A Stock Inspector’s career in the Department of Agriculture during the period 1956 to 1990 required a great deal of ingenuity and self sacrifice to deal with the needs of the ever changing stock industries across South Australia. Paul Heap is a fine example of a professional Livestock Officer at that time.
Paul arrived in Australia from England with his family in 1948. He had no professional qualifications, but had a family background in meat production. He immediately set about obtaining qualifications in Animal Health, Animal Husbandry, Meat Inspection and Health Inspection. After initial experiences at the Metropolitan Export Abattoirs as a Meat Inspector, he joined the Animal Health Branch in the Department of Agriculture and began his 40 year career of service across the state.
After training close to Adelaide his first country appointment was to the Upper South East district, based in Keith. There he met many daily challenges providing stock husbandry and disease control advice to the newly developed AMP properties.
A new chapter began in Paul’s career in 1960 when he moved to the Cleve office and serviced the Upper Eyre Peninsula. This was followed in 1962 by a transfer to the office at Port Augusta to take over the vast area of the Upper and Far North of South Australia. Tasks were often undertaken during hot weather, in remote areas where accommodation was sleeping outdoors, in a swag, rolled out on the ground next to a camp fire and communication was by flying doctor radio.
From these locations he faced a steep learning curve, dealing with pleuro pneumonia control and general disease control in pastoral areas. Fortunately Paul had a keen interest in horse riding, which helped him inspect cattle as they were being walked down the Birdsville track.
Sometimes supported by his wife, Maureen, but often alone, he became a competent stockman, highly respected by the station owners.
In 1965 Paul moved to the Jamestown office, where the emphasis of his work changed to a focus on sheep. During this period he developed a keen interest in the pig industry, which led to his appointment in 1970 as the first Officer in Charge of the Northfield Pig Research Unit. Paul held this position until his retirement in 1999.
Link to Paul’s article titled: “Northfield Pig Research Unit”
Throughout Paul’s career, landowners always respected his professional judgment and fairness, despite his role in challenging their stock management, and the occasional need to impose disease control restrictions.
Paul was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 1993 Australia day honors, for services to the Stock Industries in South Australia.
Link to Paul’s slide collection titled: Stock Inspection Experiences In Northern Pastoral Areas (), by Paul Heap