Breed stalwart and one lovely lady, Betty Slatter, was awarded Life Membership of the Queensland Branch of the Illawarra Cattle Society of Australia at the recent Brisbane Royal Show. President, Mr Robert Lester, in presenting Betty with her award during the Illawarra judging, spoke of her commitment and assistance to the Illawarra Breed.
Margaret Betty Slatter learnt about dairying from an early age. She did the usual tasks associated with dairying in the 1940's.
When her parents gave up dairying, she trained as a Child Welfare nurse, worked in that field for a time, then started nursing training at the Warwick General Hospital. Some health problems interferred with her training and she returned to Child Welfare.
After her marriage in 1950, she and her husband settled in Caboolture, where Fred worked as Dairy Officer. In 1956 they were moved to Pittsworth. At that time the Pittsworth area had many breeders of pure bred dairy cattle among the dairying population. There were Illawarras, Ayrshires and Jersey breeds, with the Illawarra having the largest population and with familiar names such as George Gwynne, Tom Fowler, Mally and Mick Sullivan, Dan Sullivan, Walter and Gordon Henschel and Chub Holmes to name a few.
After seven years in Pittsworth a transfer saw them in Brisbane where Fred worked in the Herd Recording Section. Liaison with dairy farmers, who production recorded their cattle, was an important part of this work. This bought contact with a wider range of people, particularly pure bred breeders who exhibited cattle at shows. There was also a trend in the industry towards calf days and judging days with more people exhibiting calves and mature cattle. A number of these days were held at weekends which made it possible for Betty and her children to participate. She soon became adept at recording results and took an interest in show regulations.
In 1970 the American Milking Shorthorn Breeders in the United States became interested in obtaining breeding material from the Illawarra breed to infuse into their dairy cattle. Betty became part of the group who looked after the American visitors, hosting some in her home, and when they were visiting the farms of Illawarra breeders. The next step in her involvement was showing hospitality to a number of American judges and their wives who were invited to judge Illawarra cattle at Brisbane and other centres.
In 1986 her husband retired from the D.P.I. and became part time secretary of both the Illawarra and Jersey breeds. Betty became typist and assisted greatly in the tasks associated with this work. Having been a regular attendee at the Illawarra judging ring at the Brisbane Exhibition, she started acting as a steward at a number of country shows mainly in the Illawarra breed. Following her retirement from work as a teacher aide, she became in demand for her stewardship at shows large and small. At the Brisbane Royal, where she has been a recording steward for a number of years, she was made an Honorary Council Steward in 1992. She also is a steward at the Milking Competition at Brisbane Royal and has also been a supervisoron the milking competition.
She has performed the duties of a steward at Toowoomba for twenty years, always in the Illawarra ring and at Gympie, Malanda, Maleny and numerous other centres.
Another activity of this lady has been the provision of accommodation in her home for a number of visitors both local and overseas. A number of southern area breeders invited to judge at country shows, have been met from the plane, provided with accommodation and transported to their judging appointment.
One of her fondest memories is leading Sunny View Little Princess 30th in the Grand Parade at Brisbane Exhibition in 1965 and 66, an honour rarely bestowed by animal's owner, the late Mr Stan Phillips.
Qld Branch President, Mr Robert Lester, presents Mrs Betty Slatter with her Life Membership badge, watched by husband, Mr Fred Slatter, OAM.