Widely respected in the Merino industry

Widely respected in the Merino industry


Sheep
Peter Harvey with Catriona Rowntree: Photo: Doug Walker

Peter Harvey with Catriona Rowntree: Photo: Doug Walker

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With the death of Peter Harvey, the wool industry and indeed the wider sheep industry has lost one of its most passionate supporters.

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With the death of Pete Harvey, the wool industry and indeed the wider sheep industry has lost one of its most passionate supporters.

Sheep were a way of life for Peter from the time he grew up on the family property near Trangie; but there were many twists and turns in his life before he did finally find his metier.

Upon leaving school, his first instinct was to join the Australian Air Force, but despite his enthusiasm and dedication, his training was interrupted by his father drawing him back to the farm at Trangie to help with the harvest.

Following that brief interruption to his preferred course. Peter started his pastoral career as a jackaroo on Terrick Terrick stud near Blackall in Queensland where he spend two years before moving south to Uardry at Hay in 1961.

They were two of the best know Merino studs in Australia, and it was on those properties Peter gained his solid understanding and appreciation of Merino sheep.

Working under such renowned Merino breeders as Ken Riley at Terrick Terrick and Rowand Jamieson at Uardry in his formative years certainly stood him in great stead throughout his career.

He was appointed overseer at Woodyarup, a stud in the development phase in WA but was once again recalled by his family to help with the property they had purchased near Armidale following the sale of the Trangie country.

Called up for National Service, Peter served in Vietnam before returning to Australia where his ability with animals was recognised and he was awarded a CSIRO Scholarship to study livestock production throughout England, Europe and the USA.

When the country near Esperance in WA was being developed, Peter accepted a position as manager of a 8,000ha property which was in reality a bare block.

In short time, Peter improved the country so it could carry 16,000 sheep and very successful Shorthorn stud.

He the moved to Albany, WA where he started a consulting business advising livestock producers on budgets, stock health and nutrition and that experience was reinforced when he went to Saudi Arabia in 1983.

During the six years Peter spent in the Middle East, he advised on the setting up of feedlots and provided agricultural advice to the Saudi government.

Upon returning to WA, he founded the Prime Merino Lamb alliance which now has over 300 members.

That initiative was followed by seven years at the Collinsville stud, Burra, SA where he was involved in the management under new owner Paddy Handbury. 

In recent times, Peter was better known for his association with Fabstock, an animal supplement company which is now in the hands of Doug Walker and his family.

Throughout the past few years, Peter was an inveterate presence at the leading sheep shows around Australia whether at Blackall, Wagin, Bendigo, Dubbo, Hay or Canberra and he could always be relied upon to reminisce on the past glory of the Merino sheep.

Seeing him walk around the pens with his walking frame was to admire a man who had great courage despite the fraility of his body.

Delivering the eulogy at Peter's memorial service, Stuart Hodgson said people talk about bravery and it was mostly in reference to sports persons performing incredible tasks. 

"I'll put it to you that Peter Harvey was an incredibly brave person, driving thousands of kilometers to attend functions, shows and ram sales, with the interest of his clients at heart.

"Peter hadn't enjoyed good health over the last few years and the physical strain and effort must have been immense."

The late Peter Harvey was an original thinker, someone for whom the saying 'thought out of the square' was not a glib cliche.

He was an astute judge of stock and was always marvelous company when with friends and sheep people.

The story Widely respected in the Merino industry first appeared on The Land.

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