Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Farming, Family His Life

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Farming, Family His Life

Article excerpt

Alexander John 'Alec' McFarlaneNovember 22, 1923 - December 20, 2015

THE death of farmer and grazier Alec McFarlane in December last year was keenly felt by family, friends and the Septimus farming community he was a key part of for more than 60 years.

Alexander John McFarlane was born on November 22, 1923, the eldest son of Peter and Katie McFarlane.

He was raised on a farm at Oakenden that had been settled in 1908 by Alec's grandfather, also named Peter, and taken over by Alec's father after he returned from the First World War.

Alec first met Irene Matsen when they were students at Oakenden State School together.

After primary school he went on to the Mackay Intermediate School and later to Gatton Agricultural College. On returning to the farm he carted 1000 tonnes of cane with horses as the full crop of 1937.

Alec's mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and Irene came to work for her.

Because his younger brother, Peter, could now help on the farm, Alec volunteered for the Royal Australian Airforce during the Second World War. He trained in Sydney and served on the home front and was a leading aircraft service man on Bougainville Island, but during the war he never fired a shot.

Irene and Alec were married on May 4, 1946.

They had two children, Valerie and Maxwell, when they moved to Septimus in November 1950. Alec wanted a farm that was flat, with no rocks and permanent water.

He, John Luscombe and George Menkens pioneered irrigation at Septimus and he was grateful for good neighbours Bert Bradshaw, Fred Collins, Stan Kane, Gordon Waterson and Mr Luscombe, all of whom shared machinery and farm work.

As the Ferguson tractor took over and phased out horses, more land was available to be cleared and planted.

Alec's farming story followed the progression from horses to harvesters and billet planters, all of which he enthusiastically embraced. …

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