Red Poll stalwart leaves lasting legacy

Red Poll breeder John Malone leaves lasting legacy

Beef
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SA has lost a devoted cattle producer, agricultural show leader, advocate and forward-thinking community volunteer, with the passing of John Malone, Bundaleer.

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THE state's rural sector has lost a devoted cattle producer, agricultural show leader, advocate and forward-thinking community volunteer, with the passing of John Malone, Bundaleer, on March 31.

John Francis Malone was born in Jamestown on AUgust 28, 1940, the third child of Kit and Tom Malone.

He grew up on the family farm at Bundaleer, just south of Jamestown, with his sisters Maureen, Trish, Theresa, Mary, Ann and Gerardine, and brother Vincent.

John completed his primary education at Bundaleer before heading to Sacred Heart College for two years of secondary schooling as a boarder.

John returned to the farm at 15, working alongside his father, and also enjoying social life in his local community, playing football and tennis and attending Rural Youth gatherings.

In 1962 he was selected for an interstate trip with Rural Youth where a friendship blossomed with Veronica Chigwidden, Clare.

They were married in Clare in 1964 and lived at Bundaleer, where they raised two children, Mary-Jane and Christopher.

While the Malones had traditionally been sheep and grain producers, John and his brother Vin started breeding Red Poll cattle in 1966, using Woodleigh and Oakwood genetics.

John's unwavering support for Red Poll cattle, his knowledge and positive outlook earned him widespread respect as he took on key breed and industry roles.

They met with immediate success as breeders and exhibitors, achieving grand champion female at their first Royal Adelaide Show in 1968 with their junior female exhibit.

In 1971, John and Veronica registered Maleer Red Poll Stud with their half of the foundation herd (Vin had bought Woodleigh, adding his half of the herd to that stud).

As a breeder and exhibitor, John achieved great success across four decades with an abundance of ribbons at the Royal Adelaide Show, Sydney Royal Easter Show and Wodonga Show and Sale in Vic, plus countless country shows.

But for John, these successes were far outweighed by friendships he made in and out of the cattle ring, such was his love of life and people.

John also became a sought-after cattle judge, this role taking him to royal and country shows across Australia and to New Zealand.

He became an enthusiastic contributor to the Royal Adelaide Show as a beef cattle steward, and supporter of the led steer program, beef cattle junior judging and SA Junior Heifer Expo, acknowledged with a Long Serving Volunteer Award in 2010.

John's volunteer efforts for the Jamestown Show were extraordinary and were acknowledged with life membership in 1997.

Following in his father's tradition, John was initially involved as a volunteer in the sheep section at the Jamestown Show in the 1960s.

In 1971, he became steward of the cattle section, and helped grow the cattle exhibits at the Jamestown to an impressive standard.

John also took on key leadership positions for the Jamestown Show Society, being president for three terms, vice president for six terms and patron from 2003 to 2008.

John remained actively involved on the cattle committee, officiating as emcee at the 2018 Jamestown Show.

Regionally, he served as president of the Northern Agricultural Shows Association from 1984 to 86.

He was chairman of the Agricultural Societies Council from 1993 to 1996 and served on the executive of this council for more than 10 years.

John's unwavering support for Red Poll cattle, his knowledge and positive outlook earned him widespread respect as he took on key breed and industry roles.

This included more than 45 years on the South Australian Red Poll Society committee, and 20 years as delegate to the federal council of Red Poll Cattle Society.

During this time, John served three terms as federal president of the Red Poll Society and five years as state president.

The Malones achieved certification as organic and biodynamic farmers in 1991 and successfully established markets for their organic beef and grains.

John and Veronica thoroughly enjoyed international trips with the Red Poll Society North America/Canada and to South America and were regular hosts of international visitors at Bundaleer.

Last month, Australian Red Poll Cattle Breeders Incorporated awarded life membership to John for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

He also had extensive involvement in farm industry organisations, serving at state level in the South Australian Farmers' Federation, and its predecessor, United Farmers and Graziers.

He was a member of Livestock Executive, SA Meat and Hygiene Council, Cattle Advisory Board and SA Beef Research Council.

John was also a member of the body that set up the Jamestown Truck Wash Facility, near the Jamestown saleyards, and was part of a regional lobby group that successfully retained Jamestown Hospital's acute services in the 1980s.

John was also involved in the organics industry, after he and his son Chris gradually reduced chemical use on their Bundaleer property during the 1980s.

The Malones achieved certification as organic and biodynamic farmers in 1991 and successfully established markets for their organic beef and grains.

Sport was an important part of John's life. He played football for the Jamestown Football Club and enjoyed golf and table tennis.

He whistled his way through many games of tennis at Bundaleer and in more recent years played bowls for Caltowie.

John was involved with the Bundaleer Sport and Recreation Association from its formation as the Bundaleer Progress Association in 1962.

John helped with the volunteer cropping program that funded the establishment of tennis courts, a cricket oval and the Bundaleer Hall adjacent to the Bundaleer Picnic Ground.

In the past 15 years, John and Veronica have been the contact for hundreds of visitors who have camped at the grounds and hired the facilities at Bundaleer.

He was especially gifted at making people new to the area feel welcome, whether it be campers at Bundaleer, or visitors to the Jamestown Development Association Visitor Resource Centre, which he frequently manned.

For John, the Bundaleer Festival was a way to showcase and share the beauty and special nature of the place he loved so much.

John was also actively involved in the St James Catholic Church and was a supporter of greater interaction between the churches, as a member of the interdenominational group.

John loved classical music and was extremely proud of his daughter Mary-Jane's great talent for singing and was a regular at her gigs.

John was a major contributor to all seven music and art festivals held in the Bundaleer Forest between 1999 and 2013.

He was an enthusiastic member of the management committee for each of the Bundaleer Festivals, taking on role of chair for the 2011 event.

John's extensive knowledge of Bundaleer Forest helped guide suitable venues for artistic performances along the walks and his practicality came to the fore in his role of logistics and infrastructure for the events.

For John, the Bundaleer Festival was a way to showcase and share the beauty and special nature of the place he loved so much.

He embraced the diversity of creative artistic events, relished the opportunity to meet artists such as Teddy Tahu Rhodes, and the hard work that had to go in to staging the festivals was of great enjoyment to him.

The final Bundaleer Festival was held just months after the devastating Bundaleer Forest fire.

Rumours of plans to divest Bundaleer Forest emerged soon after the fire, and John was a key part of the community-led campaign to replant the forest, save the local timber industry and ensure Australia's first plantation forest remained accessible by locals and visitors.

He adored his community, his cattle, all things Bundaleer, and most of all, his family.

John was very proud to be part of the community's efforts to secure ownership and control of the sport and recreation grounds.

He was also very excited about local management of the Bundaleer Forest Picnic Ground and the new community event centre being built on-site.

John had a great sense of humour and zest for life, loved steak, red wine and BBQs at Bundaleer with family and friends.

He was a highly social being and made sincere enduring friendships through every facet of his life, whether at school, in industry meetings, welcoming visitors to Bundaleer, or just stopping for a chat when shifting the cattle along the road with his beloved dog.

He adored his community, his cattle, all things Bundaleer, and most of all, his family.

Mr Malone was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and with the care and attention of his wife Veronica and his family he was able to stay at home until just days before his passing.

He is survived by Veronica, children Mary-Jane and Christopher and five grandchildren.

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