News

Vale Dick Vincent

Jon Condon, 09/05/2022

WESTERN Australian pastoral and seedstock industry legend Dick Vincent passed away peacefully at his home south of Perth last week, aged 97 years.

As well as being a successful commercial cattle producer in the state’s north, he maintained a lifelong love of breeding seedstock animals, both beef cattle and Thoroughbred horses.

Following secondary schooling at Hale School in Perth, Dick went to the “The Grange”, on the Irwin River, then owned by his grandmother, Francis Mitchell. Soon after, he enlisted in the RAAF in World War II being discharged in 1945 when he returned to The Grange.

With just 200 pounds in his pocket he took up horse breaking and share farming. In 1950, a war service loan allowed him to acquire ‘Tanga’, a 700ha farm at Toodyay.

Over the next half century he was involved in a number of cattle properties including “Bonniefield” Hereford and Brahman Studs, commercial cattle and grain production (13,000ac) at Dongara; “Hamelin Pool” Station, Sharks Bay, running Brahman and Hereford (450,000ac); “Matilda Downs”, Mt. Barker, Hereford (5000ac); “Minilya Station”, Carnarvon, Hereford and 30,000 Merinos (670,000ac); “Hamelin Park”, Williams, Simmental Stud and “De Grey Station” Port Hedland, which carried 20,000 Shorthorn and later Droughtmaster cattle (one million ac).

In 2017 Dick received an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) medal in the Queen’s Birthday Awards for distinguished service to the beef cattle industry, including internationally and to Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing industry.

He played major roles in the introduction of Simmental cattle to Australia, the establishment of the National Beef Recording System in Australia, the introduction of Computer Aided Marketing of Livestock (CLASS) to Western Australia and the development of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association.

Dick was a very early breeder of Simmental cattle in Australia and a leader in the establishment of the breed. He established the Hamelin Park stud near Williams, WA, which was a leading Simmental stud herd for more than a decade until it was dispersed to breeders in every mainland state in 1991.

Dick was on the Federal Council of the Australian Simmental Breeders Association with six terms as President. He was also on the World Simmental Federation for 12 years serving as president for three years.

He was a member of the National Beef Recording Scheme (NBRS) Advisory Committee for a number of years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. NBRS was in its formative years and benefited greatly from his practical advice on organisational structure and strategies.

Today the NBRS and its BreedPlan genetic evaluation tool are accepted as world leaders. The technology is now used in 15 countries around the globe.

Predecessor to AuctionsPlus

In the early 1980s the Agricultural Business Research Institute was involved in trialling the computer-aided sale by description of livestock. This was a ground-breaking project – essentially offering online livestock sales platform more than four decades ago.

Dick saw the trial system in operation and immediately took steps to have it introduced in Western Australia under the name, CLASS. This gave WA livestock producers an opportunity to use this advanced technology for three years before the national scheme called CALM (now Auctions Plus) was introduced.

Given the huge distances involved in the supply chain of livestock products in WA, this technology has provided the opportunity to achieve economies in transport of livestock to abattoirs, better animal welfare outcomes and higher meat quality. It was only through Dick’s sheer enthusiasm about new technology, his reputation for picking winning projects and his detailed knowledge of the agri-business environment in WA that this opportunity materialised.

Establishment of ARCBA

The Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association (ARCBA) was formed in the early 1970s to provide a national voice of breed associations in areas of common interest such as Government policy initiatives, disease control, showing standards and so on.

The concept was good, but the execution poor. In 1979 Dick was elected as President and found that ARCBA had just 12 breeds as members, no money, no well-articulated program of activities and used the offices of one of its members as its headquarters to save money.

In the first two years of his term as President he increased membership to 35 breeds (essentially all those in the industry representing about 13,000 registered breeders), increased membership fees so that the Association had adequate financial resources for an ambitious program, transferred the headquarters to the University of New England, appointed a breed-independent Executive Director  and had the Constitution changed so that future Presidents would be distinguished breed-independent appointees.

Many of these changes were considered radical at the time but in hindsight they proved to have been very wise and added materially to industry organisation and wealth nationally.

Dick also found time to judge stud cattle, judging all major beef breeds at Royal Shows and early Beef Expos in Rockhampton, as well as judging overseas in New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He also spent 20 years on the committee of WA’s United Beef Breeders, including three terms as president.

He was renowned as a cartoonist and raconteur. His great sense of humour and lateral thinking were the salvation of many an industry meeting which could otherwise have bogged down on trivial issues

In later years Dick continued to breed Thoroughbreds on De Grey Park at Capel, from which he produced Group One winners, and Droughtmaster cattle on another property in WA’s South West.

Despite being in his 90s, Dick continued to derive great satisfaction from both applying his experience and intellectual skills to the elusive goal of breeding the “perfect” animal and the arduous physical management of his animals through to sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Chris Wyhoon, 18/05/2022

    It’s been two weeks now since one of the most admired cattlemen, in the world passed, and I still can’t really reconcile the loss even though we should have thought it inevitable, part of us all figured he’d be here forever – he was lots of things to lots of people – dealmaker, master cattle breeder, pioneer, icon, visionary, entrepreneur, storyteller, adventurer, industry leader, mover and shaker, successful businessman, sportsman, lots of things, and may a few say, a cheeky character who ‘loved to win’ sometimes, but most importantly, he was a dear friend to me like many others- he was always so interested in what everyone was doing. What i was thinking, doing, and my opinion on lots of topics. Incredibly humbling from such as inspiring legend of a man who had acheived so much with such foresight, to take the time to ask and listen. His mind never stopped. His ability to remember 90 years of deals, conversations, funny, tragic and special moments, bloodlines, cattle, horses, people, events, to the finest of detail was incredible. His ability to match all modern thinking, and yet reflect on the wisdom of such experience, was unreal. I only wished I had of recorded much of it when we caught up, which was in hindsight, never enough. He was something special. I’ve met some special people in my life across the world- whether that be through cattle, horses, agripolitics, wherever, but he was like no other, with the exception of Jan. What a pair! Dick we will miss you terribly and I will be forever proud to take the title, like many others, of being called by you as a friend. I tip my hat to you Dick, you incredible man. Such a loss. Such a legend. What a life lived!

    A fine tribute, Chris. Thanks for your contribution. Dick clearly left a big impression on a lot of industry stakeholders – we wish we had spent more time with him. Editor

  2. Barry and Bella Gratte, 17/05/2022

    Sad to hear the passing of Dick Vincent, Dick loved to get the upper hand on a deal.
    We will miss the trips to Dick and Jans at Capel to purchase bulls and the phone calls.
    Condolences to Jan, Peter and families

  3. Peter Massmann, South Africa, 12/05/2022

    Thanks Georg Cassar for informing me. Dick – cattle entrepreneur par excellence! I showed him Simmental in Germany early 1970’s, when he pioneered the Sim Association in Australia, and immediately realized this man knows cattle. Later we sat together on the Board of the World Federation and enjoyed many enjoyable evenings in foreign lands together. Never forget: Board meeting: Simmental dairy- and beef-country representatives get hot under the collar over breeding goals – Dick walks to the whiteboard, quickly sketches caricatures of the two guys together with a cow and says “this is a dual purpose breed that accommodates both of you, so stop arguing”.
    This is how Dick described his ideal Simmental type nearly 50 years ago after a trip to many of our pioneer breeders: ”Africa meant to me the fulfilment of seeing what to me is the ideal type of Simmental for Australia. These are practical cattle refined to perform in harsh conditions, to calve in natural conditions and to walk for distances accepted in the pastoral environment. After years of culling, they bred long stretchy cattle, well off the ground with good heads, smooth shoulders, straight top-lines, with the breed-accepted sloping rump. They pay great attention to correct legs, hide and hair. They have bred the skin with those quality characteristic “pleats” around the neck and ribs that go with good breeding. The hair is short and soft, almost like silk to handle, with no harsh qualities.”
    My condolences to family and friends. RIP Richard.

  4. Sharon Jordan., 11/05/2022

    Sorry to hear of the passing of Dick Vincent. He loved getting to the Royal shows, in particular Royal Sydney Show where he bought Dunmore Hawkeye II. The bull changed the dynamics of breeding, and continues to have influence today. The females of Hamelin Park were elite moderate and strong cattle. I saw many at Dr Peter Trevans Hazel Dell Stud. Thoughts with the family. A remarkable life of serving the country and livestock breeding.
    Sharon.

  5. Dean Ryan, 11/05/2022

    Ride High Dick, I am so pleased I got to speak to you the night before you passed. Thanks for your advice and wisdom.

  6. Ben Fletcher, 10/05/2022

    A Great Man, big influence on me in my early days. Will never forget Dick! One of the greatest Stockmen ever. An absolute privilege to have known him.

  7. John Fry, 10/05/2022

    Always an interesting and entertaining conversationalist Dick, particularly leaning on a fence casting his critical eye over livestock.

  8. Mike Introvigne, 09/05/2022

    I count myself as very fortunate to have known such a legend.

  9. Don Nicol, 09/05/2022

    RIP Great man!

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