Gwebi College of Agriculture logo Gwebi College of Agriculture address

News about former students

Course 8

Bob Cary (Course 8)
Robert Charles Cary attended Course 8 at Gwebi along with his friend Clive Nicolle, who also passed away during 2019.
Bob Cary was well known in the Darwendale, Trelawney and Banket districts, and across the broader Zimbabwe farming community.  Bob was successful; Cockington Estate in Darwendale was a diverse commercial operation for which Bob should be extremely proud.  Some of the achievements to note would be “Ground Nut King” in the late 70’s, the production of Cockington Wine, a very successful Charolais breeder, export flowers and Rhodes Grass, regular high scoring in the Tobacco Grower of the Year annual competition, and his love for Wild Life with the creation of Shields Game Park and Lodge where 22 species of plains game thrived, having relocated breeding pairs from around Zimbabwe.
Bob passed away on the 21st September, 2019 while on holiday in Portugal.
He is one of these successful and innovative farmers that this country was blessed with. He was never shy of sharing any of his knowledge, experience and success with the next generation of farmers, or his neighbours. He has left a valuable legacy of knowledge, albeit with his family and the next generation of farmers. Although he will be sadly missed he will most certainly not be forgotten as he was one of the great characters in his district.
He is survived by his wife Shirley and their children Robert, Lorraine and Rozanne and their families, grandchildren and great grandchild, Bob will be sorely missed.
Consolidated from tributes from Colin Lowe

Bob Dunckley (Course 8).
Born in Ndola, Bob attended Whitestones in Bulawayo then St Andrews College in Grahamstown. He was awarded a First Class Diploma with Course 8 in 1958. After National Service he graduated with a B.Sc.Agric from Natal University and returned to the family farm.
After marrying Naomi they worked in Canada for seven months then returned home before joining Lever Bros.
He was Farm Manager at Gwebi from 1972 to 1975 then worked for a year in Nelspruit.
Bob returned to Gwebi as Head of Field Section and succeeded Hugh McLean as Principal after Independence.
While they were at Gwebi, Naomi ran the Poultry Husbandry Section from 1979. Bob was farming in Enterprise until displaced by Farm Invasions then they moved to Blackfordby in Banket where he became Head.

Phillip “Clive” Nicolle (Course 8)
Clive, eldest son of P.E.N. Nicolle was third generation Pioneer stock. His father was a friend of Rodney Mundy and hosted many tours from Gwebi, and the next generation continued the tradition.
Clive enrolled at Gwebi College of Agriculture with Course 8.
He led from the front, and was a farmer, businessman, community man and above all a family man. Clive like so many loved the country of his birth, and when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe his energy was not found wanting as he worked to make the country a better place. He was tough, loved by many, not so much by some, but above all he spoke his mind, and was never frightened to be personally involved.
He never stopped developing and investing in the country, and pushed to get projects like the grain silos built in Chinhoyi involving the farming community. His business ventures were wide and varied, and he was proud of the fact that his family were a big part of feeding Zimbabwe. It was a great disappointment to him and his family, that after getting the Biri Dam built and again involving the local farming community, the water was never used by those who invested in the project.
Apart from flying, he loved polo, and with his wife of 60 years Elizabeth, known by many as Liz travelled the globe playing polo. He played polo for Zimbabwe, and was president of the polo association for many years. It was not surprising when Clive and Elizabeth decided to build a polo field on their farm. Many a fine game was held at the venue, and good times were had by all.
Clive passed away peacefully aged 81 at home in Maleny, Queensland after a long illness on 15th July 2019. He left Elizabeth and the family, Philip, Patrick, Beth and John, with their families, many grandchildren, and a great grandchild.
Consolidated from tributes posted by Colin Lowe.

Beverley Arthur Suter (Course 8)
There are no two ways about it, Arthur lived an extraordinary life, full of twists and turns, plans, action and adventure, and I was privileged to walk with him for 55 years.
His beginnings were small, and I mean that quite literally. He was born two months premature in a tiny Maternity home, in Gwelo, more or less in the centre of Rhodesia. He weighed just one and a half pounds and by the time he went home, he had lost that precious half pound. His Mom told me he was so small he was lost in the baby clothes she had prepared, so she knitted two sets of doll's clothes so he had something to wear. The very fact he survived was a small miracle in itself, helped along by his devoted mother and the Matron. It was an indication of his determination to survive no matter what! He was the third child of Arthur and Maddy Suter, and had two older brothers.
When the time came to go to school, Arthur had to attend boarding school, which was not his favourite time. Nevertheless he found a life-long interest in electricity and electronics and built himself a radio receiver from bits and pieces, equipped with an enormously long wire aerial, which he set up by climbing the huge gum tree outside his dormitory window. When he was older he built a complete sound centre and hi-fi from scratch.
The years passed and when he was sixteen he began his apprentice as a shopfitter, wherein he became a skilled artisan. However he continued his studies at night classes. Arthur had always longed to fly and applied to join the Rhodesian Air force when he finished his apprenticeship, but was rejected as he had to wear glasses. In the process his horizons had grown and expanded; so he decided to use his savings, and enrolled at Gwebi Agricultural College in 1956; from where he graduated two years later with a First Class Diploma with distinctions in Engineering and Practical.
Some years later on a quick trip down to Cape Town to see his Mom and Dad, God stepped in when we met and fell in love. At the time I was 19 and studying at the university. We were married about 12 months later, when I finished my exams, and moved up to Rhodesia, where we began our married life.
Things progressed steadily, and we were blessed by the arrival of three beautiful babies - Charmaine in 1969, Keith in 1971 and Renee in 1973. Arthur began farming in a small way, on the family farm at weekends and his Mom and Dad kept an eye on things during the week while Arthur was working in town. He started with a small, but good, group of cows and a pedigree bull, and his herd grew and thrived; he tilled, fertilized and planted crops - it was hard, but satisfying work. The machinery, tractors and equipment he bought second hand, overhauled and renovated to good working condition. During this time he also began training for his Private Pilot's licence, studying navigation along with other subjects. We bought a small aeroplane and he achieved his licence. Our family had outgrown the seats in the 'plane, so Arthur drew up and submitted plans to the Department of Aviation for a kiddies seat in the luggage area. His plans were ap­proved and he built the seat. Arthur had been part of the Volunteer Army Reserve since leav­ing school, and was required to attend camps regularly. He told us he learned discipline during this time, but he found it very frustrating never actually knowing just what they were doing. Soon after we were married he transferred to the Air force Reserve and enjoyed that a great deal better as he was involved in the Intelligence, radio, Mission control and planning section. As the terrorist war broke out in Rhodesia, greater calls were made on the reservists and they were called up more and more frequently to fill the gaps in the manpower of the regular forces. This meant quite long absences from home, with no communication (as this would have been dangerous for the men). We never knew just where he was, or what he was involved in and it was always a joy to greet him each time he came home. Gradually over time we began to see that no matter how much we tried there would be no future for our children in Rhodesia. This was particularly hard for Arthur, who loved his country dearly, had fought for her, and wanted his children to have the same sort of childhood he himself had enjoyed. We began to apply to various countries to be accepted as immigrants, one of which was Australia. The process took over three years, until we were finally given an interview. The Australian Immigration officer casually told Arthur we would find living in Australia rather tough after riding on the backs of the Africans for so many years. This had the same effect on Arthur as a red rag to an angry bull. He promptly and forcefully pointed out that in Rhodesia we had NO apartheid. In fact it was the Africans who could claim free schooling for their children and free health benefits for themselves and their families, while the Europeans had to pay for all these services. We also provided them with accommodation, and often clothes as well along with their pay. We walked out of the interview quite sure we would be rejected - but Arthur felt he had at least put the other side of the situation forward. We had virtually given up hope when out of the blue we received a letter from the Embassy informing us we would need to be in Australia by the end of March.
This meant a huge change of direction, turning his back on all he had built up so far, but he felt strongly it was in the best interests of his children. He resolutely set about selling all the animals on the farm, all the equipment he had worked so hard to repair and restore including a Caterpillar D7 he and his Dad had worked on for months; along with all our household goods. Relatives in Melbourne had offered us a place in their home for as long as we needed it, which was greatly appreciated. We finally got to meet Arthur's uncles, aunts and cousins. Arthur found a job quite quickly and we moved into a rented house and began life in Australia.
Time passed and he bought a small industrial engraving business, which thrived and gave us a living. We were blessed by the arrival of our two Dinkum Aussies, Yvette and Angus, completing our family. We began home-schooling the children and after some months Arthur began to think of how we could expand their horizons. He loved sail­ing and had sailed home-made boats on the farm dam from when he was a young lad. As the children grew he made sure they knew how to sail and row and were confident in small boat handling. The germ of an idea took root and grew, of buying or fixing up a boat suitable for ocean travel and taking the youngsters over to Africa to see where we had come from. The children were keen and eager to be part of the adventure. After some avid searching he found Kiley, a 45ft steel ketch.
Once again a mammoth change in direction and we sold the house and furniture and moved up to Gladstone, where we worked on the boat for just over three years. During this time Arthur spent time with each of the youngsters, teaching them how to use tools, solve problems, create what was needed, and check to see it worked properly; putting to use all his electronic, engineering, welding, planning and building skills. Finally he guided us through the preparatory trial sails until we finally set off.
Sailing was truly an amazing experience and yes we had our storms, and beautiful times, laughter and tears, sickness at sea with pretty well everything else jammed in. We arrived at Durban then sailed around the Cape of Storms to Cape Town. God was with us through it all.
Arthur felt the responsibility keenly, and was very proud of his crew - often telling people he would not have done it without their cooperation and support. An incident springs to mind soon after we left Spain. We were hit by a series of heavy Atlantic storms all coming from the direction we were trying to go. For the first time Arthur succumbed to sea-sickness. Soon we were all sick, exhausted and demoralized and were slowly being forced onto the long shallow Moroccan coast - a place we did NOT want to visit. We had been tacking for hours and not making much progress against the screaming wind. Arthur was on watch and he took our troubles to the Lord, telling him we had done everything we could and asking God what more we could do. Just then he looked up and just for a moment caught sight of a very bright star, before it disappeared behind the heavy storm clouds. Arthur said it was as thought God had said "Don't worry I'm still here - just like the star even though you can't see it, I am still here looking after you. Just keep going." A few hours later the wind changed direction slightly and we began to make progress. We continued and arrived in Australia later that year.
Once again he prepared for a huge change of direction. Soon we were clearing our things off Kiley and into storage. Arthur had decided it was time to sell his beloved Kiley and begin a new adventure. He was keen to try farming again and eventually bought a bush block out at Yarwun, just north of Gladstone. Arthur spent the next few years planning and building again - taking what we could afford and turning it into what he wanted. He set about making roads, building sheds, a small dairy and a house and gradually getting settled.
Throughout all his long, busy and active life, one thing stands out like a beacon, God walked all the way with him, carrying him through the rough patches, leading him through the tough situations and cheering him on when things went well before taking him home to be with Him forever.
Edited by Steve Bennett from an Obituary, Rhodesians Worldwide 35(3):26-7.

Additional information to add to this page from family and friends is welcome. Please go to the Contact page.

DISCLAIMER
Information and content has been supplied by other parties so no warranty (express or implied) is given to its completeness, accuracy or fitness for a particular purpose.

Return to Top of page and to Menus

©2021 Steve Bennett