John Leard of ANI
Featured Image: Page of the Canberra Times 13 February 1974
You can learn a lot in the front bar of the Belmore Hotel in Scone. At least that used to be the case. I really enjoyed my conversations with the late ‘rural polymath’ Geoff Palmer. Geoff had done most things in the bush as stockman, horse breaker, farrier, shearer, roustabout, thoroughbred trainer, cattle man, drover, shepherd, sale yards supervisor, beer connoisseur and everything and anything in between. One day the subject of early schooling cropped up. Raised at ‘The Cuan’, Owens Gap Geoff had attended the Bunnan Public School. He remarked that the smartest bloke in his class was John Leard, himself the son of a ‘Cuan’ sheep station hand. That awoke my immediate curiosity. Was it the same John Leard who became CEO of ANI? It was! I imagine the same meritocrat was the star alumnus of Bunnan Public School; but there may be others. Here is his story.
Geoff developed a lifelong habit of exploring the various vintages of Toohey’s Black. This could only be achieved from the bottom of a schooner glass. John Leard stuck to an abstemious temperance program. I gravitated to the former ostensibly to further my education.