Lessons Learnt and Learning in my Life
Jun 06, 2023
David Bray
Lessons Learnt and Learning in my Life

David was born in Sydney, but his farther moved the family to Papua New Guinea where they spent five years before moving to Mount Cotton, just southeast of Brisbane. As a poultry farmer’s son, he spent his weekends and holidays working on the farms. 

As one of 45 students to enrol at Redeemer Lutheran College he became school captain from grade 8 to 10 before finishing his early education at Longreach Pastoral College. After graduating, specialising in artificial breeding of cattle, David became a jackaroo working on sheep, beef, and grain properties before heading back to the Chicken farms, due to the 1980’s drought, where he worked in all areas of production. David’s role became a fill in wherever there was a problem David was sent in to help. 

After falling in love with the girl next door (also the Bosses daughter) he followed his newly graduated special education teacher fiancé back to Longreach. Having to get a real job (driving trucks was not a real job) and was successful in joining the Elders group. Starting off as an Office Clerk, David was soon promoted through the organisation and ended up Managing the largest Merchandise in Qld at Roma. 

Now married to Anna, he was tapped on the shoulder to return to the “family” business. Starting with two sheds of Breeding birds, David was tasked with building the new breeder production farm, while recruiting and managing the farm. By the time he was 28 David had built a 32 shed farm and was running 50 staff on a 7 day a week, 52 week a year roster. 

After 5 years as Breeder Operations Manager, David was moved to head office where he continued to build sheds/farms for the Darwalla Group. His role changed from year to year and covered all areas of the business, this included building the Quality Assurance system, Human Resources, Feed mill manager. The only role David has not done in the Business has been in Finance.    

As he continued to develop new farms, David spent a lot of time working with people outside of the business. This led him to take up community liaison roles that saw him become involved in Industry organisations. These included being on the Boards of the Stockfeed Manufactures of Australia, Australian Chicken Meat Council, Water Committees, Chambers of commerce, Queensland Farmers Federation Intensive Livestock committee, Australasian Milling Conference and eventually as a Director of the International Feed Industry Federation and Chair of the Sustainability Committee.

As the business is a family business David has been very involved in planning and implementing generational change, moving from generation two the gen 3. With this David has taken up roles as a Director on the Board of Directors for the two-family companies. To assist the family, and family members, the Darwalla Group of Companies is an active member of Family Business Australia.   

As David’s role included Research and Development, he spent a number of years working on the planning and development of a Renewable Energy facility that would utilise the chicken manure and produce 12 Mega Watts of electricity. After 10 years of work, in 2017 the project was cancelled due to unfavourable economics at the time.

In 2015, David’s eldest child, Georgia, decided to become a Rotary exchange student. As always happens in Rotary there was a request to help out on the committee. David volunteered to assist but as part of this he needed to become a Rotarian. In 2016 David became the Chair of the Rotary Exchange Program, sent their son, Sam, to Czechoslovakia. After managing the Students through COVID in 2020-2021 David’s term as Chair was completed. 

David is now an active member of his club, Redlands Bayside, and is assisting the Rotary Australia Repurposing Equipment move from their current facilities in Kingston to the new (old chook farm) facilities in Cleveland.