Scott Lusby

I was born in Goondiwindi in 1952, the second son of a doctor.

In 1956 we moved to London, England, where my father studied for his FRCS. I don’t remember too much about living in London except it seemed to be always raining and it was cold.

After 2 years we returned to Australia to live in Ascot, Brisbane. I attended the Ascot State Primary School where I was introduced to Aussie Rules football. Football and sport became my life! I was not a good student and spent most of my academic life at the bottom of the class. It wasn’t my fault, as they forgot to tell me I was not at school to enjoy myself and make good friends, but to learn stuff. Besides, I was not much interested in what my teachers were telling me!

After primary school, I went to CEGS, my father’s old school. It was not my choice, however, as all my footy mates were going to Hendra High and that is where I wanted to go. I continued my lack of interest in schoolwork at Churchie, much to my father’s disgust.

Catching the Bush Bug

At 9 or 10, I went to a family friends’ property at Goondiwindi for the holidays and thought it was just the best place. From then on, I spent most school holidays on friends’ properties at Goondiwindi, and later, Roma. I had caught the Bush bug and made the decision that I wanted to spend my life working with stock in the Bush. After I finished my Junior year, I passed, but only just, I begged my father to let me attend the Longreach Past College, but he refused. I did not get on too well with my father as we had very little in common. He was the son of a Physics Professor and an academic. I was into football, music and the Bush.

The day I finished my last Senior exam, I was on the train to Hughenden to begin my life on the land with the Scottish Australia Investment Company on their property ‘Rockwood”, where I had got a first-year Jackarooing job. A very steep learning curve began to transform this city boy into a Bushie!

Agency Career Begins – 1972

My agency career began in Charters Towers in 1972. By that time I was working on ‘Allansley Station’ for Mr Hurtel Powley & became friends with Greg Green who was managing a small private agency. He was looking for a stock salesman & offered me the job. Thought it would be good for 12 months to see how the business side of things worked then back to station life that I enjoyed. My ambition was to be managing a station run by 30. I found I enjoyed the agency life & I started auctioneering which I really enjoyed, it gave me a chance to be the center of attention and show off!

Dalgety’s Cannon Hill – 1972

After 6 months, I was approach by Alan Nagel, the Charters Towers Dalgety manager. He suggested I was wasting my time in a small private show and should join a large Pastoral house for a better future. Dals flew me to Brisbane and I got a cadet position.

As a Cadet among other duties each week I got to work at the Cannon Hill sale. There I got to work with the likes of industry legend Stan “Old Son” Wallace, big Paul McCormack was also a cadet & Roger Halliwell as stock clerk. Paul went on to be a very successful Dalgety agent & Roger was the boss of Stanbroke.

Dalgety Roma, Charleville – 1972 – 1973

I put in for a Branch posting after 6 months & was sent to Roma where Don Innes was boss & Phil McDougal was stocky. After 12 months or so in Roma, I was transferred to Dalgety’s Charleville Branch working with Mark McCurran, Lester Clydon & Robert Brown was Manager. It was a big branch with 20 plus staff. Most of my time was spent with Mark learning to be an agent. Had a great time in Charleville both with work and social life!! The town was buzzing. So sad to see the way it is now. There were lots of trips away to sales with dealers Ces Adcock , Harold Gardner & Mark with me as driver.

Dalgety Cloncurry, Mareeba, Pittsworth – 1973 – 1974

Next move in my education was to Dalgety Cloncurry. I enjoyed the work and trips in the plane to the Gulf, Dalgety owned a number of properties up there, they were their own best client! Found living there quite lonely. Not many people my age.

Not long in the Curry before moving to Mareeba with Tom Axford. Just the two of us at the branch. Tom did the admin & merch and left me to roam the eastern Gulf and Cape Yorke chasing cattle to sell. I was doing all the selling at the monthly sales too. Great town Mareeba, nearly as much fun as Charleville and there was Port Douglas & Cooktown if you did not want to be found for whatever reason!

One of my worst days was getting the phone call from H/O to say I was to be transferred to Pittsworth Branch. I pleaded with them not to send me but they said they were pleased with my performance in each branch but wanted to broaden my experience before assigning me to a permanent branch. I did not last in Pittsworth and resigned. The Company had sent me a clear message that I had a promising future but I chose to ignore it. Bad decision on my behalf.

Australian Estates & The Great Cattle Crash – 1974

After resigning from Dalgety’s I applied for and got a Stock Sales position at Australian Estates Rockhampton Branch. This position really excited me as I got to work with legendary Stud Stock Auctioneer Dave Watkins, and it was my hope was to one day get into Stud Stock selling. This was just before the 1974 great cattle crash, that no one saw coming, so like many others I was last on, first off, and out of a job.

Went back to Bris and got a job working as a labourer building swimming pools while I looked for a bush job.

Mountain Valley Brahman Stud – 1975 – 1978

At the end of 1975 I applied for and got the overseers job on “Mt Valley Brahman Stud” at Katherine in the Northern Territory. It was a great job and I was sad when it came to a end with BTB eradication programme a couple years later. Beautiful herd of Pure Bred Grey Brahmans, mostly De Landelles Cherokee bloodlines. Lots of preg testing and A I work. I was in heaven, and thought, If I couldn’t sell ’em, I’d breed ’em.

Mountain Valley” was my dream job with ten Single Sire herds of Pure Bred Grey Brahman breeders, all quiet as big dogs (due to the cattle skills of Rodger and Lorena Jefferis whose place I took) plus a bull breeding herd of selected commercial breeders mostly using AI.

The BTB programme was in full swing. Any beast that reacted —- lump under the tail was destroyed, shot. However, many had no sign of bruco or T.B when cut up. 60% of the Stud & bull breeders were destroyed. It was heart-breaking to shoot those beautiful girls. They were my pets & I knew them by name & they knew me!

Marriage and Gatton College – 1978 – 1979

Whilst at working at “Mountain Valley” I had met Lyn Collins, who was originally from Wallangarra on the Southern Downs of Queensland, and was working up in the Territory as a Rural Health nurse. In June of 1978 we were married on the banks of the Victoria River at Timber Creek.

By September 1978 the stud was disbanded and the property up for sale & I was unemployed.

Lyn & I came back to QLD, to Gatton where in 1979 I began a 2 year degree course in Rural Business Management. While at Gatton I decided it was also a good opportunity to peruse my flying dream. To pay for Flying Lessons I sold my most prized possession, my Town & Country Valliant Ute.

Ingerberry Station Quilpie & Flying – 1980 -1981

After completing the first year of the Rural management course, I had my pilots License but had runout of money, completing the second year at Gatton was out of the question. I applied for and got a station managers job on the Rutledge families “Ingerberry Station“, about 70kms south of Quilpie. Lyn and I packed up again and moved there. Once there I borrowed $12,000.00 to buy my first plane, a Cessna 172. Whilst at “Ingerberry” I got to do quite a lot of station flying and mustering, which I loved.

Lake Nash – 1981

Wanting to get back into the Stud Stock industry in early 1981 I applied for and got the Stud Managers job with King Ranch at “Lake Nash”. Lyn and I packed, she drove and I flew the plane up to “Lake Nash” on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory. The Stud Manager’s role there was working under the “Lake Nash” Station Manager. Unfortunately the Station Manager and I just could not get along, so after 7 hard months, I gave up and resigned.

Primac Quilpie 1981 – 1983

Lyn and I packed up at “Lake Nash” and headed for Brisbane. I was 29 years old and had no idea what I was going to do for a job. Back to Dalgetys and the Agency game maybe? Along the way to Brisbane , we stopped off in Longreach to see a good mate, Tony Montgomery who was the Primac Wool officer there. Whilst there, Tony introduced me to Mr Gordon Reid. I told Mr Reid my story and following what turned out to be a job interview with him, I was offered the vacant Primac Quilpie Branch managers job. I accepted and so mid trip we changed course and headed back to Quilpie.

Primac Quilpie Office – Photo by Richard Street

At Primac Quilpie I had taken over from Ross Keane who had been transferred to the Branch mangers role at Charters Towers Branch. Duncan Turner was the Stock Salesman & local Roxanne Richardson was the office Admin. Ross had left a good business to take over. While we spent most of our time feeding and trucking Kidman cattle, but we also had a good sheep, wool, and insurance business with a core of good financed accounts & sundry debtors under control.

At Quilpie I got to spend a lot of the time driving / flying through the Channel Country seeing clients, mostly to Kidman properties. I also enjoy the contact I had with Mr Reid & even got to go on a buying trip (in the Primac Plane) with him and Graham Flynn, inspecting and selling Kidman Station bullocks. What an eye opener that trip was! I really enjoyed living and working in Quilpie.

I have not made mention of many specific client to protect the guilty, but I could not move on from Quilpie without a word or two about my favourite client, the late, great Mr Sandy Kidd OBE and his delightful wife Anne. “Sando” was a rough diamond, an exceptional bush pilot, who taught me a lot about aircraft control & was a true character of the QLD bush. RIP old mate!

As a first-time branch manager, I needed a bit of help and got it from many more experience people from the Primac team including: Tom O’Brien (Wool Dept), Arthur Walmsley (Finance / Property), Mr Reid (Longreach), Gary Baker & Robyn Clayton (Charleville Branch) on the bookwork, and Eric Bassingthwaite and Derek Anderson in Brisbane. They were all very generous with there time and advice ….. Thank you all!

I had achieved my aim of being a manager by age 30, but not in the job I had thought.

Primac Mount Isa 1983 – 1986

At the tail end of 1983 I was offered the Branch mangers position at Mount Isa Branch, which I accepted. It was to be a different business to Quilpie but we were happy to be going back north again. We got caught by the river in flood in Winton. We got to spend a week with Primac Winton Branch Manager Tim Clifford (RIP) & his family. They made us feel welcome and could not do enough for us during our enforced stop over. Tim was truly great bloke, agent and one of the funniest men I have had the pleasure of knowing! So, on to the Isa & an adventure I will remember fondly forever!

I took over from Neville Wise who I knew from my early days at Charters Towers. I had met him and Glen Dunn there. Good bloke the “Wise Man” and a good horseman. Nev had some pretty handy camp horses that he had “made”. John Keir, who I had worked with briefly in my Dalgety Cloncurry days was now livestock manager at the Tancred’s works. Although we had had our differences in the past, we got on well enough in our ‘new’ roles and did some good business.

While Manager of Mount Isa branch, l convinced Mr Reid that it would be good for business if the Company had a presence at the Mount Isa rodeo. We sponsored Edna Jessop, myself and a couple of other drafting mates to work clearing the ring of stock after each event. Also a couple of yard men as well. It was great fun and a successful promotion! Had a photo of the crew but can’t find it. All I have is one of my shirts which is a special memory of spending time with dear old Edna, a genuine legend

My biggest client in the Isa had 4 big properties. As the BTB program was in full swing and compo was being paid to destroy reactors, he made the decision to destock all his properties and buy in clean cattle. I was to be his agent and organise the operation. Based on the compo projections, turn off to meatworks, in cooperation with John “the red steer” from Tancreds, the estimated cost of clean cattle, inspection and trucking costs, I worked out a budget and began sourcing clean breeders. So began one of the most exciting times in my agency career.

The budget was in place, the DPI and meatworks organised and any short-term cattle payment would be carried by Primac Mount Isa until the next cattle kill, all unsecured of course, but the debt would not blow out beyond 30 days. What could possibly go wrong!

I did have the presents of mind to let Mr Reid know the plan. He did not say don’t do it. He told me I was the manager, and it was up to me to make sure it ran smoothly and end it if things got out of hand, but remember what ever happened, good or bad I must be willing and prepared to take responsibility for the outcome!

Sounded good to me, so we put the plan in motion.

I sourced most of the cattle from the Northern Territory and one mob from the Kimberley. A number of mobs from QLD.

Spent a lot of time in the air. I hired a Beechcraft Debonair from the Mount Isa aero club. A beautiful plane to fly – constant speed prop, retractable, low wing & fast. After my 172, it was like a fighter plane! It was watch and compass flying, no auto pilot or GPS, and was great fun. Had a few Heart in mouth moments getting off short, rough strips with a few leaves hanging from the under carriage, but hey, we made it.

We bought every mob we inspected. The only specification was they had to be “clean”. We finished with every breed and every colour bar the green ones and dealt with some good people and some not so good ones.

Back at the Primac Mount Isa branch Greg Brown was a vital cog in the operation. He organised the delivers, trucking and spelling and made sure the destock kill timetable kept on track. He spent many weeks and nights working the phone back at the branch. We would talk every day and no matter where I was, he would find me and keep me up to date. In his spare time, he found us a few mobs of cattle. He really did a fantastic and was one of the key players in making a success of the venture!

Many funny things happen and there a more stories to be told. The origin of some of the cattle could have subject to discussion but this was the Northern Territory in the early 80’s and some brands were not easy to read!

At the end of it all & after spending almost $1 million, the client had a $30,000, 60 day debit on his Primac account. I got a phone call to say my presence and the client were required in Brisbane Head Office to explain to the Board why this debit existed and why monies had been paid out for stock purchases, unsecured?

We fronted the Board with all the paper work, receipts, kill sheets and compo payments. They were not happy and wanted the debit cleared “TO DAY”!! The client told me he would go to the bank and meet me in 30 minutes with a cheque. He returned with an Elders cheque made out to Primac for $30,000 and told me to take it to the Board then close his account. I lost my best client but by then I had had the best experience of my young life!

Not too long after that Don Swan came on the scene, we had a disagreement and I resigned from the company.

Gympie, Mary Valley Real Estate 1986 – 1994

Whilst at Mount Isa, we had bought a small property at Imbil in the Mary Valley, in the Gympie hinterland, so when it came time to move, we had somewhere to go. It happened sooner than I had expected, and so we moved from Mount Isa to Imbil.

I spent the rest of the 1980’s involved in real estate. On the 8/8/88, I opened Mary Valley Real Estate. Business was a bit slow as the yuppies had not yet discovered “tree change”.

The only hiccup during this time was when I lost all my cash reserves and savings! I had been playing around with futures trading for a while. I had been doing small trades and doing OK so thought I should get serious and make some real money. This is what my “broker” had been waiting for! Turned out they were a $2.00 company of crooks. I lost the lot, about $60k worth! It was back to square one and I needed a job.

Wesfarmers Landmark Gympie 1994 – 1995

I realized that I missed the bush, stock work and auctioneering terribly. In 1994 I started doing casual work at the Gympie saleyards for Wesfarmers Dalgety. Steve Truman was the Gympie Wesfarmers branch manager. Although Steve had taken my place as Primac Quilpie Branch manager a decade earlier, we had never met. Steve gave me a start back in the agency game at Gympie & we have been firm friends since that day.

The highlight of this time was working at the Wooloolga sales with Tony English as yard boss & the rest of the yard crew. It was a laugh a minute with Tony in charge who was fond of practical jokes. He was also a great organiser and good cattleman. It was a great time, but I also learnt a lot about setting up a sale.

Woolooga Cattle sale 1995

Woolooga Feature Weaner Sale May 1995. On the Catwalk L-R, Tony English (RIP Local Grazier and Yard Boss), Scott Lusby (Visiting from Wesfarmers Landmark Charleville, Guest Auctioneer), Keith Gate (RIP Wesfarmers LAndmark Gympie Livestock Booking Clerk), Steve Truman (Wesfarmers Landmark Gympie Manager / Auctioneer), Bill Bishop (Guest Auctioneer), Colin “Slasher’ Ramkie (Wesfarmers Landmark Murgon). Identities in the crowd, Dan Sullivan (Wesfarmers Landmark Gympie Stock Sales / Auctioneer), Pat Nolan (RIP Nolan Meats founder), Stan ‘Old Son” Wallace (QCL Correspondent and Sale Judge)

Wesfarmers Charleville 1995 – 1999

At this time there was a stock sales / auctioneer position vacant at Wesfarmers Landmark Charelville. Steve put a good word in for me and I interviewed with regional manager John Espie and got the job. Initially I went to Charleville and Lyn stayed on at the Imbil place. I would return every six weeks or so for a few days then go back to Charleville. Funny thing was, when I would head back to the west after a few days, the closer I got to Charleville the better I felt!

Bill Chilcott was the Wesfarmers Landmark Charleville manager, Col Young was the Merchandise Manager & Errol Giesmann was the sheep and wool adviser (Errol had been the Dalgety Branch Manager when I was branch manager at Primac Quilpie 12 years earlier).

It was great to be back in the bush & in the agency game full time. Bill left me alone to get on with the stock business without too much interference. Darky Heineman was OIC at Tambo & I spent a fair bit of time up there. A great town and district.

Lyn did eventually move out and join me in Charleville and we bought a nice 3 bedroom house in Parry Street with open fire and big shed.

One of our best clients was the Lansdowne Past Co run by Richard Turnbull & his sons Hume & John. The on-property “Lansdowne” sheep sales were a yearly highlight. I sold a couple of times at ‘Lansdowne’ & had the honour of performing at the very last sale in March 1997. I will always remember that at the end of that sale, Richard Turnbull handed me a large scotch in a cut crystal glass.

Selling at the last Landsdowne on property sale in March 1997.

I also had a bit to do with Arthur Earl and was with him when he bought “Tambo Station” and “Malven Hills”. I remember meeting him at the Augathella roadhouse one morning. I was heading to Charleville & he was going up to Blackall. He asked me to join him in a drink of tea. While we enjoyed a cuppa, his driver was polishing the Rolls Royce car. I asked Arthur if he was concerned about hitting a Kangaroo and doing damage to a fine motorcar. “No” he said, “it’s just a car, I’ll buy another”. Good bloke, Arthur.

Bob Jakins was the Primac Charleville Branch manager with Rob Cameron as stocky with the ever-reliable Robyn Clayton as admin. They were all great folk. Bob, like Tim Clifford (RIP) was / is very funny & great company. We put our heads together to hold to very last cattle sale to be held in Charleville. It was a combined Show Sale, held at the Dalgety yards. We bought Stan “Old Son” Wallace out to be our judge and the day was a great success!

Blackall 1999 – 2001

I was told there was a private agent in Blackall who was looking for an experienced agent to run his local business while he started a new live export business in the north. We had a meeting, several in fact. It looked good, more money, a Beech Bonanza I could fly when I wanted & pretty much my own boss. I said yes to the deal (nothing in writing though).

We sold the Charleville house and bought a small 2 bed room miners shack at the “Paris end” of Blackall. Off we went to Blackall and into my agency career wildness!

I have done a few very foolish things in my life but this decision is by far the dumbest thing I ever did. Again, I threw away a solid career with a great Company, Wesfarmers to chase the “Holy Grail”! I knew I was in trouble when I asked for the client list and was given the phone book! I had to ask ever week for my pay and when I complained, was told “why do you want money, you wife is working”.

Within a few months, the agency business closed. I stayed and opened “Scott Lusby Rural”. It was tough going and quite lonely being out of the corporate loop. I remember talking with Graham “Gravely” Henderson from Dalby and he telling me to hang in there “the first million is always the hardest son”. Bloody oath it was, I needed to diversify so took on town Real Estate and then the local picture theatre. I also worked at the saleyards on sale days after I had finished with the handful of cattle I had.

Blackall to Toowoomba 2001

Our marriage was under a lot of strain, – who could blame Lyn for not being happy! Lyn wanted us to move to Toowoomba and make a fresh start, so I rang Ray Lewis who was Wesfarmers Manager at Toowoomba, who I knew and asked if there was anything going in Toowoomba.

Ray told me of a friend of his who had a second hand auction business he wanted out of. He was looking for someone to take over the lease walk in walk out, no money up front and shed full of stock. I drove down from Blackall and had a look, and it was ideal.

I rang Lyn and suggested she come down so we could look for a house. After I had talked excitedly for an hour about the business and what an opportunity it was Lyn told me she was going to stay in Blackall! I drove back to Blackall and collected my clothes and few possessions and returned to Toowoomba, all in 48 hours. Our marriage of 23 years was over!

I was in no fit state to take over a business. I found a little flat in Mt Lofty and deeply depressed I sat there drinking rum — all day and all night. I ate very little, sulked a lot and felt sorry for myself while I worked really hard at being a drunk. After a 6 months I decided being a drunk was not as much fun as I thought it would be, gave myself an uppercut and looked about to re-join the human race!

Wesfarmers Landmark Gympie 2001 – 2002

I needed something to get my head working again. I enrolled in a Business Management course at the local TAFF. It was interesting and gave me a reason to get up in the morning. Towards the end of 2001 I bought a Country Life and saw that Wesfarmers Landmark were looking for staff for the Gympie Branch.

Steve Truman had returned to Gympie after a few years as Wesfarmers Branch Manager at Broken Hill. I contacted Steve and he offered me the job as Property salesman. I had kept my Real Estate and Auctioneers license current, so headed to Gympie, to take up the position. I really wanted the stock job, but any port in a storm and I was grateful to Steve for the chance to get back into the Agency game!

I started in the job about the time of 9/11. The job was ok, and I sold a few places. I also did work in the saleyards and was the third auctioneer with Ian Peterson and Steve. The dairy industry around Gympie was coming to and end and most of the sales were of Dairy properties so I had the chance to sell at the herd dispersal sales I organized. There were also some cattle properties that changed hands.

Wesfarmers Landmark Cunnamulla 2002 – 2004

I was home sick for the west, but I was happy enough in Gympie. Out of the blue, Steve asked me if I would be interested in the Branch Managers position at Cunnamulla. Of course I was, so in 2002 I went back to the west to manage the Wesfarmers Landmark branch at Cunnamulla. Although nothing much was said, I think Steve had a lot to do with getting me the job. He was highly regarded by Wesfarmers and I am sure that it was his influence that got me back to Western Qld and for that, I will be fore ever grateful!

Cunnamulla was a good branch, although, drought and low prices meant it was not as active as it once was. The saleyards had fallen into disrepair and very few cattle were trucked out from the rail yards.

I was doing the finance, property and livestock sales. The merchandise manager was local ‘Sparrow’ Crick and Joslyn was the office admin person.

During my time in Cunnamulla, Wesfarmers sold the Landmark business to AWB. It was a sad day indeed as Wesfarmers was a good company to work for. Like the Elders /Primac deal, things changed and not for the better.

Wesfarmers Gympie, Stock Lusby Rural Maryborough 2004 – 2005

After two years I returned to back to Gympie as the branch Livestock Manager again with Steve Truman as Branch Manager. On returning to Gympie, I found Steve had become just as disillusioned with the way AWB was running the business as myself! Steve took a redundancy package that was on offer and I left the company shortly after that. We put our heads together and made the decision to go on our own, operating in Gympie and Maryborough. We did look at a Ray White Livestock franchise at the time, but never went ahead with it.

I went off to Maryborough, where I felt there was an opportunity, as there was no stock agent there. I came to an agreement with the local council to hold regular cattle sales at the showgrounds which I could also use as a site for regular chattels auctions. It started out well. I was selling 150 to 200 head at the show grounds each sale and had a couple of reasonable chattels auctions. I was also in negotiations with the Quarter Horse Assoc to hold a performance horse sale in conjunction with their annual Maryborough Futurity.

It was early days, but we were both confident that we could build a good business in both locations. However, just when you think you have everything sorted, the hand of fate steps in!

Broken Neck and Rehab 2005 – 2008

I have always had big motorcycles and love nothing better than going for rides and touring. On Sunday the 5 day of November, 2005, I was riding through the hills west of Nambour, when I was run off the road, crashed and broke my neck.

After being checked out at the Nambour Hospital, I was flown to P.A in Brisbane for surgery. At this stage, it was not known if I had chord damage as the swelling was too great to tell. I had fractured and dislocated c6 and c7 with the spinal cord running between the fractures. I was immobilized for the trip to Brisbane so don’t remember much about it. I was in the theatre for 8 hours while they put steel rods in my back and bolted my head back on.

When I woke, I was wearing steel bolted to my head and still unable to move. I was told there was a real risk of be being a talking head for the rest of my life. I could not face that so thought of ways to kill myself. The best way and only way when you can’t move was to bite my tongue in half and bleed to death! I still have nightmares about that time. During the operation they told me my blood pressure had dropped considerably and as a result the optic nerve to my left eye was depleted of blood flow and died. As a result, I lost the sight in my left eye. Luckily, we have two eyes with one as a spare.

After six weeks, I was upright, so the let me out of hospital so I went back to Maryborough to go to work. I had also broken a few other bones in the crash so I was still a little wobbly but thought I would be OK. I very quickly discovered. I was not O.K. It took 18 months for me to recover and even now, I still get some discomfort in my neck. It seemed like my days as an Agent were over, so I had to reinvent myself!

Sunshine Coast, Longreach, Brisbane Pro Honda 2008 – 2017

I sat at my desk one night, with a blank page in front of me and made two columns. On one side, all the things I didn’t want to do, on the other, what liked to do. What I came up with was, cars, guitars, motorcycles and writing.

I am not a good enough muso to make a career out of it and I would starve to death before I made a living from my writing. Writers only become famous when they die! That left cars and motorcycles, so I became a driver instructor and motorcycle rider trainer. I started as a rider trainer in mid-2008. I did driver training on the weekends. I also took on a commercial cleaning job 4 nights a week to keep myself busy so there was not time for me to pine for the bush. When I did have some time off, I would go for a ride on my motorcycle.

I spent 9 years as a trainer with Pro Honda on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. During that time, I had a 12 month break, taking up a contract at the Longreach Ag College as a machinery instructor teaching dirt bikes and 4+4 driver training. It was in 20012 and only lasted 12 months as the College was in the process of collapsing. I went back to Pro Honda to my old job.

MacFarlane Tambo 2017 – 2018

I was still missing the bush but was kept sane by helping out a mate who had a cattle property in the heart of Rocklea. Ken Bell had leased the country around the airport for 50 years. Ken and I would often yarn about the bush, and I would tell him how much I wanted to go back, when the time was right! He would tell me that the time would never be right and if that was what I wanted to do, well, I should just do it!

Sadly, Ken was killed. He was loading cattle to send to a sale and was crushed by a bull he was loading. I was to give him a hand but had to work that Saturday morning. When I heard what had happened, I could not help thinking that if I had been with him………….? I made the decision to return to the bush after that. 

I just kept driving west and arrived in Tambo, a town I had always enjoyed. I got a job as caretaker on ‘McFarlaine‘, owned by the Shire Mayor, Andrew Martin, who had been a client years ago. It was a good job but in December 2018, I got crook and could not stay so moved to Blackall to retire.

Blackall Retirement 2018 – Current

In my retirement I spend my time playing my guitars …… I have 7 of them, writing short stories and bush poetry, or, as I like to call it, yarns in verse, from my bush adventures.

I have a horse and go for rides down by the river and of course, ride my motorcycle, a Honda 1000cc tourer. Life is pretty good, and I am back where I want to be. I keep in touch with the agency business by doing Blackall Sale yard tours for the Tourists.

When I reflect on what is behind me, I think I have had a pretty good time of it. My motto has always been that I never wanted to die wondering, so I have tried lots of things. I have made some really dumb decisions along the way but have very few regrets about the way things have turned out. My career as an agent/ auctioneer was, of course a highlight!

I will close my story with the words of one of my favourite songs by Garth Brooks, ‘The RIVER’

The words inspired me to go on after the bike crash that broke my neck.

‘’A dream is like a river,

Ever changing as, it flows,

And a dreamer is like a vessel,

Who must follow where it goes,

Like the bird upon the wind,

These waters are my sky,

I’ll never reach my destination,

If I never try,

So, I’ll sail my vessel,

Till the river runs dry’.’’


Posted in : Primac Gurus