Paul McCormack was a larger than life character who was taken from the Goondiwindi community excessively early. He was a director/owner of the local Wesfarmers/Dalgety business and a widely respected livestock agent through many parts of Queensland, especially the Maranoa.
The stories about the legendary stock and station agent are too many to tell around a campfire at night or at the bar at the Railway Hotel at Goondiwindi or the Club Hotel in Roma where he often held court.
Paul’s time in Roma was also spent at Wesfarmers/Dalgety with Val Harms and Des Cherry. They formed a formidable team causing a little grief to young agents like myself in opposition.
However, Paul, sadly taken from us 15 years ago, is still finding ways to remind us that the true characters are truly larger than life. His wife, Denise, was steeling herself, as she does every year, for the anniversary of his death, when she received a phone call, which sent a shiver down her spine and made her cry tears of joy.
Forty-nine years ago, his father Bill gave a 15-year-old Paul a pocketknife. The first thing he did was engrave it with his name. For the next 20 years, it went with him everywhere, until...
“He came home one day really upset because he had lost his pocket knife. That was 30 years ago,” Denise said. “We thought we’d never see it again.”
Enter fate. Goondiwindi’s Jimmy Roswell was droving cattle recently. He was kicking the dirt off from under his boots when he felt something hard in the ground. Jim thought it was a rock, then realised it was a pocketknife. Cleaning the dirt off there was a black knife with “McCormack” engraved by an old mate in his 15-year-old handwriting.
“Jim couldn't believe what he was reading,” Denise said. “Paul had a lot to do with Jimmy and his dad Kelly so for Jim to find Paul’s knife is so special and unbelievable. What are the odds this could happen at this time? On the anniversary of his passing?”
Jim cleaned the knife and gave it to Denise. ”I could not believe I was looking at Paul’s name engraved into the knife,”she said. “I was happy and in tears at the same time. What a treasure to have his knife in my hands. Is Paul trying to tell me something? Or maybe he just wanted me to know he is watching over me. Thanks, Jim, for giving me back a very special gift of Paul’s which meant the world to him.
“This is my special miracle and I know Paul would want me to share this with all his friends and Gundy. He always said Gundy is a town that will always pick itself up and keep going and we all walk the track together.”
Inglewood on the Darling Downs has the local processing plant reopening. Greg Prior has bought the facility to offer specialised domestic processing for branded beef and lamb products targeting the wholesale butcher business in southern Queensland and northern NSW. Trading as McIntyre Pty Ltd, the plant will cater for 200 lambs or 45 cattle per day. The site also has a by-products plant. More importantly, it will provide 15 to 20 jobs.
- (McCormack article thanks to Ian Jones, The Argus, and local businessman Gus Moffatt for the call.)