Neville Farrawell of Bonnie Brae Herefords Tamworth has died, aged 86 years and leaving a legacy of show ring nous, the love of a good time and a genuine interest in passing on his knowledge to young people.
His departure from the 'show ring of life' was the topic of many a conversation at bulls sales around the state's North West.
Chris Knox, DSK Angus, Coonabarabran said: "I've known him for years and years. He was a top bloke Neville, always around and always helpful.
"He had a way with cattle, and he taught the basics to all who knew him, and they would learn a fair bit off him.
"Neville was around before all the glues, and the lotions and potions came into the show ring preparation business," Mr Knox said.
"You had to have the health and nutrition to get the hair (on the show animal) right, and Neville knew how to do that.
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"I know Neville broke in some cattle for the show rings that other people had given up on. He had a knack on how to teach 'em what to do. He used to get it done," he said.
In stud cattle circles, Nev Farrawell accumulated a long list of noteworthy achievements, exhibiting stud cattle at the Royal Queensland Show (the Ekka) for 64 years.
His career in the cattle pavilions began after agreeing to work for a Hereford breeder at North Star, which resulted in a partnership of 27 years on the same property. Mr Farrawell credited this as the impetus for "getting his foot in the door" with the breed.
At 16 years of age, he took three bulls to the Ekka with his North Star employers, bringing home second and fifth place ribbons for his efforts.
He left the North Star district after 27 years and moved to Somerton near Tamworth, and bought a place of his own to start Bonnie Brae. His ability saw a business grow, feeding and showing other people's cattle.
"I mainly brought Santas to the Ekka early on, and if you look back, I think I was about the only one to knock Yarrawonga off, so that was something," he said in an interview with the Queensland Country Life (QCL).
In reflecting on his early years at the Ekka, Mr Farrawell said the cattle section was much smaller than the present, with Herefords and Polled Herefords the dominant breeds.
"There were a few Angus and Devons, and Brahmans were considered the breed from outer space in those days," he said.
Mr Farrawell sold all his Hereford breeders bar three during a battle with cancer. They were moved to the property of his close friend Chris Law, who operates the Hunday Hereford Stud at Quirindi, where they run with Mr Law's cattle.
He returned to the Ekka in 2017 with the progeny of those remaining cows, and the trip capped off a significant win for his team.
Bonnie Brae Lioness 2 won her class and was sashed senior and later the 2017 grand champion Hereford female. Lioness 2 had been shown as a calf at foot two years ago and returned last year while still a heifer. Stablemate Bonnie Brae Ruby Red also won her class.
He said the 2017 Ekka was one of his proudest moments.
"In the 65 years I have been competing, it is my second grand champion female ribbon, but it is the sweetest yet - it was a clean sweep with two head," he said.
In 2003 Mr Farawell was recognised for 50 years' attendance at the Ekka. Apart from the recognition for his long attendance, it was also one of his finest hours, showing the steer that won the steer carcase grand championship.
He bought the purebred Charolais steer as a weaner calf at Tamworth saleyards.
The Land's stablemate publication, QCL, reported, "He would occasionally prowl around looking for a likely show prospect".
During the led section of the two-stage hoof and hook competition, Mr Farrowell and his steer were placed in "the back row" of the medium class.
Three days later and the tune was a different one. The Farrawell steer won by a large margin. In the QCL report, Mr Farrawell stated the Brisbane competition remained Australia's greatest led steer competition.
"That applies not only to the number of steers involved, but Brisbane also allows crossbred steers, whereas the equivalent Sydney competition is limited to purebreds," Mr Farrawell said.
The 440-kilogram liveweight steer revealed, once its hide was removed, a 251kg carcase that generated maximum points for fat depth and distribution, a meat yield of 62 per cent and maximum points for an eye muscle area of 94 square centimetres. It scored a total of 92/100 carcase points.
Rob Maxwell, from Delelvin Simmental stud at Willow Tree, learned his ring craft with MR Farrawell's guidance.
They first met at a Bangalow show in 1998, where Mr Maxwell showed a bull he'd bought called Golden Glen Ivan.
"Nev was judging and said to me: 'Is that Golden Glen Ivan?'.
"He then told me how the bull was part of Mr Farrawell's custom showing team at the last Easter show at the famous Randwick grounds.
"While unloading the bull from his truck, it had taken fright and spun around and knocked Nev to the ground, shaking him up quite badly," Mr Maxwell said.
"Anyway, he moved the bull and me to the top of the class, and we won the championship at the Bangalow show.
Chris Law, Hunday Pastoral Company, Quirindi, was a long-time friend and show ring colleague of Mr Farrawell.
"Nev was born and raised at Telegraph Point and moved to North Star when he was 14 to help his brother who ran the bakery there," Mr Law said.
"He soon got weekend work with the Waddell Brothers on Alma Downs and stayed with them until they dispersed their stud," Mr Law said.
Mr Farrawell met, wooed and married Nola, who also worked in North Star.
When the Waddell brothers dispersed their stud, the Farrawells moved to Somerton, where they ran their cattle and set up a business custom preparing cattle for the show ring.
"Nev was the first to take a double deck load of cattle to the big shows like Sydney and Brisbane," Mr Law said.
"One year, Nev had a team of 54 cattle at Sydney and 53 at the Ekka. One year at Sydney, we had 14 cattle in four different rings, and we never missed a class.
"Nev was a non-drinker, and he was a thoughtful person. "He'd never criticise you; he'd just quietly say, 'do you think if you did this?"
Mr Farrawell and Nola did not have any children, but they had an uncanny connection with young people, Mr Law said.
"Nev, Nola and I would run cattle handling classes at McCarthy for 25 to 30 young people.
"I reckon Nev has touched thousands of people with his career in the show ring," Mr Law said.
Mr Law will deliver the eulogy at Mr Farrawell's funeral at 2pm, Wednesday 20 July, at the Tamworth cemetery on Showgrounds Road.
What some said in tribute to Mr Farrawell on Facebook
Herefords Northern NSW: "A Hereford stalwart, Neville will be missed around the shows. RIP Neville".
Stephen Peake, Bowen Angus and Herefords, Barraba: "A legend".
Erica Halliday Ben Nevis Angus, Walcha: "An absolute legend. Things just won't be the same without him".
Steve Crowley, Tycolah stud, Barraba: "Great man. Looked after me at many a show".
Scotty Hann, Truro Whiteface, Bellata: "A wonderful man who was so respected by all who knew him, he was really sad to hear the news of Neville's passing; sincere condolences to the family."
Peter Grieve, Talooby Angus, Rylstone: "A wonderful stockman and mentor to all. Condolences to Neville's family."
Bruce Donald Mironui Station Ngakouka Herefords, Waitahora, New Zealand: "Big Nev. Thank you for your friendly introduction to the show scene of Aussie for this shy innocent kiwi. Your approach to the whole industry and the inclusiveness of the youth was unforgettable. I certainly left it and Aussie with a few notches in my belt. Thank you, Nev."
Nonette Davis, Elders Glen Innes: "I am so sorry to hear about Neville. A beautiful gentleman I will miss (him) at the Glen Innes bull sale, and it won't be the same."
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