This book was written to record what it was really like to be there during an era when livestock prices at these saleyards set the benchmark for values in the industry throughout the Eastern states.
Quotation from the Foreword by Leo Pugh:
"It is understandable that not everyone can be covered in a book of this size, but it is obvious to me that an attempt has been made to include all the different types – auctioneers, butchers, buyers, carriers, clerks, contractors, dealers, exporters, journalists, market reporters, skin buyers, stock inspectors, the blokes on the railway, the ladies in the canteen … even a few dogs get a mention."
Forty-one individuals share their memories, not only of the hard work and long hours, but also of the tricks they played, the fun they had and the friends they made. It’s a book about mateship and helping one another to unload, draft, sell and deliver the huge numbers that went through these yards twice a week for sixty years, as well us enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie of the place. To many it was their life!
You'll read about Dexter Kruger, who is ninety-nine and tells of selling cattle there in 1933; of Danny Hassett who helped his father draft sheep instead of going to high school when men were scarce during World War II; of Jack O’Hagan who started out as a 13-year-old cattle dealer and went on to become one of Australia’s biggest meat exporters; and so the list goes on … Ron Stanton, Stan Watson, Grahame Flynn .....
These were the days when Creek Road was a dirt track, when Carindale Shopping Centre was a bullock paddock, and when drovers would walk cattle from Cannon Hill to Huttons meatworks at Oxley overnight. This is hard to believe, but it’s all true!
Selections from the book
Once again the illustrations were done professionally by Harry Bruce.
Here are some examples.
"I saw a few funny things in my time: It was Leo Pugh's birthday and a Singing Telegram had been organised. I can still remember him saying, "Hey Les, get onto this fat sheila comin' along the catwalk."
There was plenty of her; she was the type that would load sixteen to the K wagon and she was wearing these little pants and a bra and carrying a cassette player.
"Excuse me," she says, "which one of you gentlemen is Leo?"
Well! Poor bloody old Leo. He went very red in the face and wished the
floorboards would part and swallow him up, but he couldn't get away and
she cranked up the music, put a big fat arm around him, snuggled up beside
him, and crooned:
"Happy Birthday To You … Happy Birthday Dear Leo."
All the regulars were there – Stan Wallace, Des Cherry, Geoff Teys, Lee Richardson, Ronny Stanton, Grahame Flynn, Grant Daley – and everyone joined in singing and laughing.
It all went over very well after Leo got over the initial shock.
From Les Clyne in Chapter 40.
Happy Birthday dear Leo!. - Cartoonist: Harry Bruce
Harold Hassett always had good horses and good dogs but there was one dog named "Skeeter" that Harold could never seem to find.
Harold would be sitting up there on his horse yelling out "Skeeter, here Skeeter, come here Skeeter, here boy!"
Meantime Skeeter would be right there under the horse's arse, and Harold would be calling and calling, "Skeeter, Skeeter", till eventually Skeeter would poke his head out as much as to say, "What's all the fuss about?" and poor old Harold would go right off!
And that used to happen five times a day.
From Don Ross in Chapter 8.
Where's that dog!. - Cartoonist: Harry Bruce
"There were batwing doors blocking dogs from climbing the two sets of stairs up to the agents' offices and attached to each set there was a bold sign "No Dogs Allowed Upstairs".
Some dogs would sit and wait for someone to use the stairs then scurry through the open batwings and race up onto the verandah to be with their masters who would be up there doing business, or acting the goat, as the case may be.
Dogs can’t read!
From Marg Barton in Chapter 36.
Going Up?. - Cartoonist: Harry Bruce
"On a cold windy day, I turned up the collar of my coat, pulled my hat down tight on my head and set off to face the elements. I was wearing the type of spectacles that change colour in sunlight so it appeared that I had dark glasses on as well.
A dog belonging to one of the stockmen fell in beside me and as we passed big John Harris we must have resembled the Phantom comic strip character, Mr Walker and his dog Devil.
"Hey, look who's here," he yelled. "It's Mr Walker. We know who you are
Mr Walker; you’re the Phantom!"
And from then on I was Graham "The Phantom" Fallis.
From Graham Fallis in Chapter 30.
Ghost who walks.
The 400-acre site on which Cannon Hill Saleyards were built in 1931 is now a housing estate and many of those who worked there from 1931 to 1991 are no longer with us.
The last sale at Cannon Hill was held in 1991. This photo of the old site was taken by Sally Overell in 1992 and made available by Ross Attwood.
The roof over the pig pens is in the background. The sheep yards have been demolished and veteran stockman Lenny Pugh is standing on the bricks where they used to be.
This is where Danny Hassett's dog "Mac" pushed up sheep to be drafted, where Graham Fallis was first recognised as “The Phantom”, where the big “Scully vs Crowe” fight took place … and where millions of sheep and lambs were sold.
And now it's all over … yet it lives on in the memories of all those who REMEMBER CANNON HILL.
This is where we launched the book on Sunday 18th October 2009 in the old Cannon Hill office/canteen building now preserved and re-erected at Mt Gravatt Showgrounds.
What they are saying
"You are to be congratulated. I started reading and found
it hard to put down; what a great lot of stories."
Leo Pugh, Murarrie.
"Got your book today and read half of it already. Keep writing!".
Ricky Whitton, Injune.
"The family was over here on Sunday. I showed it to them and I said,
"That John Gilfoyle writes a pretty fair book." Anyway, send us another four
copies will ya?"
John Henderson, Mermaid Beach.
"My husband, Jim, has read all your books and thoroughly enjoyed the lot.
I've just bought him REMEMBER CANNON HILL and he'll get it when he's good!"
Jan Klein, Wallumbilla.
"I could not believe seeing a book that had stories about my father.
Thanks for rekindling some great memories."
Roy Gill, Mt Coolum.
"I've got all your books, I really enjoy reading them and I always get a
Margaret Madigan, Dalby.
"Thank you for bringing back some great old memories."
Judy Wicks, Dalby.
"To put all these stories down and get them into print you have to have a
gift. I tell you what, John; you have the gift!"
Una Stacey, Upper Caboolture.