Jun 2019

Katter applauds livestock transport pioneer Kevin Pattel for his Order of Australia award

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KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has proudly recognised North-West Queensland stalwart Kevin Pattel’s Order of Australia award, announced today in the Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List.

Mr Pattel was officially recognised with a Medal (OAM) in the General Division for his service to the livestock transport industry and Mr Katter said the award celebrated not only Mr Pattel but his whole family.

“An Order of Australia award acknowledges a person but it also takes into consideration the family and those that he works with,” Mr Katter said.

“Mr Pattel’s family were one of the pioneering families that created the live cattle haulage industry of today.

“He is a powerful, influential and civic-minded person and has supported a dozen organisations in the town and if he wasn’t running them, his children would be.”
Mr Katter said the Pattels were pioneering drovers who founded Australia’s livestock hauling industry in the 1920s.

Kevin Pattel was instrumental in introducing volumetric loading, which reduced the cost of carting cattle by up to 20 per cent, and has been a prominent figure in the community and personally helped hundreds of people through tough times.

“The Pattels were the first family in Australia to put a wooden frame around the back of a truck and put contract mustering horses on the back. This completely changed the economics of the cattle industry in Australia,” Mr Katter said.

“To bring cattle from the Gulf runs would take seven horsemen a week. The same could be done in a day by one man, with less cost and less damage to the cattle.”

Kevin Pattel, as a boy in his pre-teens, was involved in this. He drove trucks and was sometimes a boss drover.

In later life, he was responsible for the volumetric loading rules. This huge benefit in carting the cattle of the Gulf and mid-west would increase the returns to a cattleman by 15 to 20 per cent of the value of the ox.

Few people in this lifetime will ever achieve what Kevin Pattel achieved on this initiative and which Lady Dr Pearl Logan and Mr Katter himself were involved. At all times, Mr Katter said it was the “Kevin Pattel Show”.

It began when the loaded weight of double deckers fell outside legal limits and Mr Pattel met with Lady Pearl Logan and Mr Katter to address the issue with then Transport Minister Russ Hinze. After just two meetings, Mr Pattel convinced the Minister that livestock should be exempt from weighing and instead load limits be enforced by “volumetric loading”. The efficiencies of this have enabled the industry to remain competitive.

As Minister for Northern Development, Mr Katter sent out a questionnaire asking what had been and would be the best weapon for combatting drought. The answer was overwhelmingly the coming of the livestock handling industry and the National Beef Road Scheme.

The Pattels have provided the garage service, contract mustering, well-boring, as well as chaired the school P&Cs, ran social clubs and have been particularly heavily involved in rugby league in an area where Richmond and Hughenden both have boys playing for Australia (Jacob Lillyman
and Justin O’Neill).

Mr Katter said the Pattels were arguably the most prominent and well-liked family in North Queensland’s mid-west.

“The family inter-married with some of the leading cattlemen in the country and created a foundation stone in the building of the cattle industry which may be matched by some but not excelled by any,” he said.

“The main road coming into Richmond in Western Queensland is Pattel Road and quite rightly so.

“Kevin Pattel once said, ‘What other industry is charging the same price now as it was charging 40 years ago? We owe so much to this industry, its technology and innovation, double-deckers and triple road trains.’”

The Pattels came as pioneers and remain as pioneers to this very day.



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