THE Moree district community is grieving the loss of local farming legend Donald Gerald Quast who died on May 19, 2022. By his bedside was his beloved wife of 65 years Moya.
Mr Quast was an agricultural pioneer and his foresight and inventiveness brought together a community of engaged and progressive local farmers who transformed the farming landscape.
Born August 25, 1928, he was the eldest of two sons from George and Violet Quast and in 1957 he moved with his wife Moya to Crooble with their young family and the property Domang was established. The property was named after Don, Moya's father Oscar Uebergang, Moya and their children. Mr Quast had great pride in his children, Ann, Narelle, June, Greg and Wendy and the role they played in his life and work.
As a young couple, the Quasts started from scratch and despite some very difficult early years, they persevered.
The limited farming equipment that was commercially available at the time was never an issue for Mr Quast. If it didn't exist he would build it in the Domang workshop.
This included several fifty-foot (15 metre) combine planters to pull behind the newly imported Versatile tractors.
Mr Quast had a vision to continuously improve, and make life easier for all on the land. The Domang workshop was always in use either manufacturing or repairing, and he carried a spare parts inventory to rival any local dealership at the time.
Mr Quast was always up for a challenge, trialling new-age crops like sunflowers, soya beans, sorghum, linseed and chickpeas. In 1979, he introduced large-scale cotton production to the Crooble region.
Through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Crooble was an agricultural hub for the north west of New South Wales.
Mr Quast was involved in lots of projects and organisations, as helping others brought him great joy.
Some of these organisations include The Crooble Wheat Growers' association, later known as the Crooble Silo Committee, which after six years of campaigning to have a Crooble silo built, saw it filled within only six days.
He was a founding member of the Crooble Bush Fire Brigade, and was awarded the National Medal Citation in 1995 for his 30 years of service.
Mr Quast was the chairman of the Moree Oilseeds Co-op; spent nine years as a Yallaroi Shire Councillor and 10 years on the Gwydir Valley County Council; and held many other positions throughout the community including 10 years as a member of the Fairview Board.
After 57 years of life at Domang, it was time for the next chapter, leaving the farm in the safe hands of the next generation of Quasts and moving into Moree. Domang is now owned by his grandson David and his wife Grace.
Mr Quast channelled his love for days spent in the workshop into the Moree Men's Shed, and into the funding and development of their new shed, that he was determined to see built in his lifetime. He thought the Moree Men's Shed was a fabulous organisation, albeit one with a little too much talking and not enough productivity.
Mr Quast was a very special, happy and generous man. A great husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.
He wasn't going to let old age get in the way of adventure. At 93, he still had his driver's licence and treated himself to a new car to get around town and he still visited Domang regularly to check on the crops.
The funeral service was held at the Moree Presbyterian Church, with a full house, spilling outside and a massive wake, which was great opportunity for Mrs Quast to catch up with a lot of familiar faces.
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