Vale Peter Carrington, Rondel Droughtmasters22 Mar 2023
Ronald Peter Carrington was born in Hughenden on 27th April, 1959. He was born premature, weighing in at only four pounds. He was the son of Ronald and Bessie Carrington. Earlier, Bessie had been married to Rex Halloran, and their son Gary was born in September 1954. Rex Halloran perished in a tragic accident that also took the life of his father. Bessie then married Ron Carrington and upon Peter’s arrival, their family was complete.
Narollah Station at Corﬁeld was their home and both boys were home schooled there, as well as attending the local state school in Corﬁeld. Peter then continued his education at the Townsville Grammar School, before completing it at Toowoomba High, following the family’s relocation. While retaining Narollah, Bessie and Ron had decided to try their hand at farming in the Toowoomba region.
However, it was cattle rather than farming that ran in Pete’s veins. Upon ﬁnishing school, he headed back out bush working on a cattle stud near Surat. The stud used intensive management techniques including AI, which was advanced technology at the time. This experience reinforced that cattle were his calling and certainly not tractors, doing circle work around a cultivation paddock near Toowoomba. And so, he headed back to his beloved Downs country and back home to Narollah at Corﬁeld working with the manager there. Soon after Ron and Bessie sold their Toowoomba country and also headed home to the Central West. There, Ron, Bessie and Peter successfully ran both sheep and cattle.
In 1984, they purchased Anrod, expanding their sheep numbers. This enabled them to sell 500 bales of wool the following year. While all this was happening, Peter fell in love with Deleece Elliott from Koondi, near Corﬁeld. Deleece was the love of his life and what an amazing romance it turned out to be. This romance has stood the test of time. Any of us that have spent time with Peter and Deleece know that they worshipped each other unconditionally.
On the 18th of April 1985, they married in Winton. In 1986, tragedy struck when Ron was diagnosed with prostate cancer which swiftly took his life, and he passed away in March 1987. True to his caring nature, Peter helped nurse his father through his ﬁnal days. In that same year, in July, their son, Luke Ronald was born followed by Lakisha Teagan in 1989. Peter considered these his greatest achievements.
1987 continued to be a formative year for Peter and the family, with the creation of the Rondel Droughtmaster stud. Rondel of course being an amalgamation of the names Ronald and Deleece. It came about because Peter and Deleece wanted to continue Ron’s legacy of breeding quality commercial Droughtmaster cattle. In true Peter style, moving forward with optimism and conﬁdence he decided to purchase 30 Bannockburn Droughtmaster cows with the sole intent of improving his female herd.
When he started, it was never his intention to sell bulls or show cattle. This was NOT his thing. But, as his children grew, it soon became apparent that, like Peter, breeding cattle was the only future for them. Working together as a team, the family encouraged him to embrace reproductive technologies. His forward thinking, optimistic nature served him well in this area and this has seen the introduction of successful AI and Embryo programs. In typical Peter fashion, he has planned these well into the future, such was his strategic approach to this industry. In the later years, this strategic attitude was paying dividends in the sale ring.
If you have been following this story, you could be forgiven for thinking that cattle were Peter’s whole life. But as so many of you in this room know, Pete has a proliﬁc history training racehorses. He attained his trainer’s license at the tender age of 18 alongside his amateur jockey’s license. But having to fast to make weight made his race riding a short career. For 30 years, Peter rose at 4am to ride track work and train his horses before starting jobs on the station at 7:30am sharp- a rule he set for himself.
Peter followed the racing circuit from Brisbane to Townsville to Mt Isa and every bush track in between. He notched up numerous wins, making a name for himself also in this industry as the ‘Bart Cummings’ of the west. His successes were such that he won numerous trainer premierships for the North West Region. His favourite jockey to leg up was Nobby Cairns and this duo were known to make the bookies sweat.
Nob, he always had the utmost respect for you and loved you.
He was born with racing running through his veins as both Ron and Bessie loved racing and trained and raced their own top racehorses. Unsurprisingly, Deleece’s parents also had their own racehorses so this was a passion that they also shared.
Family holidays were to their Townsville house in Wulguru with two or three horses in tow. The house block also includes some horse stables and of course, is located in close proximity to Cluden Park racecourse. The family all loved nothing more than heading to Townsville for two to three weeks with Alec and Val (Deleece’s parents) who in later years were Peter’s partners.
So, there they would all go. Luke and Lakisha’s beach was really Cluden Park Racetrack. The kids loved the banter of the track and of course their dad’s accomplishments. As the horses would come back to scale, Kish would be proudly standing back, quietly, a chip oﬀ the old block. Luke would be waiting in the stalls as the jockey dismounted saying “ How’d he go Nob? Bloody good mate!”.
It would be too hard to identify his greatest achievement on the track and you can see some of the evidence of his success in the trophies around the room here today. Some highlights include Stolen Words winning the Waltzing Matilda Handicap at Corﬁeld along with Belied winning at Doomben with Mick Pelling aboard. Some of his favourite stablemates were Stolen Words, Space Conqueror, Belied, Gala Ray and Terse.
He continued to train horses until he had a hip replacement which was a result from a previous riding fall.
He was a master at his game whether it was racing or breeding cattle. It is, however, no surprise to those who knew and loved him that his successes were animal related. He had an uncanny ability to feed and prepare an animal to peak to the hour or even the minute. His intuition and ability to connect with animals was unparalleled.
After racing, his work with the stud hit top gear and it allowed him to work closely with his family. It gave Peter a great sense of satisfaction to work alongside both his children. They were his left and right hands.
Luke grew his knowledge of the breed from the moment he could read, in fact, pedigrees were the only thing he would read at times! This knowledge has always been a big part of helping Peter select bulls, and nine times out of ten, they were on the same page. On the odd occasion that they didn’t agree, a robust discussion may result, but being the great mates they were, they always saw each other’s opinion and got on with the job, with or without the bull!
Lakisha’s knowledge was also up there. He called her his pocket rocket and more often than not she was on the same wavelength as Pete, but then again, she is a chip off the old block.
Peter loved them both incredibly. He was proud of the people they had become and their work ethic. Such was his commitment to them, he spent the last 35 years building their future, and he hasn’t done a bad job. In September this year, he saw each of them sell a bull for impressive prices. He lived to see that and for that we are incredibly grateful. His job was done, but Luke and Lakisha have other ideas.
When it came to his family, it was the one time that he could and would shut oﬀ and give his undivided attention. He loved these times. His patience was endless. He could take Deleece to a shopping centre and sit with the digital paper on his phone. The news app was the only thing he ever mastered on that. In fact, the most calls he ever made were from his pocket. He never ever called to hurry her up, however long
his best mate took. When she returned he’d smile and say “Have you had enough time? Give me your bags.”
No one was more pleased than Pete, when on the 21st of October 2011, the family grew as Lakisha married Zach. Zach and Pete worked alongside each other even prior to the wedding. Pete always appreciated Zach’s work ethic. His quiet approach looked a lot like Peter’s and together, they completed a good few building projects.
A blessing in the shape of a baby boy named Cody then arrived in 2014 and turned Pete into Poppy, a role he seemed to have been practicing for his whole life. Cody arrived in the middle of a harsh drought and helped to ease some of the pain it brought.
On the 15th of August in 2015, the family grew again when Peter gained another daughter in Jayna. She was always there to help Peter out. She too, shares the hard work ethic the Carrington family are known for. This was evident when she tried to sort out some of his technology glitches, but even she had to admit that his only technological skill was pocket dialing her.
His big heart stretched again in 2016 when his second grandchild Summer arrived. 2017 was a bumper year as she was followed in quick succession by Rylie or Curly as Peter called him, a second son for Zach and Lakisha and then a second daughter Indie for Luke and Jayna. The family was complete in 2019 with the addition of a baby boy to Jayna and Luke, Bailey Ronald who Peter named Rowdy. Peter loved all his grandbabies. He loved nothing better than sorting them with smoko, playing chasey with the hobby horses around and around the kitchen and of course, being the best big Droughtmaster bull, down on his hands and knees. This will be a memory that his grandkids will remember forever. He seemed to cherish each season of their life and recently was enjoying watching their sporting endeavours as they grew.
Sport was another passion of Peter’s. He loved to watch his beloved Broncos in the winter, beer in hand, cheering them home. Watching Peter, watching the Broncos was entertainment of its own. He’d bend his body, nearly falling out the chair, willing them over the line. He and Deleece caught a few Australian Opens with friends in Melbourne and he fulﬁlled a life goal at Mooney Valley by witnessing the 2017 Cox Plate won by Winx and by attending the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Although Peter’s passing has caused so much grief and pain to his family, Peter died exactly the way he wanted to. In his cattle yards, alone, sparing those he loved any added trauma. It is hard to articulate how much he will be missed. He was a true gentleman. A man who deliberately chose kindness where and when he could. He touched so many and the world is now inﬁnitely poorer for his passing. He loved and was loved and in the end that is all that matters.
You have just heard Peter’s family’s recollections about their Husband and Father. I would like to add my story about the Peter I knew.
Shortly after moving to Katandra in 2001, our friendship with Peter and Deleece grew.
Having a common interest in the Droughtmaster breed and the emergence of the Diamantina Droughtmaster Sale in Winton saw regular meetings to organise the annual event.
Eventually the topic of travel was discussed.
It is not until you travel with someone that you learn more about them. We travelled with Peter and Deleece, Hastings and Sandra Donaldson and Ninian and Ann Stewart- Moore to the South Island of New Zealand in 2011. It was the ﬁrst of four trips we enjoyed with them.
Peter is the epitome of the quiet achiever. He never boasted about his achievements. He had a quick wit and a cheeky chuckle. I would describe Peter’s character as possessing unquestionable honesty, integrity, loyalty and humility. He was a gentleman, in every sense of the word. He was hard working, dedicated, passionate and strived for excellence.
His taste in music was exquisite, Slim Dusty was the man.
While on these trips, we ventured onto the water several times. There was little doubt that Peter was never going to get taken by a shark, he was not a good sailor. Everywhere we went on that trip, there was a challenge from our wives. Whether it was Curling on the ice at Naseby or ﬁshing at Lake Wanaka, we ran second. We went ﬁshing on a hire boat one day, we were out ﬁshed by the women mainly because Pete was struggling to keep his breakfast down. On another occasion we were driving across New Zealand’s Southern Alps, oﬀ the beaten tracks, all on dirt roads. One day Peter was driving one of our hired Prados. He didn’t spend much time in the back seat, and was pretty quick to take the driver’s seat. We were high on a barren mountain range, many bends were 3 point turns. We came around a bend in the
road, there were some sheep or goat bones in a small ‘borrow pit’ beside the road. As quick as a ﬂash Pete announced that they were the bones of the dozer driver who built the track.
His patience was also very evident. One day Deleece and Donna went shoe shopping at Peter Shephard Shoe store in Melbourne. We sat outside for what seemed like hours on a street bench studying the race form. Peter never batted an eye, never complained and he did carry the bags back to the hotel.
We will all miss you Pete, you have left a wonderful Legacy, you will live on through Luke and Lakisha and their families.
Rest In Peace Mate.
Eulogy: Rob Atkinson