Alexander Charles Hyden (29/03/40 - 13/09/13)
Alexander “Alec” Hyden was born in 1940 in Proserpine as the second of five children of a cane farming family.
He rode a pony to school everyday until he left at age 14 and began working on neighbouring properties as well as helping out at home.
His mother drew Lancewood – part of the Dotswood bullock paddock – in 1961. Alec moved there and worked for Mrs Von Wald at Gainsford Station, which was adjacent to Lancewood. When he wasn’t working for Mrs Von Wald, he was building yards and fencing on Lancewood.
Alec’s first vehicle was an ancient Landrover, but he was short of cash at the time and asked a local fuel agent if he’d sell him a drum of a fuel, which Alec would pay for when he sold his first herd of cattle off Lancewood.
Sometime later, after making the first sale, he walked from the saleyards into town in Charters Towers and paid the gentleman for the fuel.
Mrs Von Wald thought he should call the property Y&K – short for young and keen. At that stage, the only way of reaching the property was to drive to Gainsford and swim or boat across the Burdekin River to Lancewood.
All supplies – building materials etc had to be taken across in this manner.
After being married in 1973 to Christine, a school of the air teacher from the Gold Coast, the family of three boys all arrived while they were at Lancewood. There were no family exceptions – they all had to do the rough travelling by boat or by swimming.
Lancewood was involved in the national tuberculosis scheme from the mid-1970s and we had many long days dealing with the herd of Brahmans. Mustering was often assisted by several of the men who used to work at the meatworks at Pentland.
Subsequently, the family moved to Virginia Park and after a few years, because of shortage of grass, purchased Eight Mile at Dalbeg the Christmas of 1979.
Alec was an exceptional judge and breeder of Brahman cattle and over the years won many prizes at shows between Rockhampton, Emerald and Townsville.
He was a member of the Australian Brahman Breeders Council for 10 years and was to be a judge at the International Brahman Congress, Rockhampton, but illness prevented him from doing that.
Alec did one of the first forays into the United States with embryo transplants on the agenda. Christine later joined him on an additional trip to study the latest developments in Brahman breeding and the potential of cross genetics.
He was also Chief Steward of the Cattle section at the Townsville Show for many years.
Whenever the TB testing was in process, at any of the stations, the cattle were always presented on time and Alec worked with plenty of labour to ensure everything went smoothly.
At the end of the day, Christine always provided sumptuous meals and Alec, a few liquid refreshments.
They had sales of Brahman bulls at the Casino in the early 1990s. The cattle were so quiet and well prepared they were just led around the lawn area without any barriers whilst the potential buyers sat on bales of hay.
Alec was indeed a very competent and successful Brahman breeder, but unfortunately in latter years, his health was failing and he was not able to be as actively involved with the cattle as he would have wished.
We now farewell a very good cattleman, husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Comments by Colin Coleman, Coleman’s Stockfeed
I always said I blamed Alec Hyden for getting us into the food business as he was the man who got us into manufacturing stockfeed.
We used to cart stockfeed to Gainsford and manhandle it onto a boat to get across the river for him at Lancewood.
They battled there, but he did a good job. He just went up from there because he worked hard. And, Chris is a good woman too, a real good woman.
Alec used to walk the cattle across the river to Gainsford. I had a truck and one year carted all his cattle to the show. I used to help him with the showing of his stud cattle as well.
I respected him very highly.