office affairs, originally located in the western end of the “Top Pub” (the hotel in those early days being run by Mr & Mrs Arthur Tomlinson, “Tommo’s Pub”).

As the years progressed, we see a trend where by the larger brokers required to expand their operations and chose to acquire most of the private agents in Qld and other states. The result being that in 1950 Jandowae branch was sold to Primaries and a new office was built. In 1954 Kingaroy, Biloela and other branches were acquired by Dalgety. So, we see the name of Farmer & Clarke cease from that time.

It transpires that Eddy retired from Primaries in 1975 and commenced working with Knox & Co in Jandowae. He passed away in 1980. Clarice left Primaries to work for Knox & Co in 1976 and remained in their employ till 04.01.95 at which stage the branch of Knox & Co Jandowae closed.”

Screenshots of Bill Lewis hand written notes. Click on each image to enlarge

Ruth Parker contributed some further information regarding the Farmer and Clarke story.

Ruth wrote ” My father, Crawford Bryden Tomlinson, better known as Tommy Tomlinson, was an auctioneer and stock and station agent working for Farmer and Clarke in Goomeri at least from 1949 -1951. I was born October 1950 whilst my parents were residing in Boonara Street, Goomeri. I have photgraphs of myself as a baby whilst the Tomlinsons were residing there. The old house remained, although very run down, the last time we were in Goomeri a few years ago”.

I believe my father “Tommy” Tomlinson and my mother Jessie may have rented this house, unless accommodation was supplied by Farmer and Clarke.  I do not know.  My father lived there prior to his marriage in 1949 and for some time after.  Perhaps until late 1951 or beginning of 1952.

He also worked for Mactaggarts and Goldsborough Mort.  He went to Beaudesert with his family after Goomeri.

I thought you would be interested in the Farmer and Clarke photo in the previous website addition and hoped you could name the staff from that era.

It was an interesting find to know the history behind Farmer and Clarke”.

Thank you Ruth for your contribution. March 2023

Tomlinson residence at Goomeri in 1949
Same Goomeri residence in more recent times.

Know more about Farmer and Clarke Stock Agents history and anything related to this story? Please use the form below to let us know. Relevant information and images will be added to this story.

Posted in : Guru Stories