Published: 17/08/2012 11:00 - Updated: 17/08/2012 10:53

The kindly 'bull tamer' Down Under

David Clyne
David Clyne

THERE are times in a person’s life that you meet someone whom you feel that you were meant to meet. Someone who has a lasting effect on your life.

That was David Clyne for me – Davey, as he was known by those of us in Australia who knew him personally. Davey had so much respect in the stud cattle showing world in Australia that if you mention the name Davey, everyone knew who you were talking about.

Born at Stirkoke Mains, near Wick, he was 25 when he emigrated to Australia in 1951.

He was a gentle cattleman who always went about his business without complaint. He had a calming effect on the cattle he came in contact with. I once saw him move between two bulls that were sparring at the Melbourne Show in Australia and calm them. Most of the other cattlemen would not have done this, as it was a dangerous thing to do.

He appeared never to be in a hurry but he always got the job done. Even though we were his rivals in the cattle-judging ring, Davey was always willing to give good advice and to help me and the other cattlemen.

I first met him at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1965. My father had established the Woodleigh Beef Shorthorn stud in 1952 using Calrossie and Bapton bloodlines. After the judging, it was tradition that the winner of the champion bull award throw a party to celebrate and it was there that I first met Davey. I was playing my bagpipes and trying to impress a young lady called Lynn Ogilvie who was looking after Angus cattle. Davey knew her and I think that he thought she needed protecting. I don’t know what I was doing wrong. Every time I was to meet her Davey was there. She later became my wife. From then on Lynn and I would meet Davey each year at the show.

He then disappeared out of my life until the year that my father bought a bull called Tyagong Raeburn at the show.

The Tyagong stud was from Young in central New South Wales and was owned by George Freudenstein, a Liberal member of the New South Wales Parliament.

To my surprise, Davey was working with the cattle for the Tyagong stud. So for the next few years we would meet him again at the Sydney show and share a few drinks and swap stories and of course talk cattle.

When the Tyagong stud was sold, Davey moved to the Kelso stud at Shepparton in Victoria. From then on, we would meet Davey each year at both the Sydney Royal Easter and the Royal Melbourne agriculture shows. Kelso were exhibiting at both shows. It was always good to meet Davey at the shows because we were able to talk at great length about cattle and how to present them. Davey was a wealth of knowledge to a young cattleman.

When he left Kelso, I lost touch with him again for some time. Then one day I was having a hair cut in a barber’s shop which I had never used before in my hometown of Corowa and on the wall was a framed photo of a Kelso shorthorn bull that I knew.

Knowing that the barber had no connection with the cattle or Kelso, I asked where did the photo come from. To which I was told that it was owned by Davey Clyne and that he was now living in Corowa.

So I was able to resume our friendship again. From then on, we would meet quite regularly in one of the local hotels or just for a cup of coffee at one of the cafés. Davey had come to Corowa to help Frank Steer with his Shorthorn herd. Even though he was in his seventies, Davey was still looking after bulls and only gave up working with cattle when his health started to fail.

Davey was a regular attender at the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Corowa. His funeral service was conducted from St Andrew’s Church by the Reverend Thomas Wall and he was buried in the Corowa Lawn Cemetery.

Davey was a true friend and gentleman to me. There will never be another Davey Clyne.

Pre-deceased by brothers Dan and Henry, he is survived by his sister Thora Clemson, from Milnathort in Kinross-shire.

Neil Davis

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