In 1957 Alex Schembri and his wife Pat relocated from their lower Hawkesbury River hometown of Brooklyn NSW to Wentworthville when they were hired as a husband and wife team to manage a poultry farm and chicken hatchery at 205 Old Prospect Road. After a decade as successful farm managers they decided they'd like to run their own poultry farm and purchased 25 acres of undeveloped land on the Windsor Road at Vineyard NSW to start their new venture.
Travelling every weekend from Wentworthville to their new property, they worked tirelessly clearing dense bush and trees to prepare their new home site. In 1965 they relocated to Vineyard with their three children to settle in their brand new brick home.
Soon after settling in, they commenced planning their poultry farm. One-by-one, 13 large poultry sheds were built. Alex and Pat began a new industry and became pioneers of raising “started pullets” whereby they reared day-old chickens to the point-of-lay for large commercial poultry farmers located in various areas throughout New South Wales.
Whilst actively running Australia’s largest started pullet farm, Alex and Pat also owned and operated Pat-A-Lex Kennels. For many years they bred and showed purebred German Shepherds and Corgis producing champion puppies from, to name a few, champion sires Braecoola Caesar, Patalex Chieftain and champion bitch Diosma Roxanne. They travelled to many dog shows and received hundreds of awards for their champion dogs.
Alex and Pat became well known and respected for their continuous work in the poultry industry and after 25 years of rearing started pullets, they decided to convert their cage poultry farm to an open range egg farm. They removed all the cages from their sheds enabling their chooks to graze in the open. This change of business saw them become pioneers yet again by supplying open range eggs to a niche market in major health food shops throughout metropolitan Sydney including David Jones food stores.
Keen to expand their knack with animal breeding, Alex and Pat decided to try their hand at thoroughbred horse breeding and racing. Enlisting the services of local Hawkesbury trainers, their mares all produced a winner or two at many Sydney and NSW provincial gallop tracks.
To add variety to their menagerie, Boer goats next came to Alex’s attention and he decided to venture into the meat goat industry. Trading as Norebo Farm, Alex and Pat successfully bred and showed Boer goats. They won the 1999 Sydney Royal Easter Show's “Inaugural Hoof and Hook” Competition and received the Grand Champion Boer Goat award. They also won Champion Buck award at the 2004 Hawkesbury Show and numerous awards at other regional competitions.
Now in their 69th year together, Alex and Pat, are still going strong after decades of hard work pursuing all kinds of animal rearing and farming activities. These days they have downsized their poultry rearing business and are operating a stockfeed store at Laymour Poultry Farm offering friendly helpful service to backyard poultry owners.
Alex still likes to dabble in breeding different varieties of poultry, he has a wealth of knowledge and is extremely happy to be able to assist chook owners in keeping their chooks healthy and laying eggs.
Alex and Pat have three children, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, all are living in the Hawkesbury district.
Alex and Pat's varied farming activities and interests always work hand in hand and made them the successful duo many people return to to buy chickens, chooks, feed, bird seed and supplies, not to mention Alex's expert advice when they need it.
Sadly, at the age of 90, Alex was diagnosed with bowel cancer but he battled on and continued working on his farm until three weeks before he succumbed to the horrible disease on 15th June 2020, one week after his 91st birthday. Alex was a young 91 year old, he loved his work and never missed a beat. He is sadly missed by his wife Pat, their family and their loyal customers.
Alex and Pat's daughter Susan
together with her husband Craig,
are keeping Laymour's
Poultry and Produce Store
open for business as usual 6 days a week
POULTRY, FEED & SEED
Alex and Pat would have celebrated their Platinum Wedding Anniversary
marking 70 years of marriage on
30th January, 2022