HillView’s Man of the Land
9 September 2018
For HillView Merrimac Resident Claude the talk of drought and handing feeding stock is all too familiar. At 98 years of age the tough times of living on the land are etched into his memory. Claude was a successful Grazier at both Chinchilla and Glen Morgan, South Western Queensland. Both of these regions are in midst of the drought affected areas and are on track to have the driest August since 1995.
Like a number of our residents Claude spent time in the services. He spent several years in the Airforce as a Wireless Navigator, based in New Guinea. He returned to the land and in 1944 married his wife Pearl after being discharged with ongoing malaria. Claude managed a 20,000 acre property at Glen Morgan where he had sheep, cattle and farming. The name of this property was Coomoomie, Aboriginal for High and Good Water.
Claude won many prizes for Improved Pastures and stud Corriedale rams. He survived many droughts so knows all too well the difficulties our current farmers are experiencing. Thankfully Claude planned ahead by burying fodder in underground pits and storing many bales of hay, during the good years this lessened the impact of the hard times. It was part and parcel of his life to fight bush fires, muster and work with sheep and cattle from daylight to dark. He enjoyed holidays at the Gold Coast each year and also deep sea fishing off Swains Reef along with neighbouring graziers.
Claude’s daughter Laraine has many memories of helping Claude with sheep, cattle and farming work. They fought bush fires with wet bags and fire equipment. She still recalls seeing him racing into a blazing bush fire, water pump on his back, wondering if he was ever going to be seen again. The land has no mercy and one is totally dependent on the weather.
He moved to the Gold Coast in the early eighties to enjoy retirement. After his wife passed away, he moved into a unit in Broadbeach and invested the house money into a Management rights business with his daughter and his son in law. He was amazed at how much easier it was to make money from these businesses compared with running a grazing property. Claude has been a resident at Hillview Merrimac for the past 3 years where his room has a view over the Gold Coast Hinterland.