Tributes flow for cattle king Graeme Acton

Graeme Acton, pictured at his Paradise Lagoons.
Graeme Acton, pictured at his Paradise Lagoons. Rachael Conaghan

GRAEME Acton, one of Australia's most successful and respected beef barons, died in hospital overnight, surrounded by his family. Tributes have flowed from the Prime Minister to local residents.

Monday 7.45am: Australian Agricultural Company Chairman Donald McGauchie has paid tribute to Queensland cattleman Graeme Acton, who died on the weekend following a horse riding accident a week before.

"Graeme was a towering figure in the beef industry, a true cattleman whose passion and advocacy for rural Australia was always on show," he said.

"He was one of the pioneers of producers promoting Australian beef to overseas markets, as well as a tireless contributor to rural Australian causes.

"The beef world is the poorer for his passing.

"He had many friends at AACo and our thoughts and sympathies are with his wife Jennie and his family."

3PM SUNDAY: Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce described Mr Acton as a hero of the cattle industry.

"I, along with many thousands of Australians, today share a deep sense of loss with the passing of a hero of the cattle industry and a fierce advocate for agriculture and the future of our nation," Mr Joyce said.

"Graeme possessed a unique ability to communicate with people irrespective of their background or social standing and united tens of thousands through his love of the art form of campdrafting."

"Just weeks ago in Rockhampton Graeme pulled no punches letting me know his views on how we can do things better and his words of wisdom were not lost on me."

"We are truly indebted to this great Australian, for the blessing he has been as a father, husband, friend, pioneer and great captain of agricultural industry in Australia."

"My thoughts go especially to his wife Jennie and his children Tom, Hayley, Victoria and Laura.

"May he rest in peace."


3.30PM: KEPPEL MP Bruce Young described Mr Acton as an innovative businessman who would be greatly missed.

"He was a marvellous ambassador for the beef industry and the Rockhampton region," Mr Young said.

"He was passionate about the Australian bushman, in particular the sport of campdrafting. He reinvigorated campdrafting.

"Graeme embraced a challenge and he had endless enthusiasm.

" My sincere sympathy to Jennie and the Acton family."


2.50PM: THE passion, enthusiasm and selfless generosity of the Central Queensland cattleman will live long in the memory of the region's business community, Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll said.

"The Capricorn Enterprise Board, members and the wider business community has received news of Graeme's untimely death with extreme sadness," Ms Carroll said.

"This is a shocking tragedy which leaves us with an overwhelming sense of loss and our thoughts and prayers are with Graeme's family and friends.

"As a business leader Graeme set a marvellous example to all entrepreneurs with his boundless energy and his commitment to spread the benefit of his success. He was a philanthropist who gave not only money, but his valuable time and effort for worthy causes such as helicopter rescue.

"He was deeply respected in business for his diligence and pioneering spirit and he has left a legacy that will endure.

"His character shone through everything he did. He was forthright, determined and respectful and he showed everyone that it is possible to be successful in business whilst wearing a beaming smile.

"He believed life was for enjoying and no-one who heard it will ever forget his cheeky chuckle.

"The economic benefit to our region of his business acumen is enormous. Through his determination, nous, investment and enthusiasm he built the world-class campdraft facilities at Paradise Lagoons from scratch and created one of our region's major events.

"He never asked for a penny in support and took great delight that others could profit from the phenomenon he constructed.

"On behalf of the Capricorn Enterprise board, members and wider business community I would like to place on record our heartfelt appreciation for Graeme Acton's contribution and the difference he made." 


10AM: LNP Senator-elect Matthew Canavan said it was extremely sad to hear of the untimely passing of Mr Acton. 

His life has been cut too short at a time when he had so much more to give. His tireless efforts to promote the Queensland beef industry, grow the sport of campdrafting and build his own successful business will be long felt and remembered.  

My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this sad time.


7AM SATURDAY: GRAEME Acton, one of Australia's most successful and respected beef barons, died in hospital overnight, surrounded by his family.

The Rockhampton grazier was placed on life support after he fell and his horse rolled on him while he was competing in the Clarke Creek Autumn Classic Campdraft northwest of Rockhampton on May 2.

He passed away shortly before 9pm on Friday night in the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was "truly shocked and saddened'' to hear of the passing of Mr Acton.

"He was an outstanding character who was much loved by all,'' Mr Newman said.

"A hard working Queenslander, he devoted his life to the land and growing the cattle industry in this State.

"He has left a legacy for both rural and regional Queensland and I know his passing will be felt by all Queenslanders.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued the following tribute after Mr Acton's accident.

"Graeme Acton is a great Australian who has contributed so much to the agricultural community, in particular to the cattle industry around Rockhampton where the Actons have been farming for four generations,'' Mr Abbott said.

"I've had the privilege of visiting Graeme's family property Paradise Lagoons and seen for myself its importance to the local area.''

The 63-year-old was riding on the Marlborough-Sarina Rd when the accident occurred.

A close friend  told The Morning Bulletin how Mr Acton had ridden his horse around the second peg during his event when his horse accidentally "hocked" or tripped the steer it was chasing.

The friend said the steer fell to the ground and the horse subsequently stumbled over its counterpart, causing Mr Acton to fall off his horse.

She said the horse then rolled onto its rider.

The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue chopper rushed Mr Acton to Rockhampton Hospital where he was stabilised before the Royal Flying Doctor Service transferred him to Brisbane.

Mr Acton, who with his brother Evan runs the $405 million family business, was put on life support at 3am last Saturday.

Mr Acton sustained severe head injuries.

"He also sustained spinal injuries, which have now shown to be not as severe as initially thought because the spinal cord is in tact," the friend said.

Graeme's wife Jennie, siblings Robert, Elizabeth, Evan and Allen, and adult children Tom, Victoria, Hayley and Laura, and their extended families flew to Brisbane to be at Mr Acton's bedside.

The Acton family have lived on the land for more than 150 years and  run a herd of more than 150,000 cattle across about 1.4 million hectares in central and northwest Queensland.

They were ranked number 24 on last year's Sunday Mail Queensland's Top 150 Rich List.

The Acton's family property, Paradise Lagoons near Gracemere, hosts Australia's largest campdraft each year.

Mr Acton was made a member of the Australian Campdraft Association roll of honour in 2012 and was deputy chairman of the Stockman's Hall of Fame.


Graeme's condition declines after last week's accident

4PM FRIDAY: CQ CATTLE king Graeme Acton's condition has deteriorated overnight.

The family's spokesperson, Ian Lovegrove, told The Morning Bulletin this afternoon that there had been a downturn in Mr Acton's condition.

He said he was unaware of the extent of the downturn.

Mr Acton was flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical condition after a campdrafting accident last week. 

Topics:  cattle graeme acton royal brisbane hospital

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