ANOTHER link with the halcyon Newmarket livestock saleyard days in Victoria has gone with the passing this week of veteran stock agent Frank Evans, aged 88.
Born at Echuca in 1931, Frank Evans began his agency career in 1949 with John McNamara & Co at Echuca and then at Newmarket before joining Jack Coghlan and Jimmy Matthews at Fisken Read in 1951 where he stayed until his retirement in 1982.
An energetic character who was blessed with a strong work ethic and fantastic memory of clients’ livestock, Mr Evans grew his business reputation as a highly regarded agency figure travelling widely across central and northern Victoria and NSW specialising in large-scale livestock accounts.
According in his own hand-written memoirs, he recalled selling his first beast at Newmarket in 1951 for the English family of Kerang, while on his best day on the selling rail he auctioned 1660 cattle in a Newmarket store yarding of 2000 supplemented by 18 agency firms.
He also recounted the strong business relationship he held with prominent parliamentarian and pastoralist, Sir Rupert Clarke, who owned the prestige north of Melbourne property of Bolinda Vale and had an interest in King Ranch Australia.
It was through this relationship with Sir Rupert that Mr Evans conducted the sale in 1979 of the 1200sq km Queensland property, Isis Downs near Ilfracombe, when it was sold it to another of his good clients, Don Armstrong, who has significant holdings in the Riverina.
The Isis Downs sale, which conducted on a walk-in/walk-oy basis also involved the sale of 260,000 sheep, 1050 cattle and 150 horses all completed at a value of $2 million.
Such was the extent of the territory that Mr Evans traveled, in 1977, he featured in several Ford Motor Company television commercials that promoted the company’s “Fairlane” range of motor vehicles as reliable workhorses, of which Mr Evans owned many over the years.
The task he recounted was also financially lucrative and made him a recognizable identity around the country.
Although frequently away from home three to four days a week, Mr Evans was able to establish his own farming enterprise in the Echuca-Moama districts that grew from an initial purchase in 1960 of 300 acres to a present-day operation of 2400 hectares: an outcome he had the utmost pride in.
Mr Evans is survived by his wife of 64 years Marion, their two sons Chris and Michael, their wives Janice and Jeanette and grandchildren, Oliver, Anna and Nick.
A funeral service celebrating the life of Frank Evans will be held 2pm, Tuesday, December 17 at the Christ Church Anglican, Echuca.
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