AUS­TRALIA DAY IN THE NORTH BUR­NETT

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Adam McCleery adam.mccleery@cnbtimes.com.au

LIFE long cat­tle­man Alan McCal­lum is the Gayn­dah 2017 Cit­i­zen of the Year af­ter be­ing hon­oured at the Aus­tralia Day cer­e­mony.

Born in Gayn­dah in 1938, Mr McCal­lum has spent his en­tire life on the land, be­ing raised on a dairy farm be­fore be­com­ing a gra­zier him­self.

“My fa­ther owned a dairy farm with a hand­ful of cat­tle too, I knew early on there was noth­ing else I wanted to do.”

Mr McCal­lum fol­lowed in his fa­ther’s foot­steps and be­came a gra­zier and now owns the Man­doora prop­erty out­side of Gayn­dah.

He was over­whelmed about be­ing named the Cit­i­zen of the Year.

“When I got the let­ter from coun­cil I was re­ally sur­prised,” Mr McCal­lum said.

“No-one knew who won un­til John Zahl made the an­nounce­ment on the day and it floored me when he said my name.”

Mr McCal­lum spent the en­tire day be­fore­hand mus­ter­ing and used the time to go over his speech in his head.

“That doesn’t help once you get up in front of the ac­tual crowd though,” Mr McCal­lum said.

“It is such an hon­our and I’m still a lit­tle shocked by it all. But noth­ing will change, I was back out on the prop­erty the very next morn­ing.

“Ev­ery sin­gle per­son nom­i­nated de­served the award and a num­ber of peo­ple who weren’t.”

Mr McCal­lum praised the com­mu­nity he has called home for 79 years and the work done by the va­ri­ety of or­gan­i­sa­tions he is in­volved with.

Cur­rently Mr McCal­lum is a fire war­den in the North Bur­nett.

“In 1951 af­ter some bad fires the area was di­vided into di­vi­sions with ap­pointed war­dens,” Mr McCal­lum said.

“I took on the role of war­den a few years back.

“There are so many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who do such great work and they don’t do it for any­thing in re­turn.

“Those peo­ple make a com­mu­nity richer and stronger.”

Mr McCal­lum sub­scribes to the no­tion that an ac­tive life leads to a happy life.

“I’ve never thought about re­tir­ing and my wife even says that the only way you will get me off the prop­erty is in a box.”

Not once in his 79 years has Mr McCal­lum ever thought to leave the Bur­nett.

“I be­lieve the Bur­nett is con­sid­ered one of the best places for rain­fall,” Mr McCal­lum said.

“As a gra­zier you could al­ways do with more rain, there’s al­ways a use for that wa­ter, but the Bur­nett is gen­er­ally re­ally good.

“This sea­son so far has prob­a­bly been a lit­tle below av­er­age, 10 of my 14 dams are dry.”

De­spite some time away at board­ing school Mr McCal­lum has rarely if ever spent pro­longed time away from the re­gion he loves.

“It is a great hon­our to get this award and I did get a lit­tle teary there for a mo­ment,” Mr McCal­lum said.

It demon­strated the love Mr McCal­lum has for the re­gion and its peo­ple.

PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY

CIT­I­ZEN OF THE YEAR: Alan McCal­lum was hon­oured on Aus­tralia Day.

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