Tributes flow for great beef industry man

Jon Condon, 19/10/2014

BEEF Central’s article on Friday marking the passing of former Borthwicks and Stanbroke Pastoral Co head, Jim Balderstone, has sparked a strong response from readers, wishing to add their own tributes to a great beef industry man.

Jim Balderstone, who left an indelible stamp on the northern Australian meat and livestock industry over five decades, died in Melbourne last week, after prolonged ill health. He was 93.

Comments attached to our original website article, and on twitter have been posted by stakeholders from across Australia, many of whom had personal experiences with Jim, later Sir James, either through his early Borthwicks processing days as managing director,  or later through Stanbroke.

Click here to access Beef Central’s original article saluting Sir James, including tributes from readers that have been added since Friday.

An abbreviated snapshot of some of the comments are published below:

Reader Bill Stapleton from Ararat Meat Exports wrote: “Jim’s influence on Borthwicks integrity in hard times, shown by their cattle and sheep buyers, still holds up today with the ones still fit enough to do the miles and the smiles to talk to farmers at markets or at the yards at their home block. We have most of our senior management in their 40+ yr in the industry, and it is good to see this old-school experience surviving in the days of Facebook etc.”

Reader Trevor Johnston wrote: “Your excellent article on Sir James Balderstone excluded his sterling service to Australian agricultural policy via the Balderstone report published in 1982. This was the catalyst for the shift in agricultural policy towards a preference for market-driven measures to achieve policy objectives.”

Reader Rod Moore wrote: “I also had the privilage of being one of JSB’s ‘boys’ on the Brooklyn buying team, during the mid-1960s. Andy Brown, Vern Benjamin, Col Steadman, Dave Ronalds and some 18 others purchased thousands of mutton, chopper cows and bullocks for Brooklyn. JSB often arrived at Newmarket saleyards – and always asked, “How’s the job – how many have you got – how much landed?” JSB was a ‘greasy-thumb’ person of the Oz Meat industry and had the ability to pass on this ability to the younger generation. He shall always be remembered for the knowledge he had and his ability to pass it on.”

A reader who asked to remain anonymous wrote: “Great yarn on JSB. He was a household name in my family being my late father’s boss, and regularly stayed with us in Longreach for weeks at a time while travelling through the Channel Country with Dad, buying cattle for Borthwicks. He had great compassion and generosity towards all the employees’ spouses and their families, and my mother was regularly treated with gifts in appreciation of her hospitality after such visits, such as automatic washing machines and portable air-conditioners. Absolutely unheard-of in the late 1950s in Longreach, as it was still the days of the ringer washer and the fan with the wet towel blowing.”

Reader Ian McIvor wrote: “Just a line to say how much I appreciated your fine article on Sir James Balderstone. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at a function at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne back in the early nineties when we were honouring the visit to Australia of the then Chairman of CITIC. I was Chairman of the Australia/China Business Council at that time. Sir James was certainly a man of great stature and influence in the Australian Beef Industry and Stanbroke Pastoral Co was a great credit to him.”

Click here to read some twitter comments.

  • Sir James Balderstone’s funeral will be held next Friday, October 24, at 1.30pm, at St Mark’s Church, Camberwell, Melbourne, Vic.
  • A summary of reader comments will be forwarded to the Balderstone family early next week.


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  1. Edward Wood, 20/10/2014

    In the late 70’s as a `16 year old I was ushered into Mr Balderstone’s Melbourne office on the top level of what I think was AMP Tower. A short but formal interview took place. It would be 9 months later during his tour of inspection of Stanbroke’s “Consuelo” that I stepped off my horse to shake hands with the Boss. Before I could, he greeted me by name. It was very humbling to be near this man, whom in later years I gained a deeper appreciation for his Statesman-like leadership.

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