Warner Patterson

B. 1934

I grew up in Clifton and went to the local school there. I dearly wanted to go to College but my parents couldn’t afford to send me away to board. So, at 13 I left school and decided to work at the butter factory, which was highly regarded in the local community. I was employed as a junior earning $6.05 a week. One of my jobs was to carry cans of cream, which were delivered by horse and sulky, to the landing platform. I also had to pull the ice blocks which were used extensively for household cool storage in ice chests. I had an insatiable desire to further my education so I studied various certificates issued by the Department of Primary Industries like milk and cream testing, cream grading and buttermaking. I had to pass both a written exam and supervised practical exam. By early 1951, I had successfully gained all three certificates and my wage grew to $9.50 a week. This increased to $18.80 when I obtained a ‘ticketed position’ at the Wondai Butter Factory. My job was interrupted by national service which I completed at RAAF Amberley. I returned to the factory and worked as the Foreman Grader while completing my accountancy studies. I was less than 19 years old and had a staff of 10 people (all of them older than me). I realised I needed to improve my maths so I completed a course in advanced mathematics. I moved to the Miles Branch of the Downs Cooperative Dairy Association as the Foreman Buttermaker. I then transferred to Toowoomba to oversee the introduction of refrigerated bulk milk, which would replace the existing can collection service. I continued to work my way up from production manager, to financial administrator, and finally to company secretary, and obtained a Degree in Economics along the way. When I retired, I had 18 weeks of unpaid annual leave and 42 weeks of long service leave. I didn’t take many holidays when I worked but I made up for it when I retired. We spent the next 15 years travelling. Our longest trip was five months to Western Australia. We’ve visited the Winton Hall of Fame, Bungle Bungles, Marble Bar, Desert Queens Baths, Mount Augustus just to name a few. We’ve seen the wildflowers and travelled along the Gunbarrel Highway.  There’s been other trips to Margaret River, the Kimberley and Cape York. There are some beautiful places to see out there.

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