Primac’s Corporate Advertising had many changes over the decades!

Author: Greg Jacobsen 29th January 2023

A recent Facebook post (Author: Kilburine Homestead), and shared to the Primac Gurus page by Kent B Ward, highlighted a Primaries Rockhampton market report, from Gracemere Saleyards of a cattle sale held 15th February 1965. It hit home to me just how much agency advertising had changed over the decades.

This article is an attempt to record some of those changes, and how Primac embraced evolving technology, to promote their business.

Remember the evolution from gestener and roneo machines, to linotype presses and photocopiers, facsimile, telex machines and the most primitive of computers in the late 1980’s. Progress certainly made life somewhat easier for our office and clerical staff and in turn agents as well.

The company logo had many changes over the decades!

Before Primac, the two mother companies, Primaries and Mactaggarts, both had their individual company logos, that were easily recognisable, and displayed with pride. Whether it be in the print media, staff uniforms, company vehicles, aircraft or simply displayed on local branch offices, the logos were something to behold in country Queensland.

“I remember with pride the first time I drove a company car with the famous Mactaggarts football sticker on the door”.

Branded Office Buildings

Once again there was massive transition, over the years in the way branch offices were presented. Back in the day, it was the very basics of signwriting, just enough to display the company name and not much else. The 1990’s saw tens of thousands of dollars spent on developing “flashy” new corporate logos, and an attempt to standardise the content of signwriting on all branch buildings.

After the amalgamation in 1975, the new merged entity became known as Primaries Mactaggarts. Here is an interesting story, by Barry Dixon stating that Dirranbandi being the first office to receive the new signage, and a footnote about the origins of the name Primac.


Had this sign put up on the Dirranbandi Primaries Office not long after I arrived as the first manager I believe to transfer from a Mactaggarts branch (Surat) to a Primaries branch. Think this may have been the first office to get the new name signage after the amalgamation. Big culture shock the Primaries client loyalty was unbelievable. Took over from Les Dunstan who went to Cunnamulla. Couldn’t wait to get that Mactaggarts name on a Primaries office. Those bloody Elders guys & others called us ‘prime maggots’ 😊 The font of the PM never changed. Hugh Johnson was a manager at Dirran & retired there & he came up with the Primac name.”

Quote by Barry Dixon – Facebook Post 25th November 2020

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, without a doubt the logo was “tweaked” from the recognizable PM style to Primac, and with that, the branch offices took on a much fresher and sharper façade, with a more detailed form of “subtle” advertising.

The old and the new!

Thanks to Barry Dixon for supplying the photo, depicting the Mactaggarts office in Surat. Compare that to the photo depicted below of the much improved new version of the Primac Surat office a couple of decades later.

Stationary and Office Supplies had some changes too!

With every change to the Primac logo, came a new issue of stationary. Business cards, letterheads, envelopes, all had to be reprinted. I’m thinking most Gurus, like me, would have had several issues of business cards during the course of their Primac career, even though their job title may not have changed.

Then there was the promotional items!

With the increasing contribution made by our merchandising department to the corporate bottom line, and the support from our suppliers, came a “gaggle” of promotional items. They were branded with the easily identifiable logo and often with some catchy lines, like “Who Else But Primac.”

The Primac note book was by far and away the most popular with our loyal clients. They were well received, and always in demand when a new print was released. It was always satisfying as a Primac agent to see so many of the notebooks in use at sales right across the state.

Newspaper Advertising!

Without a doubt country newspapers were so important for the life of an agent in country Queensland. I remember the deadline pressure to get the copy submitted on time each week. Never ideal, but with time pressures, I know I was guilty plenty of times of letting the local newspaper journalists know at the last minute, “let’s just run the same as last week”.

Even today, but more so prior to the internet and emails, the Queensland Country Life newspaper was the “bible” for agents and primary producers alike. Even though I have been out of the industry for some 25 years, it’s a habit hard to break, I still get a copy of the QCL at every opportunity. Like most publications now, “on line” subscription is taking over from the print copy, but it continues to be a wonderful feeling to actually pick up a QCL, touch it and feel it, and browse at ones leisure.

It is a shame to see the demise of many of the local newspapers, they provided such an important service to the rural industry.

Corporate Uniforms!’

In most cases our corporate uniform were always worn with so much pride. Like other forms of our advertising, our uniforms also were changed and “tweeked” over the years.

One of the attached photos, depicts our Insurance Manager, Alan Williams (RIP). Alan always dressed to impress and was a great example of certainly looked the part, when representing Primac in his important role.

“Like me, I am sure there would be many Primac Gurus that would still have a few Primac ties or even shirts in their cupboards at home.

In fact, I still have a woollen tie, given to me back in 1973 by my mother when I first commenced with Mactaggarts. There were no uniforms to speak of in those days, but she lovingly embroided the Mactaggarts cows head logo from their letterhead onto the tie and presented it to me just prior to my departure to take up my role in Brisbane”.

Greg Jacobsen February 2023

Well produced presentation brochures and advertising leaflets got the message across!

The presentation brochures produced by Primac became much more classy and professional. Here is a good example released in 1984. It had a “crisp” look, got the company’s message across to potential clients in an efficient manner, and with the aid of inserts could focus easily on individual departments to better target a particular audience.

This particular example was directed at clients of Primac Veterinary Supplies. It was sourced from Bruce Vidgen‘s portfolio of files.

Back to the Market Reports!

As mentioned earlier, the Gracemere market report (courtesy of Kilburnie Station) prompted the publication of this article. I was very interested in the style of the report, with it’s distinctive red printing. Listed below is the said report along with some more recent articles previously contributed by fellow Primac Gurus to our facebook site.

Speaking of market reports, I came across a photo of the late John Erbacher. When I was based at Miles, John always did a market report for the previous week, every Friday (I may stand to be corrected on the day) on the local Southern Queensland ABC rural report at 6.15am. I remember John, with his masterful voice, speaking with authority, seemingly demanding attention from his listeners. Very much like his auctioneering as well. RIP John.

And the brand lives on with Primac Gurus!

A great company, Primac endured a tremendous history, but came to a close in the late 1990’s, with the acquisition by Elders. The name was lost to the public for some 25 years but fast forward, though, to 2020, with the good work of Steve Gaff and Warren Hohnke, a Facebook group of old Primac Gurus was formed. Subsequently an active group of past employees and their families, have formed an Association and reworked the Primac logo that will carry it forward for the foreseeable future, particularly with this website.

“If fellow Primac Gurus have anything to ad to this story or others on our website, please don’t hesitate to follow up with committee members. We love nothing more to be able to facilitate posting the stories to this central website for the benefit of not only ourselves, but also our families and friends well into the future” Greg Jacobsen.

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