Leigh Allan: Tribute to top SE agent, auctioneer

STUD INFLUENCE: Leigh Allan (pictured with Sophie and Amelia Shepherd at Mullinger Park's 2016 ram sale) was a great mentor to many young stud breeders.
STUD INFLUENCE: Leigh Allan (pictured with Sophie and Amelia Shepherd at Mullinger Park's 2016 ram sale) was a great mentor to many young stud breeders.

Former Elders stud stock auctioneer Leigh Allan has been fondly remembered for his exceptional eye for good livestock and honest appraisal of them to his clients.

Mr Allan, who died aged 74 on December 26 after surgery, was farewelled at a memorial service in Naracoorte last week.

The “old school” agent was a great mentor to many newer and younger breeders and agents, sharing his belief in the importance of good structure and breed type ahead of figures.

In his auctioneering he had many distinct sayings including it’s “length that weighs and weight that pays” and often referenced players from his beloved Geelong footy team during sales.

Raised on the family property near Rainbow in the Vic Mallee, his successful agency career spanned more than 30 years.

He began at Elders VP in 1973 in Bendigo.

From there he became branch manager at Macarthur, before joining Elders SA stud stock team in 1991, based at Naracoorte, until his retirement in 2006.

Elders South East livestock sales manager Laryn Gogel, who worked with Mr Allan at the Naracoorte branch, says he has left a lasting legacy in many SE and western Vic studs.

“His strength was his commercial background and having previously bred Poll Dorset sheep himself he always had a strong interest in them, as well as whiteface cattle, but he could also see the virtues of other breeds and supported them all,” he said.

“He was very strong-minded though and didn’t hold back about what he believed was the right type needed to change a stud’s program for the better.”

Mr Gogel said Mr Allan also had an incredible ability to recognise the potential in young bulls and rams.

“It didn’t matter if it was herd bulls or flock rams, he understood their market potential in the paddock and when he called $600 flock rams or $15,000 stud rams that was what they generally made,” he said.

After his retirement he continued to work as a stud consultant and became the announcer for Poll Dorset judging at Hamilton Sheepvention in Vic.

Mullinger Park stud principal Brett Shepherd, Kybybolite, says his advice was critical in their sheep studs growing from 250 ewes to 1200 stud ewes.

“He was a real asset to have around and great sounding board. He told you what you needed to hear rather than just what you wanted to hear,” he said.

“He was more than a stud classer to us, he was also a great friend and I will miss our chats.”

Mr Allan’s first association with the Naracoorte Showgrounds was on the rostrum at led bull sales but it later became like his second home as the groundskeeper.

He took great pride in keeping the grounds immaculate and although paid on a per hour basis, many hours were never recorded in his timebook.

Mr Allan is survived by his three daughters Jodi, Stacey and Kate, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. – Catherine Miller, Stock Journal