South Australian agriculture has lost one of its visionary figures with the passing last week of respected cattleman Don Moyle at 91 years of age.
Despite spending his childhood in Adelaide, Don made up his mind from a young age that his future was on the land.
Over the decades, through hard work, dedication and intuition, he succeeded in many ventures from building a loyal client following in The Basin Angus stud, running northern and southern cattle herds, exporting livestock around the world and even running an oyster lease at American River on Kangaroo Island during the 2000s.
His northern interests continued well into his octogenarian years.
Don graduated from Roseworthy College in 1948, with his first foray into farming sharecropping at Lameroo and Riverton.
His lucky break and a chance to have land of his own at Willalooka came when working for the AMP Land Development Scheme at Brecon, south of Keith, in 1950.
In the five-year period, along with about 100 other hopefuls, he helped clear thousands of hectares of scrub and started developing the agricultural potential of the trace element-deficient Ninety Mile Desert.
In 1955, Don and his wife Diana were allocated 336ha, with a house and enough material to build a shed.
The Basin was initially stocked with 800 Merino ewes and 18 Hereford cows, but it would not be long until top quality Angus cattle filled the paddocks.
In 1961, they started the renowned The Basin stud, which grew to about 700 breeding females.
A sale complex was built at The Basin in 1975, which heralded the stud's first on-property sale.
That same year The Basin was the first Australian stud to donate an Angus bull to China.
Over the years, the Moyles grew their holdings to nearly 3240ha at Willalooka and Padthaway.
In 1999, they sold The Basin stud to Stephen Stone, who re-located it to Riverleas on KI.
Don's daughter Libby - who spent many years working with her father - and her husband Bruce Creek continued to manage The Basin stud until 2007.
Always looking for new opportunities, Don gained a live export licence in 1983 and shipped beef cattle, dairy cattle and sheep throughout the world for more than 20 years.
Don's significant northern ventures included leasing Dotswood Station near Townsville, Qld, from the Australian Army between 1992 to 1999.
As well as running a top herd of grey Brahmans, it also served as a live export depot.
When this lease ended, some of the Brahman herd were moved to NT leases he took up at Twin Hills Station south of Darwin and Elsey Station near Mataranka, the latter of which Don ran until 2014.
Former Landmark stud stock manager Malcolm Scroop, who knew Don for more than 30 years, said he had an outstanding knowledge of livestock breeding, particularly cattle.
He first met Don when Landmark began conducting The Basin's annual on-property sale, which was the first SA Angus stud to put up 100-plus bulls, as well as magnificent lines of cows.
It makes you stop and think - how does one man achieve so much in his lifetime? Well it was the support of his family; his wife, three sons and a daughter, along with dedicated staff.
He said Don loved putting auctioneers to the test on the rostrum, with the bulls catalogued not on quality but from age, oldest to youngest.
"The oldest bulls were often out of heifers which made for a shaky start to the sale," he said.
"Don would stand behind you saying it would get better and it always did. The buyers were there every year because the bulls grew on and produced lovely calves."
After his cattle dealings came to an end, Don indulged in another passion, breeding racehorses.
Malcolm said he was privileged to accompany Don many times to the races or McEvoy Racing's stables at Angaston, where Don had horses being trained.
"Don had one more mountain to climb," he said.
"His dream was to breed a racehorse capable of winning the Derby and Melbourne Cup. Unfortunately time didn't allow this.
"It makes you stop and think - how does one man achieve so much in his lifetime? Well it was the support of his family; his wife, three sons and a daughter, along with dedicated staff.
"It was also his tenacity, self-belief, planning and always looking for an opportunity, which he did right up until the day he died."
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