Joseph Thomas Acton died last week.
Joseph Thomas Acton died last week. Contributed

Tragedy strikes Acton family

THE Central Queensland beef community is reeling from the shock loss of a young member of Central Queensland’s most established cattle family.

Joseph Acton, 22, son of Evan Acton, sadly died last week after his Toyota Land cruiser overturned in North Queensland.

Evan and his Rockhampton-based brother, Graeme Acton, run the $445-million family business that started four generations before them in Central Queensland where the boys grew up.

The family is well known throughout Central Queensland in the beef industry and the loss has stunned many in this community.

Beef Australia chairman Geoff Murphy was shocked to hear of the tragedy.

“I think it’s so sad for a family to suffer through these sorts of things,” Mr Murphy said.

“I offer them my deepest sympathy and wish them all the best in this very sad time.”

THE toy donkey Joseph Acton gave to his beloved baby nephew just before he died sums up perfectly how he was in life – a colourful character, a little bit cheeky and full of love.

Joseph Thomas Acton, 22, was killed on Friday after his Toyota Land cruiser overturned on the Burke Development Rd, 60km south of Normanton.

Joseph, or Beefy as he liked to be known, grew up on Millungera Station, north of Julia Creek, before moving to Townsville with his mother, Cathy, at the age of nine.

He was educated at Belgian Gardens State School and Townsville Grammar School but regularly visited his father, Evan, and brothers, Robert, 30, and Philip, 29, back in Julia Creek.

Joseph had just finished his butcher’s apprenticeship, returned to the land at Millungera and was heavily involved in the North Ward Old Boys Rugby Union team.

The Acton family is well known in the pastoral industry as owners of the Acton Land and Cattle Co empire.

Evan was so proud to have Joe home to work alongside himself and his brothers to help run the family company.

Joseph was so happy to be home with his father but sadly he had only been home for two weeks when he died.

Philip said when he told Joseph his wife Sarah was due to have baby Thomas, now 15 weeks, he was elated.

“He had so much pride and passion for being an uncle,” Philip said.

They didn’t have much time together but the time Thomas and Joseph had was very special.

“His passing didn’t happen for no reason. I think it was meant to bring us all together and make us appreciate each other.”

Robert said he will always treasure the memory of rounding up a rogue beast with his younger brother.

“I’m a few years older than Joseph and he had come back to the property for a year after finishing school,” Robert said.

“It’s something Philip and I had done together a fair bit but it really meant something to be able to go out and connect with my youngest brother in the bush.”

Cathy said she was overwhelmed but not surprised by how many people her son had touched in his short life.

“The number of phone calls I’ve had from people has been just incredible,” she said.

“He hated any negativity in life. If anyone said something bad he would just tell us not to think like that, the glass was always half full for Joseph.”

Close mates Myles Forster and James Webber were among the group of family and friends who drank Joseph’s favourite watering hole the Commonwealth Hotel dry of his favourite beverage rum and coke not once but twice the day after he died.

“He was just like another brother to me,” James said.

“If someone was laughing you can bet Joseph was the one right in the middle cracking the jokes. He treated his life as a

party and he was the host making sure everyone had the best time,” Myles said.

North Ward Old Boys coach Trent Johnson, said the rugby club observed a minute’s silence at every match on Saturday and set aside Joseph’s No. 5 reserve grade jersey for Cathy.

“Cathy attended every game and she came to watch at the weekend because it’s what she did every week,” he said.

“Joey was invaluable to the team, he was the guy that every club needed who was committed to every session, every game, every week and if needed he would play every grade.

“He was the heart of the club, on the club committee, the social convener and was just good mates with everyone.

“He was that involved with the club that at the 10-year reunion dinner, when we changed our name, he went and got the Grammar Old Boys logo tattooed on the inside of his right arm.”

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