Dalwallinu site a tribute to McLevie 'tribe'

Jo FulwoodCountryman

With more than 250 years of collective service behind them, the McLevie family is almost an institution within realms of CBH.

So much so, that the receival site in Dalwallinu was graced with the family's name.

Graham McLevie said the site was named after his father, Bob, who worked for CBH in the Dalwallinu district for 35 years.

But Bob's service was surpassed by his son, with Graham retiring in 2003 after 41 years.

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Graham's brothers, Reg, Bob, Colin, Alan and Malcolm, also worked for the company for many years.

"Dad had seven sons, and six worked on CBH sites at various times. I worked from 1961 until 2003. I have a son who is there at the moment, and he has been with CBH for 27 years," Graham said.

"I don't know for sure, but it's probably one of the longest associations between any one family and CBH."

The original Dalwallinu site opened in 1934, when it received 5487 tonnes of grain.

Graham said his father, who was originally a farmer, was part of a group that petitioned CBH to build a receival site in Dalwallinu.

"Granddad was killed in 1930 during the Depression and so the family ended up selling the farm. That's when dad did other work and ended up at the CBH bin in Dalwallinu," Graham said.

"The first site was extended about 1948, and then they built a permanent roof bulkhead in 1952. In the end it had a bin, a permanent roof bulkhead and two open bulkheads."

Dalwallinu's original receival site was closed in 1975 to make way for the new McLevie receival centre, which was built north of town.

"It was because the site needed to expand and there was nowhere to expand in the railway yard in the centre of town," Graham said.

"They needed to upgrade the facilities, but there was a shortage of land, so they moved north, about 4km out of town."

In its first year of operation in 1975, the McLevie receival centre accepted 26,401 tonnes of grain.

"When you think back, it was a good decision. There hasn't been noise problems with the trains working during the night," Graham said.

"The local farmers union wrote to CBH and suggested the new site be named McLevie, after dad. All the old farmers of the district knew of his involvement and service to CBH."

The McLevie site has expanded several times since Bob McLevie officially opened the bin in 1975.

It was extended in 1998, 2004 and most recently in 2011.

The site now boasts horizontal storage and several open bulkheads, and has a maximum capacity of 144,300 tonnes.

In 2012, the site received a record 190,558 tonnes of grain, meaning additional emergency storage had to be built and rail out-loading was scheduled to handle the extra deliveries.

Graham said there were no longer any McLevies in Dalwallinu, but he still thought of it as home.

"There were 14 brothers and sisters in total. We didn't come from a family, we came from a tribe. We all grew up in Dalwallinu, we had a terrific life there," he said.

"It's been 50 years since I've lived there, but I still think of it as home."

Now and then: Dalwallinu and CBH *

The history of the Dalwallinu CBH receival site: *

·The original Dalwallinu receival site opened in 1934. In its first year, the site is recorded as receiving 5487 tonnes.

·In 1939, the original Dalwallinu site received 5976 tonnes.

·The original site was extended about 1948. A permanent roof bulkhead was added in 1952.

·The best year on record for receivals at the original Dalwallinu site was 1967 when 19,154 tonnes was delivered to site.

·The site, comprising a bin, a permanent roof bulkhead and two open bulkheads, received grain until its closure in 1975 when it recorded 883 tonnes.

·Building started for the new site, renamed 'McLevie' after Bob McLevie Senior, in 1973. It was opened for receivals in 1975, recording 26,401 tonnes in that first year.

·Bob McLevie Senior worked for CBH in the Dalwallinu area for 38 years. Six of his seven sons also worked for the company.

·The largest receival recorded at the McLevie site was 190,558 tonnes in 2012.

·It is difficult to establish what segregations the original Dalwallinu site would have received, but it is believed to have taken oats, barley and wheat. In later years, the McLevie site would receive oats, barley, wheat, lupins and canola but recently the site has only taken deliveries of wheat and canola.

There were 14 brothers and sisters in total. We didn't come from a family, we came from a tribe. Graham McLevie

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