- Brian Gorrie
- Born: June 26, 1947
- Died: August 28, 2020
THE Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) farewelled its Kalgoorlie livestock senior quarantine inspector Brian 'Bill' Gorrie BM last month after he passed away suddenly of a heart attack while at work.
Bill was well known and respected by DPIRD's quarantine and biosecurity teams who had worked with him since he joined the department in 1985.
He was also well respected among the livestock, alpaca and horse transport industry and described by John Mitchell of Mitchell's Transport as "the best of the old breed".
Bill's cremation service was held at the Goldfields Crematorium, Memorial Drive, Kalgoorlie on Wednesday, September 16, with about 60 close friends and family in attendance.
He is survived by his wife Linda, children Brian and Deidre, and two grandchildren.
Bill received a national bravery medal in 2004 after helping to save three lives following a plane crash.
It has also been reported over the years that he had been on the scene at other road incidents in WA, helping to rescue people and assist emergency services.
Bill was originally from Queensland where he had worked as a jackaroo and then as an overseer with sheep and cattle before managing a Santa Gertrudis stud at Longreach.
He made his way across the country in 1976 where he then spent 12 years working on three pastoral stations in the Goldfields before he began his career in Leonora as an agriculture protection officer with the former Agriculture Protection Board.
Bill was responsible for the shires of Leonora, Sandstone, Laverton and Wiluna.
He then headed to Geraldton in 1990 in a similar position, where he helped invent a scatter bait layer for the rabbit problems that the farmers were having.
From 1990-1991 Bill was appointed the State co-ordinator directly responsible for the aerial and ground control during the locust plague and was presented with a shield from the Shire of Greenough in appreciation of his outstanding contribution to the eradication of the locust plague.
The codling moth eradication campaign was next, in 1998.
In addition to this, Bill worked with the WA Quarantine Inspection Service for four and a half years, and was tasked with conducting ship inspections and grain inspections at the Geraldton wharf.
In May 1999 he highlighted the importance of surveillance for pests and diseases not found in WA when he shot an Indian crow that had been spotted at the Geraldton port.
Bill remained on the Batavia coast until 1999 when he relocated to Kalgoorlie to begin working as a livestock inspector.
Quarantine director Greg Pickles said Bill was highly respected and a critical part of DPIRD's livestock interstate border entry procedures.
"After spending nearly a decade inspecting livestock at the old quarantine yards at Parkston, Bill was instrumental in the design and construction of the current quarantine stock yards at South Boulder, which were officially opened in 2010," Mr Pickles said.
"His knowledge of stock handling and import conditions will be greatly missed by colleagues and the livestock industry."
Long-time friend and associate and former Federal Nationals MP Tony Crook - who spoke at his funeral service - said Bill had made "an outstanding contribution to biosecurity in WA" as a quarantine inspector and as an animal welfare officer.
"He was instrumental in the state-of-the-art facility in Kalgoorlie," Mr Crook said.
"I helped him, but he did it.
"We even renamed the entry point 'Gorrie Way' after him, because it was his way or no other way.
"It is a real credit to him.
"He worked closely with industry and was dedicated to his job.
"He was a bureaucrat but he stirred the pot sometimes - but when it came to playing by the rules he was a straight shooter."
Mr Crook said it was a shame Bill didn't get to retire and he would be sadly missed.
Retired DPIRD biosecurity officer and former colleague of 14 years, Peter Spicer, Esperance, also said it was a shame that his mate didn't get to retire but "Bill died with his boots on" which was probably how he would have liked it.
"I enjoyed working with Bill," Mr Spicer said.
"He was meticulous on making sure the documentation was correct before he would carry on.
"He was on call 24/7 in that job.
"He was very flexible - especially when he knew there was a truck coming through after hours.
"He put himself out to get the job done, because he had no back up to call on in Kalgoorlie."
Mr Spicer said Bill had a "dry sense of humour" and it was hard to tell if he was serious or joking sometimes because "it was hard for him to crack a smile".
"He was a straight up person," he said.
"He didn't tolerate fools lightly.
"There were no shades of grey with him but everyone was treated the same.
"He had skills in working with all types of animals from alpacas and horses, to pigs, livestock and camels.
"He would do his job when the job required it, but quite often he would socialise with people when the work was finished."
Mr Spicer said Bill went beyond in his job to keep the quarantine facility up to scratch according to his expected standards.
Livestock transporter Doug Giles, South Newdegate, had known Bill since 2001 when they first met and said he would be sadly missed.
Mr Giles was one of his pallbearers at his cremation last month.
"You couldn't have had a better person that cared for the animals and took care of everyone that went through the Kalgoorlie facility," Mr Giles said.
"I had an accident 12 months ago (when he rolled his truck) and Bill was there and organised everything (including rounding up the stray animals and securing them as well as contacting his family etc?).
"He wasn't just a quarantine officer he was a friend to the industry.
"We will miss him dearly."
Combined Horse Transport (CHT), Wungong, posted that the team was "saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Gorrie".
"Bill was the stock inspector who had devoted his working time to The Department of Agriculture WA for more than 30 years and was responsible for the design and implementation of the current facility in Kalgoorlie which will go down as Bill's legacy and remain something he was very proud of," CHT said.
"Bill was very passionate about the facility and he worked diligently to ensure the WA agriculture sector was protected from any animal or plant related diseases entering WA via Kalgoorlie under his watch.
"Bill was always very helpful and accommodating to make sure the processes went as smoothly as possible and at times of fires, floods and more recently COVID-19 he was always obliging, as the most eastern of WA contact with helpful information to keep everyone safe and well informed.
"We send our condolences to his family and work colleagues.