WHEN industrial action stopped production at the Queerah Meatworks, Cairns, in July 1962, the some 100 graziers who stepped in and helped get the meatworks operational again were told explicitly to stay away from town.
The advice was given with disgruntled strikers, alcohol and proud graziers all in mind.
However, four graziers – Duncan McDougall, Rob Wearing, Charlie “Chook” Knuth and Henry Atkinson – recalled the advice being unashamedly disregarded.
Rob Wearing said it was almost immediately upon arrival that Torrens Creek grazier Roy Taylor ordered a rental car and headed to town.
Evening adventures became part of the graziers’ schedule after a long day boning and later killing cattle at the meatworks.
The evening adventure Rob remembered most was a night Bob Lethbridge and Chook Knuth organised with nurses at a shack on a beach north of Cairns.
One of Chook’s memories included a night out with Henry, who he had gone to school with and nicknamed Tic because of the constant ticking of his pocket watch.
“We went into Cairns one night and we happened to meet some young ladies. We got talking and they asked us where we worked. Henry said ‘I’m the head man out there’. You see, his job was cutting heads off the cattle,” Chook laughed.
But, the greatest shared memory of the four graziers was the story of Boyd Dunn – the appointed handyman who had a steam ticket, was a qualified mechanic and, unbeknownst to the men, was also an ex-heavyweight champion from NSW.
To hear more of their memories and the story of Boyd Dunn, be sure to get yourself a copy of the October 24 edition of the North Queensland Register.