Page 6 - Australian Pork Newspaper
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John Gadd was not only a good speaker but also a meticulous record keeper. He kept a daily diary for many years, which he called the ‘Omnium Gatherum’, meaning a collection of miscellaneous people or things. Complete with an index, it comprised 170 volumes with at least 36,000 illustrations, mostly photos, and about 5 million words.
One of the most memo- rable and informative of those was none other than acclaimed UK pig con- sultant John Gadd.
With that, he could write
Both were ground breakers in their day and remain unmatched today.
Sadly, I recently learnt of John’s August 2020 passing, at the quite ripe oldageof90,viaade- lightful piece put together in Pig Progress magazine by its editor, Vincent ter Beek.
At WA Pork Producers’ Association annual dinner in 2014, industry veterans Brad Thomason (centre left) and Roger Campbell enjoyed a good old-fashioned chin wag, most probably reflecting on Pig Days back in the day.
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I recall John fondly as a quirky Englishman, with a sharp wit, who me- thodically offered several game changing and very practical solutions to pig- gery problems.
Roger was with Bunge back then, and of course
Porker and baconer carcass competitions were a fea- ture of Watsonia Pig Day.
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Page 6 – Australian Pork Newspaper, April 2021
Gadd memories of Pig Day
BACK in the day, Wat- sonia Pig Day was the big day of the year on the calendar of Western Australia’s pig industry.
virtually concluded his about do’s and don’ts,
Driven by Brad Thom- ason, the then powerhouse Meat and Dairy Division chief executive officer of Watsonia parent George Weston Foods, Pig Day attracted big numbers of invited pig producers and industry stakeholders, in- cluding trade exhibitors.
In his warm Pig Pro- gress tribute to John, Vin- cent underlined what we all knew about John – his specialty was pig man- agement issues, which he advised on so sagely in 300 or so columns in Pig Progress over the past 30 years.
How to find the best age for weaning, how to opti- mise ventilation in farms, how to do appraisals.
Gathered under the big top on the grass at Wat- sonia’s Spearwood pro- cessing site, they were welcomed and hosted by Brad, with typically well- chosen reflective com- mentary by him on the year past and the year to come.
A keynote speaker also took centre stage to in- form and entertain the gathered throng.
In his long career, he had seen countless swine farms in the 33 countries he had visited profession- ally.
Quite appropriately, his column series was called ‘What the Textbooks Never Tell You About.’
Winners of the highly competitive Watsonia
Others I recall intro- ducing while working as Brad’s public relations ‘sidekick’ and Pig Day master of ceremonies, included local identities Roger Campbell and Ross Cutler.
Downunder, we all recognise Ross Cutler’s signature bow ties and his amusing delivery of practical veterinarian ad- vice, and similarly no one could forget Roger Camp- bell’s booming voice which always reached every corner of the big top tent, with his words full of practical producer tips too.
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highly acclaimed profes- sional pig career as chief executive officer of Pork CRC.
about things that can go wrong and things that should be improved, in an easy-to-read style, com- bining a joke with hands- on advice.
pork and bacon carcass competition were also an- nounced and presented with their prizes.
It made me contemplate the many informative and entertaining Watsonia Pig Days back in the 1980s, especially in relation to the guest speakers.
Every time a pig-related question included “how”, John surely knew the an- swer.
While I suspect he rat- tled off the same favoured game changers to similar audiences all over the world, he always delivered with an air of authority, believability, knowledge and more than a passing interest in the good and bad habits he saw in Aus- tralian piggeries.
On reflection, all the guest speakers were a bit quirky, making them the attention-grabbing en- tertainers such speakers simply need to be.
He kept a close record of everything he saw on farms, of what he advised and what he learnt.
RIP John Gadd and RIP Pig Day.

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