VALE: Edna Ray Fraser established Frasers Livestock Transport 75 years ago alongside husband, Charlie.
VALE: Edna Ray Fraser established Frasers Livestock Transport 75 years ago alongside husband, Charlie. Contributed

TRUE GEM: Horse lover helped build a transport empire

A STRONG and resilient woman, Edna Fraser was prominent in business, family and community during her 94 years in and around Warwick.

She was widely known, with husband Charlie Fraser, in the family livestock transport business and later thoroughbred breeding and racing pursuits.

Edna was brought up with siblings Tim, Gladys, Rita and George Gross at Maryvale and Womina, moving to Warwick where she attended East and Warwick High schools before working at Mrs Jensen's Palmerin St dress shop.

Here, no doubt, was honed the innate fashion sense that characterised Edna Fraser throughout her long life.

Immediately after their marriage on September 2, 1944, Charlie and Edna set up CM Fraser Livestock Transport, now Frasers Livestock Transport, which celebrates 75 years in 2019.

Their four children - Ross, Les, Susanne and Peter - were born between 1946 and 1954 during which time Edna was active in the business, keeping the books, answering the phone, giving instructions to drivers and often, as son Ross Fraser recalls, feeding them.

"Dad was the driver and Mum was in charge of the rest," he said.

It wasn't until 1962, 18 years into the business, that she employed an office assistant. During that time, Edna cared for a great-aunt and Charlie's mother who both, in their later years, lived with the family.

The transport depot and workshop, originally behind the Wood St house, moved around the corner to Short St.

As the operation expanded under the second generation, Edna and Charlie retired to Lyndhurst Lane in 1986.

In 1990 the business moved to the Killarney Rd site, which provided ample room for head office, depot and workshop, holding yards and trans-shipping facilities.

Edna and Charlie Fraser carried on their thoroughbred breeding and racing interests, winning in Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.

They spent time at the family grazing property, Richmond Hill, Pratten, settled by the Fraser family in 1888.

Retirement gave more time to follow the polocrosse involvement of sons Les and Peter at local, state and national levels and, as a new generation began to participate in the sport, only "Gran" could be entrusted with laundering white moleskins after each carnival.

Edna volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Akooramak Home for the Aged in Warwick, she provided a regular pick-up, driving older parishioners without means of transport to mid-week church services.

Edna and Charlie attended St Mark's and, once a month, St John's West Warwick or St James's at Pratten, where stained-glass windows commemorate previous generations of Frasers.

Words offered by a family friend during the 1988 celebration of 100 years at Richmond Hill summarise qualities personified by Edna Fraser during her long and eventful life:

"Fraser is a proud name, and a name to be proud of.

"Spare a thought, a grateful one, for those who made it great simply by the way they lived: True Christian folk who had compassion for their fellow man; People who, by their sheer courage, endurance and faith, have shown us how to live".



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