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Ronald Grieve – Obituary

THE Angus breed has lost one of its longest standing stalwarts and the Rylstone district one of its most respected senior citizens with the death last week of Ron Grieve of “Talooby”.

Ron Grieve, who was almost 97 but still mobile and alert, spent his entire adult life – apart from a wartime stint in the Air Force – on “Talooby”, the Bylong Valley property he took over from his parents in 1953.

In that same year, Ron and his wife Pat established the “Talooby” Angus herd – the first Angus herd in the valley – with the purchase of 12 cows from the dispersal of the Wallah stud at Narrabri.

By 1957 the herd was attracting industry notice as the state winner of the Rural Bank’s Beef Cattle Breeders Competition, and in 1969 the Talooby Angus stud was established. Commercial bull sales started two years later.

The breeding of commercially successful Angus cattle was only one facet of Ron’s long life. Equally important to him were his involvement in national Angus breed affairs and at local level, his passionate commitments to the local show society and rural fire brigade.

Above all, Ron was widely respected and admired as a true “country gentleman” of the old school, a man of infinite wisdom born of experience, ever willing to share his knowledge with others and a role model and guiding hand for younger generations.

Born at Forbes in July 1918 the eldest of four children of Garnet and Mabel Grieve, he attended secondary school at Scotch College in Adelaide, where he developed what would be a lifelong passion for sport.

It was during his time at Scotch also he discovered his rural calling while holidaying on properties of family members at Grenfell and around Truro in South Australia. From school he settled on his parents’ property “Talooby” where his father put him to work cutting burrs – a gruelling baptism lasting six weeks that made him thereafter a stickler for weed control.

After meeting his future wife, Pat Thompson from nearby “Wingarra”, Ron enlisted in the army when the Second World War erupted in 1939, but three months later he had to return home because his father fell ill.

Later he was able to reenlist, this time in the Air Force where he trained as a pilot and flew Beaufort light bombers on coastal defence and over New Guinea.

Married in 1942, Ron returned home at war’s end and at around this time was talked into joining the local Rylstone-Kandos Show Society, beginning an association that would endure for the rest of his life.

Starting his show career as a sheep steward, he later served nine years as president and was made a life member and eventually patron of the society in recognition of his tireless support.

Until the past few years he was the regular “roving reporter” at showtime, using a hand-held microphone to conduct impromptu interviews and promote the different facets of the show.

Although the handover of “Talooby” to Ron and Pat was set in motion in 1953, it was not until 1969 they had paid off other family members and cleared their debt, enabling them to embark on the stud.

At the time an Angus stud in the Central West was still a somewhat adventurous undertaking, as the breed was numerically thin on the ground and a couple of decades away from the pre-eminence it would later attain.

But having been an early adopter of performance recording with the (then) Department of Agriculture in 1964, Ron could see the breed’s potential and set about establishing Talooby’s place in the Angus scene.

His eye for a profitable bovine made him a soughtafter show judge, and career highlights included a number of Sydney Royal Show appointments judging Angus and interbreed classes. For nine years he was also over-judge at the annual judging school at C.B. Alexander Agricultural College, Tocal.

Awarded life membership of Angus Australia for his years of service to the breed, Ron in 1995 was also awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to the cattle industry and the community.

Among the latter involvements was a long association with his local Bylong rural fire brigade which he captained successfully for 40 years. Less active in recent years, Ron continued to follow industry and local affairs until his health began to fail him in the past 12 months. Ron Grieve is survived by his wife Pat, their son Peter and daughter Jill.

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