Some serendipity in Yass

The ability to make desirable but accidental discoveries has been part of my life for some time, but over the last 12 months the number of connections, associations and linkages which I have experienced has been staggering.

The wonderful array of books, one of the features of Cafe Dolcetto, has proved serendipitous on more than one occasion.

This time I noticed a book written by a cousin of mine – ‘The Five Foot Road’ (Angus McDonald) about China and as I passed across the coffee table, I noticed another book by R Connolly –‘John Drysdale and the Burdekin’. Serendipity!

I have only just returned from Melbourne, where I had attended an Australian Mercantile Land & Finance (AML&F) company reunion and had been given the AML&F company minute book for the period from 1885 to 1887. Amazingly John Drysdale features as one of the company’s office bearers.

I started research into aspects of the Australian Wool Industry as a leisure pursuit over 12 years ago when working on my family history. The eventual aim was to write a biography of my father, George Le Couteur, who had been very much involved in the Wool Reserve Price Scheme debate in 1965. George was the general manager for Australia of the AML&F and dubbed ‘the leader of the opposition’ in the debate against the pro-statutory marketing group led by the renowned Sir William Gunn.

The biography was put aside after chance comments to Charles Massy by two leaders in the Wool Industry that he "should talk to me to see whether any of George's archival papers or records existed for viewing and research".

Fortunately, five or more boxes packed with ‘goodies’ were handed to Charlie. Materials, which Charlie acknowledges were of significant importance in his being able to reveal the truth about Australia's greatest financial conspiracy in his book ‘Breaking the Sheep's Back’.

In 2004 Charlie Massy sent me 80 pages of his draft book and it looked great, so I stopped writing. In August 2011 Charlie's book was launched, but disappointingly, the three chapters that I was interested in had been omitted by the publishers.

Charlie's book had become focussed on the "greatest financial conspiracy in Australian history", and the Reserve Price Scheme had paled into the background.

I was offered the three chapters for inclusion in the book I was researching ‘Death by Stockpile’. I was also working on a history of the AML&F company. That is the other book I am currently working on (‘AML&F from Centenary to Take-over 1963 to 1982’), and for which the serendipity at Cafe Dolcetto was so important.

I would like to hear from anyone who has stories about the Reserve Price Scheme and/or the AML&F Company. Email or call 0414 327 524.

Michael Le Couteur at Laverstock, Yass. He has been researching into the Australian Wool Industry for 12 years.

Michael Le Couteur at Laverstock, Yass. He has been researching into the Australian Wool Industry for 12 years.


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