Mr ENTSCH: I rise today to pay tribute to one of my constituents and a great Far North Queenslander who recently passed away.
D’arcy Byrnes of Byrnes Quality Meats will be fondly remembered by all of those who were fortunate enough to know him as a giant in the Australian meat industry.
Originally a carpenter, D’Arcy purchased his first butcher shop in 1960 in Atherton with his wife, Raylee, after trading in his Mareeba milk run business.
It was from these humble beginnings that D’Arcy went about quietly building his empire. D’Arcy then purchased a slaughter yard near Tolga in 1962—a cornerstone of his business empire to this day.
This proved to be a masterstroke when regulations surrounding slaughter yards were changed during the 1970s and D’Arcy had the foresight to obtain his abattoir licence.
With so many slaughter yards across the region unwilling to upgrade, they eventually closed, leaving D’Arcy with one of the only abattoir licences in our region.
It was around this time that D’Arcy moved his family from the tablelands to Cairns, where he built his family flagship wholesale and retail stores at Manunda.
D’Arcy started building up a loyal customer base and further expanded the business operations by purchasing a wholesale and bulk storage facility at Portsmouth in Cairns.
Over the years, D’Arcy also purchased three cattle stations covering at one point five million acres near Coen in Cape York to help service his Rocky Creek abattoir and ultimately his stores.
You could say that D’Arcy was one of the first proponents of the ‘paddock to the plate’ concept.
Byrnes Quality Meats grew to become a Cairns institution that employs some 150 locals.
In an interview in the Cairns Post recently, D’Arcy said that, over the years, he had seen the grandmother and the mother then the daughter and the grandkids all coming into his shop.
In fact, you can find Byrnes meats on the menu of pubs, restaurants, hotels, eateries and other butcher stores across the region, which are all of his products.
I must admit I’ve eaten my fair share of Burns Quality Meats over the years, and the cuts of meat have never disappointed.
I’m sure that there are thousands of other people who have enjoyed D’Arcy’s products over the years as they fired up their backyard barbecue.
D’Arcy is survived by his wife, Raylee; his son, Victor; daughter, Darcia and six grandchildren.
D’Arcy was a leader, a hard worker, a gentleman and an absolute pioneer.
He will surely be missed by all of those who knew him, but his legacy will continue through the business that he established nearly six years ago.
One of the things that I will miss every wet season is getting a phone call from D’Arcy giving me an upgrade on the road and telling me what needs to be done so he could get access to his properties in Cape York.
Can I say to you: D’Arcy, rest in peace, mate.