Media Release 05-07-2012


John Purcell OAM.

Former chairman of Property Rights Australia John Purcell was awarded the Order of Australia Medal by the Queen in her Jubilee year for services to primary industry, and to the community

At the Property Rights Australia Conference John was presented with Life Membership and a memento of the day.

In presenting the award chairman Joanne Rea reminded the audience of some of the highlights of John’s career.

One of the achievements of which he is most proud is the negotiation of the Cape York Heads of Agreement which has resulted in a lifelong friendship with Noel Pearson.

At the time John Purcell said “Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians must be founded on justice if it is to be durable”.

As well as chairing Property Rights Australia, John was also President of the Cattlemen’s Union of Australia  in two tranches from 1984-1986 and again from1994-1997.

He was a founding member and played a pivotal role in organising the blockade of the Gracemere Saleyards in May 1977 which successfully stopped the sale on Monday 16th May. Most of you will remember that this was the time of the great cattle slump when producers were sometimes receiving bills instead of proceeds from cattle sales and processors were paying dividends of up to 22%.

I would just like to briefly touch on a few issues of the day.

In 1984 one the issues dealt with was animal welfare and the CU had played a major role in combating the inaccurate claims of the Animal Liberation Movement and opposing some of its recommendations in relation to animal husbandry practices.

This could nearly have been a newspaper item of less than a year ago.

In his annual report as Queensland Chairman the year he was elected president,1984, John told members that it was time that society stopped looking on stock stealing as a romantic pastime. He said that stock stealing is as old as the industry itself. It is enshrined in our folk lore by exploits such as Harry Redford driving stolen cattle from Longreach to the Adelaide markets.

Times change and we now see the family farm being victim of stock theft. Times must also change for the Judiciary who must see stock stealing as a serious crime committed against the owner. The Judiciary must pass sentence on those who are guilty of stock stealing in keeping with the value of the stolen stock.

Things have not improved today.

For further information contact: 

     Joanne Rea, “Edengarry”    KUNWARARA  QLD 4702

     Ph: (07) 49 356 231            Mobile: 0407 143 664       Email:


PRA is a non-profit organisation of primary producers and business people from rural

areas defending the rights of property owners