Remembering David Forrest

Jon Condon, 04/04/2012


David Forrest, a prominent contributor to Australia’s early export beef trade development into Japan and Korea, passed away this week.

Mr Forrest owned and operated the well-known Remserv export business out of Brisbane’s Cannon Hill meat precinct. The business used a service kill at the State Government-owned Cannon Hill public abattoir, and operated its own export-licenced boning room nearby.

At its peak, Remserv turned over 500 bodies weekly, and specialised in high-quality mid and long grainfed marbled beef. He helped pioneer the grainfed trade into Japan after market liberalisation in 1990, when more direct trading with end-users started to emerge. He also undertook innovations including airfreight of chilled carcase beef into the market.

Remserv was also a prominent player in the early grainfed quarter-beef trade into Korea, under the Government-controlled tender system.

Mr Forrest was born in Longreach and graduated from University of Queensland in 1963 with First Class Honours and a University Medal in Veterinary Science.

A man of obvious intelligence, he had a reputation as a deep thinker and a tough negotiator, who was always striving to improve results by trying new things.

He had a great affinity for animals and the land, practising as a vet and running a grazing operation near Warwick from 1964, before spending several years with the University of New England, researching and lecturing in animal breeding and genetics, as well as operating a private consultancy and working on the Brucellosis and TB eradication campaign.

Mr Forrest spent two lengthy periods between 1971 and 1986 working with major processor, Geoff Tancred of Tancred Brothers, including running the company’s rapidly expanding feedlot operations, where his veterinary skills came into play. He also did some early work in live cattle exports.

He established the Remserv business in 1986, an early example of an integrated lotfeeding/processing/export supply chain, and also established the Rural Freighters trucking business. This included establishing feedlots at Murphy’s Creek, and on the Darling Downs.

Since his retirement in 1997, Mr Forrest followed his passion for breeding sheep on his property near Texas, on the Queensland/NSW border.

He is survived by his wife, Merrilie, and children Matthew, Anna, Susan, Michael and Sarah. Michael is well-known across the meat industry, working with Teys Australia in its US operations in Chicago.

  • A private family funeral will be held tomorrow, Wednesday April 4, followed by a memorial service on Wednesday April 11 from 2pm at Emmanuel College on the University of Queensland campus in Brisbane.


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