Former Droughtmaster CEO Neil Donaldson dies

Helen Walker
By Helen Walker
Updated April 25 2022 - 6:19am, first published 5:00am
Former CEO of the Droughtmaster Stud Breeders, the late Neil Donaldson, passed away peacefully on April 24.

Former Droughtmaster Australia CEO Neil Donaldson passed away surrounded by his family on Sunday evening, after battling poor health for some time.

Mr Donaldson, aged 66, enjoyed a long career in the rural industry.

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After leaving Brisbane Grammar School, Mr Donaldson joined Mactaggarts in 1973, which would later become Primac.

He spent time with the Mactaggarts' subsidiary, New Guinea Pastoral Supplies based in Lae, and then returned as branch manager for Primac branches including Eidsvold.

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He joined the Droughtmaster Society in 1997, as its CEO, and became a life member last year.

Former Droughtmaster president Rob Atkinson said that Mr Donaldson was a great advocate for the breed.

"He had a wonderful memory for names and cattle and he always managed events such as Beef Australia, and society sponsored events with skill and flair - he never left anything to chance," Mr Atkinson said.

"Over the years he was at the helm of the Droughtmaster Society we could not have wished for a better person to head our breed."

These words were also used to describe him by Ashley Coleman, formerly of Glen Horton Droughtmasters, Pentland, now of Gympie.

Mr Coleman, also a former director of the breed, said Mr Donaldson was dedicated to the breed and worked over and above the course of duty.

"With John Gardiner as a long term president, and Neil at the helm, together they drove the Droughtmasters to the successful breed society it is today," Mr Coleman said.

Former New Guinea Pastoral Supplies colleague Graham Webb, who worked with Mr Donaldson in Lae, said he was transferred to PNG as the merchandise manager.

"During his time in New Guinea he was heavily involved and played polocrosse, and at one stage travelled back to Australia with the PNG team," Mr Webb said .

"He escorted a ship load of cattle to Irian Jaya, and another to the Philippines for the transmigration program.

"Neil was a true gentleman, who never had a bad word about people - once a friend you were a lifetime friend."

Sadly, Mr Donaldson's wife Jo-Anne died in February this year.

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He is survived by his children Sandy, Will and Georgia.

Helen Walker

Helen Walker

Toowoomba-based Journalist

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