William Arthur Walmsley livestock and property agent, Primaries and later Primac Elders passed away on Sunday, June 9, quietly and peacefully surrounded by those he dedicated his whole life to, his family. His second family was his "Primaries" family, his work colleagues and importantly, his country clients. Arthur was described by those he worked for and with as honest, courteous, respectful and knowledgeable, just as importantly his opposition agents regarded him in the same vein.
Arthur was born at St George in 1933 on his family property, Maronga. Schooling was at Toowoomba first at Prep and later at Toowoomba Grammar. On completion of secondary college, Arthur returned to the family property and after a year signed up for National Service in 1952.
An opportunity presented itself to join the stock and station agency business Queensland Primary Producers, Primaries in St George. After a period he transferred to Longreach branch, which was the hub centre for the Primaries business in the west. Arthur worked under the legendary Gordon Reid, who was a great mentor for a significant number of successful agents throughout Queensland and Gordon knew what was happening not only in his Longreach branch, but across the state.
One thing that Gordon didn't know was that his recent appointment had a keen interest in one of his office staff, local lass Patricia Page. They married in June 1959 and had over 60 wonderful years together producing four children Jenny, Allison, Sue, David and their extended families. From 1960 to 1966 Arthur managed the Aramac branch and carrying on from a successful period at Aramac, was appointed to the plum position of Roma branch manager.
To manage any agency business in Roma was, and still is, a significant appointment. Arthur managed Roma for 14 years. During that period there was continuing development of the Roma saleyards, as development still continues to this day. In the early days different companies had their own little set of yards on the site as it stands today and buyers would move from one set of yards to the other as the day progressed in a decided order of sale.
During the tough years in agency and agriculture, 1974-75, Primaries requested Arthur take long service leave. I have been told during those years you had to get permission to leave town to visit clients and Brisbane office had to approve the purchase of new tyres! Arthur didn't stay idle; he secured a job at a basalt quarry near Mitchell for 10 weeks, which was owned by close friends Alan and Joyce Miller.
Arthur took an active participation in the Roma community, joining Rotary and of course involvement in one of his great pastimes, Thoroughbred racing. He served on the Roma Turf Club and the Roma Picnics committee, raced a number of horses successfully with John Chandler, Glentullock Injune.
In 1980 Arthur was transferred to Primac Brisbane head office, first as finance manager and later as Queensland property manager and trust me the competition would not have stopped. Industry property heavyweights at the time, being Rod Douglas, Rom Armstrong, Lex Heinemann and Dick Allpass, ensured that he would earn his keep in Brisbane. Still Arthur managed to put a number of significant deals together in Western Queensland, flying under the radar.
Arthur retired in 1998 and continued to get to both Doomben and Eagle Farm races most Saturdays with Patricia and was a season ticket holder with the Brisbane Broncos. He did suggest early on to Patricia one day that they could return to Aramac and do a little property and livestock marketing. Patricia's comments could not have been edited effectively enough for me to put to print.
Arthur did not have the best of health during retirement, although most would not have known, as he kept those type of issues to himself. He spent a number of years as full time carer for the love of his life, Patricia, who was unable to attend the service.
He did manage to "do lunch" with his former Primaries work mates and opposition agents when time permitted.
On Arthur's passing you hear him referred to as being honest and respectful, a man of high principles and caring. What is unique to Arthur, was that those words were used to refer to him during his working life by clients, work colleagues and opposition agents. That is the standard he set for himself and the many agents today that he mentored through his loyal and dedicated career at Primaries.