Merton Stud Dispersal 1918

Merton Stud Dispersal 1918

Featured Image: Catalogue for ‘The Merton Stud Dispersal Sale Thursday 19th September 1918’

Acknowledge: The late Harley Walden’s cache of old thoroughbred sales catalogues

1918 must have been a year of careful review and cautious revision for eminent Stud Masters in the Hunter Valley. The Merton Stud Sale of proprietor Mr E Reginald White followed the earlier dispersal of William Brown’s Segenhoe Stud in January 1918. It’s eminently possible that the cataclysmic events of WWII 1914 – 1818 precipitated such responses? Mr E Reginald White was a prominent member of the leviathan White pastoral family originally headed by the Honourable James White of ‘Kirkham Stud’, Narellan in the thoroughbred arena. ‘Belltrees’ was the totem family property in the Upper Hunter; supported by ‘Edinglassie’ at Muswellbrook and ‘Martindale’ at Denman.

Continue reading →

Segenhoe Stud Dispersal 1918

Segenhoe Stud Dispersal 1918

Featured Image: Catalogue for the ‘Unreserved Dispersal Sale of the Segenhoe Stud’ on Thursday, January 3rd 1918, the Property of Mr. Wm. Brown

I duly acknowledge the rich archive of old catalogues assiduously collected and lovingly preserved by my late friend Harley Walden. I ‘inherited’ the treasure trove. It’s a bit like Aladdin’s cave if you’re a thoroughbred racing and breeding aficionado as Harley was.

I wrote earlier about the ‘rebarbative’ John Brown. See: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/brown-john-1850-1930/ . I also ‘borrowed information from two other sources namely;

http://kingsoftheturf.com/1909-the-rebarbative-john-brown-and-prince-foote/

and

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brown-john-5388

Continue reading →

Harry & Max

Harry & Max

Photo: AAP

I decided to include this tribute to two of the legendary horse breakers over the past 70 years. Maybe that should read ‘legendary young horse educators’? It could also be named ‘the master and the master’s apprentice’. They both have an association with our area through their close alliance with Randwick and the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales which are dominated by Upper Hunter-bred yearlings. Harry worked a season at Sledmere Stud in the late 1940s where he was a mentor to the emerging tyro, young Harley Walden. I can also claim that I knew both of them albeit fairly casually. It would seem that the ‘real characters’ of this genre, gender and generation appear to be disappearing? Having just turned 76 I would say that wouldn’t I?

Also on this website is live video footage of the master yearling handler Harry Meyer in the ring at the Inglis Sales Complex. See: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/the-vet-on-the-stud-farm/

The ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ is that Cameron Crockett is relocating to Scone in 2019. Welcome to Scone Cameron!

Continue reading →

Scone Literary Long Week End

Scone Literary Long Week End

Featured Image: Acknowledge ‘Maintain the Page’; The Scone literary Long Week End inspires Passion for Books’ by Paula Stevenson; ‘The New England Magazine Spring 2015’

The luminaries are Dr Judy White AM PhD of ‘Belltrees’, Graham Simsion (Guest Author), ‘Soiree in the Garden’ plus inaugural President Anne Davies, Dr Patrice Newell PhD and Phillip Adams AC.

See: http://www.sconewritersfestival.com.au/

This is how it began; see title above. OK it mutated to the Scone Writers Festival. So be it. I have a few regrets; but not many.

Continue reading →

The Wingen Competiton

The Wingen Competition

Featured Image: Wingen Maid Mountain | by © R S Smith, Lake Munmorah NSW. Try looking from different angles and use your imagination.

Prologue

My good mate Greg Scott gave a superb rendition of Col Wilson’s (‘Blue the Shearer’) poem about the local pub at Wingen at our recent Writer’s Festival in Scone. The pub is named the Durham Hotel; but no-one actually calls it that. Overlooking the village of Wingen is the ancient rock formation the ‘Wingen Maid’. It’s supposed to represent a woman when viewed from certain angles? There might have been many angles and lots of ‘we wish’ from patrons leaving the Wingen Pub after a long session? I’ll leave it to your imagination. It has a much deeper ‘dreamtime’ association for the original local inhabitants, the Wonnarua people.

The Wingen Maid & Man in the Mountain

Located on a hillside off the New England Highway is a rock formation that, when viewed, from a particular direction, it resembles a lady sitting down on the side of the mountain. The rock feature which gives its name to the nature reserve is the ‘Wingen Maid’, an important figure in the beliefs of the Wonnarua Aboriginal people. They believe the land-form to be that of a woman who was waiting for her husband to return from battle and when he didn’t arrive she wished to die. Instead she was turned to stone. On the northern side of Dry Creek Road, the ‘Man in the Mountain’ is clearly visible from the road. This is an Aboriginal face in the mountain looking toward the Wingen Maid.

The Wingen Whine

There was an ugly rumour that a native who may or may not have been a winemaker produced a vintage purportedly representing the local area. He called it the ‘Wingen Whine’ which was sold in the pub. I’m reliably informed the bouquet was pithy, the pallet pungent, the nose piercing and the taste to ‘die for’; or maybe you will die? I’ve yet to meet an informed survivor. Maybe the ‘whine’ gave rise to the poem; or possibly the obverse? Perchance the ‘whine’ had a perverse effect?

Continue reading →

Professor W R ‘Twink’ Allen

Professor W R ‘Twink’ Allen

Featured Image: Acknowledge Sharjah Equine Hospital, Sharjah, U.A.E.

Prologue

I confess I stretch things a bit at times. This is one of those times. ‘Twink’ Allen has visited Scone on numerous occasions; but was never ‘resident’ here. His unbounded enthusiasm is at once infectious and catching. Twink is one of those rare individuals who can inspire, thrill, antagonise, stimulate, challenge, motivate, enthuse, encourage, excite and galvanise; all at first meeting. Then it becomes interesting. ‘Dull’ is not on the agenda. He has been known to ‘ruffle feathers’; and is not apologetic? Controversy is his middle name. His cosmic career has been, and continues to be, exceptional. I have selected two encomiums to his legacy which I hope capture the story. Have I mentioned plunder, plagiarize and purloin before? The journey continues in Sharjah. I was going to say something about his being Frankie Dettori’s father-in-law; but I won’t. Maybe Frankie is his son-in-law? Just musing.

Throughout my own relatively undistinguished career in ‘reproductive’ equine veterinary science Twink has been a guiding light. I think I/we ‘put the wind up him’ a bit when we flew in a small ‘plane to Widden to look at the stallion Vain? Landing on the airstrip can be a trite purgative; proximal or distal?

Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor W R ‘Twink’ Allen BVSc (Syd), PhD (Cantab), ScD (Cantab), DSc (h.c.mult), DESM, Dip ECAR, FRAgSE, FSB, FRCVS,CBE

https://www.j-evs.com/article/S0737-0806(18)30421-0/fulltext

Twink Allen has, without doubt, been one of the most influential and recognizable figures in the development of equine reproduction, and its establishment as a clinical specialty in its own right. For 50 years, he has been at the forefront of scientific discovery into reproductive endocrinology, embryo and placental development, and the development of novel clinical techniques and their refinement for clinical practice. Twink’s academic endeavours extend into nearly all aspects of equine reproduction, including early embryo development, the developmental origins of adult health and disease (the ‘Barker’ hypothesis), the maternal recognition of pregnancy, placentation, endocrine physiology and exogenous hormonal manipulation of the reproductive cycle, the development of assisted reproductive technologies including embryo transfer, embryo cryopreservation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the creation of identical twins by embryo splitting, cloning by somatic nuclear transfer and the generation of embryonic stem cell lines.

Professor W.R. (Twink) Allen CBE, ScD, FRCVS

http://srf-reproduction.org/professor-w-r-twink-allen-cbe-scd-frcvs/

Former positions: Jim Joel Professor of Equine Reproduction, University of Cambridge and Director, The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Equine Fertility Unit, Mertoun Paddocks, Newmarket, Suffolk

SYNOPSIS OF CAREER

Veterinary graduate from the University of Sydney, January, 1965.

PhD degree, University of Cambridge 1966-1970. Supervisor Dr Roger Short. Title of thesis; “Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadtrophin”.

Post-doctoral Fellowship at The Animal Research Station, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge. 1970-1972. Supervisor Mr L.E.A. (Tim) Rowson FRS Senior Research Scientist, TBA Equine Fertility Unit, The Animal Research Station, Cambridge 1972-1988. Supervisor Professor T.R.R. Mann FRS Director, TBA Equine Fertility Unit, Mertoun Paddocks, Woodditton Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, 1988-2007.

Appointed Jim Joel Professor of Equine Reproduction at the University of Cambridge, 1996.

Retired aged 67 years in December, 2007.

Honorary Director, the Paul Mellon Laboratory of Equine Reproduction, “Brunswick”, Woodditton Road, Newmarket, Suffolk. 2008-2015.

Director, The Equine Reproduction Laboratory, Sharjah Equine Hospital, Sharjah, U.A.E. 2015 to the present.

CAREER  HIGHLIGHTS

1) The great good fortune to “sneak my way by accident” into Roger Short’s laboratory in Cambridge and be able to do a PhD on equine reproduction under his inspiring supervision.

2) The equal good fortune to post-doc at the Animal Research Station in Cambridge, a veritable Animal reproduction scientific powerhouse, under the supervision and tutelage of Tim Rowson.

There to carry out the first embryo transfers in horses and donkeys with Tim and to discover when collaborating with Dr Bob Moor FRS that the chorionic girdle portion of the fetal membranes is the progenitor tissue of the unique equine endometrial cups in the pregnant mare and is therefore the source of the equine-unique protein hormone, equine Chorionic Gonadotrophin (eCG), which is present in large quantities in the blood of early pregnant mares and other equids (Days 40-120 of gestation) and which stimulates the development of secondary or accessory corpora lutea in the mare’s ovaries to maintain the pregnancy state until the diffuse epitheliochorial placenta is sufficiently well established to assume the role of progesterone supplier.

3) Again with Tim Rowson, the development and practical application of both surgical and non-surgical methods of embryo recovery and transfer in the mare and, with Franseca Stewart and Alan Trounson, the successful transport of 6 horse embryos in the oviducts of two rabbits by car to Krakow in Poland in 1974 for transfer to recipient mares there with the birth of 3 live foals in 1975, all in close and enjoyable collaboration with Wadslaw Bielanski and Marian Tischner of The Institute of Animal Physiology in Krakow.

4) The organisation and successful running of the First International Symposium of Equine Reproduction in Cambridge in July, 1974.

5) The successful trialling and practical application of the reproductive hormones, prostaglandin F analogues (Equimate and Estrumate), allyl trenbolone (Regumate) and Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues (Deslorelin) to practical horse breeding, all with the collaborative assistance of the studfarm veterinary practitioners in Newmarket, notably Peter Rossdale, Bob Crowhurst, Donald Simpson, Richard Greenwood and David Ellis.

6) The successful bisection and reconstruction of horse embryos to create a number of pairs of genetically identical twin foals, all in collaboration with Steen Willadsen, Robert Pashen and Lulu Skidmore.

7) The early development and practical application of the technique of transrectal ultrasonography to Thoroughbred horse breeding for the accurate visual assessment of follicular growth, ovulation and corpus luteum development and for the early accurate diagnosis of singleton and twin pregnancy and early pregnancy failure. This work was also carried out in collaboration with the Newmarket veterinary practitioners and the technique of scanning has since revolutionised horse breeding throughout the world.

8) Development with Dr Julia Kydd of the extraspecies donkey-in-horse model of early pregnancy loss as a consequence of failure of implantation and placentation resulting from the failure of the donkey chorionic girdle to invade the horse endometrium to form endometrial cups.

9) The creation by between-breed embryo transfer of “deprived” Thoroughbred-in-Pony and “luxurious” Pony-in-Thoroughbred pregnancies to study the influences of maternal and placental size on the development of the foal.

10) Determination that blockage of the oviducts in mares can be a cause of infertility which can be simply overcome by the laparoscopic application of PGE2 gel to the external surface of the oviduct.

11) Other career highlights include gaining a Fellowship of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) by thesis, election to the Polish Academy of Sciences, the award of Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Krakow, Gent and Helsinki and election to the Hall of Fame for Equine Research in America and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Symposia of Equine Reproduction Committee.

VALUE OF  SRF  MEMBERSHIP

One of the great pleasures of my academic career has been membership of SRF (originally SSF) Since my PhD days. It is friendly and warm, yet structured and formal when necessary, and it provides the perfect platform for reproductive biology researchers to present their results and to learn and be able to discuss, formally and informally, the findings of others. I have met and remained good friends with many colleagues from attending SRF meetings over the past 50 years and I am deeply grateful to the society for both its scientific stimulation and its friendship.

Great Clashes of the Past

Great Clashes of the Past

Featured Image: ‘Gloaming’ with acknowledgement to ‘Century of Champions’ by Mark Taylor

Filed in Sports Recent by Elizabeth Flaherty September 17, 2016

By Harley Walden

Acknowledge: http://www.scone.com.au/great-clashes-past/

My late great friend and colleague Harley Walden was virtually the ‘Bert Lillye of the Bush’ when it came to writing about racing with a bucolic flavour? He excelled with this contribution on Scone.com. Thank you also Liz Flaherty of Scone’. I have written elsewhere on this ‘Blog’ about ‘Beauford’.

Harley writes:

THE Australian and New Zealand turf is studded with memorable and heroic clashes between champions, yet there is one that stands alone and 82,000 people who were at Randwick on September 30, 1922, would vouch for that.

The horses were Gloaming, of Christchurch, and Beauford of Newcastle.

They met four times in 25 days at weight-for-age in Sydney and the score was two each.

Testimony to their greatness and the excitement of their tussles in that spring of 1922 at Randwick and Rosehill is found everywhere closing in of nearly a century later both in Sydney and no doubt New Zealand, too.

Looking down on patrons at the top of the Members’ Stand escalators in the Canterbury track are framed pictures of the finish of two of their races—the Spring Stakes and the Craven Plate at Randwick.

Gloaming won 57 races from 67 starts.

Agitated jockeys probably never notice and stewards are usually too busy to look at the pictures on the wall, but the stipes inner-sanctum at Randwick is adorned with poses pictures of two plain looking geldings, Beauford and Gloaming.

The two old champs seem to stare down on everyone and everything, including the video equipment which did not exist in their day.

What makes this pair the pick in the history of Australian racing?

What makes them so mighty and how did they attract 82,000 to Randwick for their decider in the weight-for-age Spring Stakes (12 furlongs) on September 30, 1922, when the Australian population was five million?

There is a heap of candidates for the best of the great clashes in major weight-for-age classic and handicap events in New Zealand.

Not the least of them the Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star, the two New Zealand geldings who fought it out head to head, shoulder to shoulder, with whips cracking in the $750,000 W S Cox Plate over 2040m at Moonee Valley on October 25, 1986.

The public did not seem to mind that this an all-New Zealand finish, that the two geldings from across the Tasman annihilated the Aussie opposition, and that in fact the third horse, the Filbert, was also a New Zealander.

Who could ever forget the finish of the 1956 Melbourne Cup, as Bart Cumming’s two champions Light Fingers and Ziema went to the line locked together and the Prince of race-callers the late Ken Howard declaring a dead-heat, and then! “No I’ll give it to Light Fingers”.

That one was one of the many in a list of hundreds with New Zealand horses, jockeys and trainers playing a major role, from the days of Carbine in 1888 when he was a three-year-old, over from the Dominion to take on Australia’s best.

Phar Lap did not engage in any notable clashes for the good reason that he was in a class of his own and the same applied to Tulloch when he was at his peak as a super three-year-old. And it was a pity that Bernborough never met Shannon.

Kingston Town’s amazing finish to win his third W S Cox Plate in 1982 put him in the history books forever, yet the King did not have many great weight-for-age struggles as he was usually too good for his opposition.

The modern generation will remember the enthralling bouts between the big grey mare Emancipation and the compact bay three-year-old colt Sir Dapper in the Sydney autumn of 1984.

They stated off in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 11.

Sir Dapper (Mick Dittman) was first by 1-3/4 lengths from Emancipation (Ron Quinton).

Emancipation finished the race with blood oozing from a wound on her hind leg.

She had an excuse.

The stage was therefore set for round two in the George Ryder Stakes over 1400m at Rosehill on April 7.

This time, Emancipation (Quinton) led all the way to beat Sir Dapper who was pocketed, Dittman having no room fore or aft as the wily Quinton held Sir Dapper in.

Sir Dapper started favourite for their third clash in the All Aged Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 22.

Emancipation led all the way, holding Sir Dapper’s challenge, but the courageous colt was badly stripped in the run, blood pouring from a sickening-looking hole in his hind leg.

Emancipation had won the three round contest 2-1 and the two Sydney horses had outclassed their rivals.

Sir Dapper did not get his chance for revenge as his trainer Les Bridge and owners – Mr and Mrs Peter Horwitz, Mr and Mrs Morrie Macleod, Mike Willesee and Robbie Porter—retired him immediately to the Trans Media Stud at Cootamundra.

Many of these clashes are fresh in our minds, but the real big start came with the meeting of Cruciform, a New Zealander, and Wakeful, a Victorian, in 1903.

Mr G G Stead set the ball rolling by practically challenging Mr Leslie Macdonald of Melbourne to pit Wakeful, the champion of Australia, in the Spring Stakes against Cruciform the champion of New Zealand.

Mr Stead bought his famous mare across the Tasman and the newspapers did the rest.

This distinguished pair duly met in the Spring Stakes and they were received by a crowd which old hands declared doubled the biggest ever previously seen at Randwick.

Cruciform (Les Hewitt) beat Wakeful (F Dunn) by a head after a dour head-to-head struggle over the Randwick 1½ miles. Wakeful was trained in Melbourne by Hugh Munro, the father of the champion jockeys Darby and Jim. Cruciform was trained by Dick Mason who was to return with Gloaming.

If half of what one read in the Melbourne papers was correct, it was fair to assume that double as many people went to Flemington as to Randwick.

The day Carbine beat Abercorn in the Champion Stakes there were certainly double as many at Flemington s at Randwick a month later when Abercorn downed Carbine in the Autumn Stakes.

But the sporting enterprise of Messrs Stead (owner of Cruciform) and Macdonald (owner of Wakeful) transformed comparative sympathy into keen interest and, people have since enriched racecourse proprietors beyond the dreams of avarice.

These great clashes virtually founded racings’ appeal to the public.

It was of course to become the nation’s number one spectator sport until the birth of the TAB which has encouraged the masses to bet but not attend the track.

If Carbine, Abercorn, Wakeful and Cruciform were the first to draw the crowds after the construction of grandstands, then there were memorable contests to follow.

The stands got bigger.

Some of these horses are legends, not merely by virtue of the history books of the turf, but by pub and club differences of opinion.

Shannon never clashed with Bernborough, one of the great contests that never came off.

Kindergarten had one run here, failed and went back to New Zealand where he remains a legend.

And yes Todman did beat Tulloch in the Champagne Stakes in the second of their meetings, Tulloch won the other (conclusively) in in the Sires’ Produce Stakes of 1957 at Randwick.

Gunsynd and Tails revived memories of the greats of the past at Randwick on April 4, 1972, when they had a ding-dong battle down the straight in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 1 ¾ miles.

Tails (Sammy Howard) beat Gunsynd (Roy Higgins) by ¾ of a length.

This was one of the best races of the modern era, two personality horses of character and fighting spirit going stride for stride and the crowd roared its approval for Tails even though Gunsynd was the hot favourite.

Chatham, Rogilla and Winooka—three of the greatest horses ever to grace Randwick—ran first, second and third in that order in the 1932 Epsom after Rogilla and Chatham had dear-heated in the Tramway Hcp leading up to the Epsom.

They were almost certainly the top three as a group ever to fill the placings in a major Group one handicap over a mile at Randwick.

Gunsynd, Tails, Comic Court, Emancipation, Sir Dapper, Chatham, Peter Pan, Rogilla, Carbine, Abercorn, Wakeful and all the others included could not match the sustained excitement of the four Beauford-Gloaming bouts of 1922.

This is how they finished—Chelmsford Stakes Sept 9, 1922 won by Beauford, the Hill Stakes Sept 16, 1922 won by Gloaming, the Spring Stakes Sept 30, 1922 won by Beauford, the Craven Plate Oct 4, 1922 won Gloaming.

The cold results cannot tell the story.

The score was one-all going into their third meeting in the Spring Stakes which Beauford won by a neck after the two geldings singled out head to head over the last furlong before an 82,000 crowd at Randwick on Derby Day.

The Craven Plate, their fourth clash, was no anti-climax.

Maybe it was a record for a Wednesday meeting at Randwick on October 4, 1922, when an estimated 50,000 watched them do battle with Gloaming strolling away to an easy three-length win on a wet, windy day.

The reports were that Beauford was weary and wouldn’t eat and that is why Gloaming started favourite at even money.

Beauford was a big, gangly gelding bred by his owner W H Mackay and trained at Newcastle by Sid Killick.

The Newcastle-Maitland and Hunter districts has always been proud of its sporting champions—Les Darcy, Jim Pike, Stan Davidson, Wayne Harris, Beauford, Rogilla, Luskin Star and Dave Sands for example.

Darcy was fresh in the memories when the Coalfields fraternity had another hero—Beauford.

W H Mackay bred him at his property Albano, near Maitland. The big fellow was by the imported Beau Boult from Blueford.

Bert Griffith, a resident of Scone (grand-father of Mudgee based trainer Mack and Luke Griffith of Scone) whose father Bob worked for W H Mackay for 40 years, said Beauford was big and nervous, a horse who hated noise.

Recalling his father’s recollections of the horse Bert Griffith once said: “Long after his retirement Beauford bolted and took to the bush. Dad couldn’t find him for a week or so.”

“He had swum the Hunter River, then gone to the top of the range near Mr Mackay’s property. The horse was content to be out there on his own. He was a loner, highly strung, a one-man horse. He used to go off his tucker and everyone use to say that Gloaming would never have beaten him only for that. Beauford was eventually put down by Bob Griffiths at the Mackay property Anambah outside Maitland on the banks of the Hunter River.”

Gloaming was bred in Victoria by Earnest Clark who sold him to G D Greenwood of Christchurch, NZ, as a yearling for 230 guineas.

Gloaming eventually won 57 races from 67 starts.

The only time he did not finish first or second was the day he fell in a race at Trentham.

If he was not the greatest gelding ever to grace the Australasian turf then there have been few better.

Racing’s history will be further enriched in the years to come if we can produce another Beauford or a Gloaming.

“The Boss” John Inglis

John Inglis … was his unit’s SP bookie during the war.
Photo: Courtesy of Douglas M Barrie ‘The Australian Bloodhorse’

See also: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/john-inglis/

John Inglis aka “The Boss”

Former highly valued Inglis employee and Scone Bloodstock Agent Kieran Moore has just reminded me (‘The Bar’, Scone 15/11/18) that John was always known as ‘The Boss’; no argument and everyone knew who! Kieran’s tales from ‘behind the gavel’ are legendary! I will try to catch up sometime. There was a secret ‘language’ between John and Ossie Roberts which you could not detect from under the Morton Bay Fig Tree. I did perceive it on the few occasions when I occupied in the vendors box. You had to be an ‘insider’ to interpret the signs! Suffice it to say that there were ‘favoured’ vendors and buyers; and then there were others! It was a very serious contest.

I was going to call this blog ‘The Rock’. I should have done; it would have been apposite. Almost 50 years ago Harold Baldwin told me the reason he stayed in the thoroughbred breeding industry was one man: John Inglis. Harold was a business man well used to the vagaries and vicissitudes of everyday business and barter transactions; occasionally encountering the recusant, rebarbative, fraudulent and serially mendacious. John Inglis represented the very pinnacle of integrity, honour, honesty, decency and reliability. He was an immutable constant in a cabal with few others. Harold trusted him implicitly. I quickly learned to do the same. The industry does no always engender such implicit trust.

In the encomium reproduced below there is reference to ‘hoaxers’. I was once the unwitting victim of a serious hoax. John was my salvation. I had just sold a yearling by ‘Bletchingly’ for the then enormous sum of $105,000:00 in about 1980 knocked down to champion trainer T J Smith. My brown colt out of ‘Beyond All’ was lot number 13 in the Easter Catalogue. ‘Beyond All’ was a sister-in-blood to champion mare ‘Lowland’. ‘Kingston Town’ was at his peak and ‘Bletchingly’ was champion sire. Angus Armanasco had inspected him and declared “he was the most like ‘Bletchingly’ he had seen”. The planets were aligned. I was floating on air as I descended from the vendor’s box.  I almost knocked over cold, grey-eyed George Freeman who had the next lot in the ring. From there things started to go awry. The supposed purchaser, a Mr. Prosser, came back to the stables with us and discussed possible names. The same buyer also bought a Biscay colt from Sir Tristan Antico’s ‘Baramul Stud’ for $80,000:00. I conducted an interview with a commercial TV station. The portents were excellent; until Mr. Prosser turned out to be a complete fraud! John Inglis tried to chase him down including through a local Synagogue but the man was a charlatan without any money, capacity or intent to pay! John came to see me. He looked me in the eye and said: ‘Don’t worry Bill; Tommy (T J Smith) and I have been doing business for 50 years. You’ll get your money’. He was as good as his word. My colt raced as ‘Norseman’ and won a midweek race at Rosehill for c-owner Mrs. Darby Munro. Sir Tristan’s Biscay colt was more successful racing as ‘The Challenge’.

When I accompanied the Baramul horses to the USA in 1970 my immediate boss was Jack Flood. Jack worked for ‘Mr. Inglis’. He always called him that and was full of lavish praise. On another occasion Hugh Munro from ‘Keira’, Bingara turned up late one winter Sunday afternoon with a float-load of cull broodmares for sale. Who helped him unload and provide stabling; none other than J. A. Inglis ‘as soon as he’d finished feeding the pigeons’. Racing pigeons were his relaxing passion. We used to host release for his club at our Scone Cup Race Meeting. It was a very popular feature. The winning pigeon used to take little over an hour reaching its loft in Randwick. As always John and the firm William Inglis & Sons were the best friends we had in Scone. They sponsored races and invested significantly in building sales boxes at White Park. There were myriad other courtesies and kindnesses. Not many are recorded.

Cliff Ellis and I attended Tom Flynn’s (Oakleigh Stud) Memorial Service in the beautiful Heber Chapel in Cobbitty. John delivered the eulogy but was overcome with emotion. He was an extremely sensitive man. On another occasion a close family member had passed away. I wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Inglis. The next time I saw John he took my hand in his and held it firmly. Tears poured down his cheeks. No words were necessary. Mrs. Inglis had been a close school friend of my late mother-in-law. It always felt like ‘family’. With John Inglis his word was his bond. There aren’t many who can justifiably claim this honour.

Continue reading →

Robert Towns

Robert Towns

I am motivated to include this encomium to Robert Towns because he was born in a small village only about 8 miles from where I first saw the light of day. Long Horsley, Northumberland, England was a stop on the United ‘bus journey from Hepple to Morpeth and Newcastle which seemed to take forever? I think it was about 1 hour and forty minutes? Robert Towns excelled as an early colonist and administrator albeit somewhat sullied by accusations of ‘blackbirding’ which might have been taken for granted then? I learned of his existence on my first visit to Townsville; the city in North Queensland named for him. He only went there once in his life. Nonetheless I was struck by the outstanding pioneering success of the small boy who left home aged 10 and very successfully forged his own way in life. An earlier tribute I read claimed he was the second youngest of eleven children and made his way to North Shields by sleeping under the hedgerows and survived by eating berries? I’m impressed! My journey was luxurious by comparison.

Continue reading →

Barry Jones ‘Saving Planet Earth’

Barry Jones AC was a very special guest at our just completed Scone Literary (‘Writers’) Festival: Sunday 11th November 2018. At compere Phillip Adams request Barry delivered his ‘Gettysburg Address’ as recorded in the ‘The Saturday Paper’, Saturday 10th November 2018. I repeat the written version here for those who were neither able to read the text in ‘The Saturday Paper’ or hear the cosmic address. I was moved to a standing ovation.

Featured Image: Barry Jones ‘Saving Planet Earth’ with acknowledgment to ‘The Saturday Paper’

Barry Jones
“Saving Planet Earth”

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/opinion/topic/2018/11/10/saving-planet-earth/15417684007117

Historians and political scientists have classified recent world history into two distinct periods, with the end of World War II as the dividing line.

The period from 1901 to 1945 was marked by aggressive nationalism – trade wars, high tariffs, brutal colonialism, World War I, totalitarian rule in Russia, Italy, Germany, the Leninist–Stalinist model of Communism, Fascism, Nazism, the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust.

From 1945 to the present, as Christopher Browning recently put it in The New York Review of Books, “the post-World War II structure of interlocking diplomatic, military and economic agreements and organizations … have preserved peace, stability and prosperity”. People are living far longer, even in the developing world. Life expectancy, globally, is now 70.5 years. Infant mortality has fallen, female liberation still has a long way to go but is much improved, and the threat of global war is remote.

This latter era has not been without conflict, of course – wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, civil wars in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Balkans, the Cold War, nuclear threats and Stalinist control of Eastern Europe until 1989, Mao’s purges and famines in China, terrorism, mass displacement of refugees. Corrupt regimes remain commonplace. Increased consumption levels are destroying the environment and polluting air, sea and land.

Like Trump, Morrison is fundamentally incurious. On issues raised with him, he either knows the answers already, or has no desire to hear the case for and against a proposition.

Central among the threats we face in this post-World War II era, though, is the wrecking ball approach United States president Donald Trump has taken to the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the Paris accords on climate change, the G8, the World Trade Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Monetary Fund and any other organisation that attempts to address global issues. We can observe the rise not of totalitarianism but of “illiberal democracy”, a model that operates in Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland and now Brazil. It may well be entrenched in the US. China is a special case, mixing the worst elements of capitalism with authoritarian one-party rule.

Of course, there are existential struggles, too. Vested interest and the short term are preferenced above the long-term public interest in the US, Australia and many other nations. Homo sapiens has been transformed to Homo economicus. All values have a dollar equivalent. If politicians cannot place an economic value on maintaining the rule of law with refugees or taking strong action to mitigate climate change, then they are not worth pursuing. Universities have become trading corporations. With “fake news”, people can choose their own reality. Science is discounted. Opinion is more important than evidence. The politics of anger and resentment displaces the politics of rationality and optimism.

In Australia, both the Coalition and the Labor Party have demonstrably failed to show leadership on important issues. We are still reliant on coal for our electricity, despite the fact it’s a central factor in global warming. Transition to a post-carbon economy, rejecting punitive, populist and opportunistic policies about refugees, rejecting racism, involving the parliament in determining foreign policy and defence, restoring confidence in our public institutions, developing a bill of rights, promoting community cohesion, understanding the causes of terrorism and proposing rational ways of handling it, corruption in our system, and the corrosive impact of lobbying by gambling, coal and junk food vested interests – all intractable in our political deadlock.

The IT revolution, with capacity for instant retrieval of the world’s knowledge, might have been expected to raise the quality of political engagement and debate. Instead, social media has debased it. Cruelty and ignorance have become tradeable commodities in Australian politics and many politicians are comfortable with that. Debate has been oversimplified and infantilised.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could be described as Trump Lite plus a combination of toe-curling folksiness, condescension and religiosity. Like President Trump, he is fundamentally incurious. On issues raised with him, he either knows the answers already, or has no desire to hear the case for and against a proposition. He is essentially a door-to-door salesman, a Willy Loman, who relates as well as he can to each client, tells them what they want to hear, then moves on to the next door.

“Boy! Have I got an offer for you. Moving the Australian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem! Offer expires on Saturday, October 20 at 6pm.”

“Linking the drought with climate change? Well, that’s not an issue I have thought about very much. My main interest is getting your power bill down…”

“Or you can have a set of steak knives…”

It shouldn’t be this way. Australia today has a formal level of professional qualifications incomparably higher than any cohort in our history since British colonisation. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 6.5 million graduates now living in Australia, 27 per cent of the population – nearly 14 times more than in the 1970s.

That ought to mean that the level of community engagement and commitment to working out complex issues and finding solutions ought to be at an unprecedented level. Right?

Well, no.

It could be argued, depressingly, that there is an inverse relationship between the growth of universities and the level of community engagement in politics. In fact, the level of political discourse was far more sophisticated in 1860s America than it is today in 2018 in either country.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican Party candidate to be elected president of the United States. At that time, access to education was rather primitive, except in some cities on the east coast, with limited communication by railways, roads, canals, telegraph, newspapers and postal services.

Lincoln was reflective and self-doubting. He talked in testable propositions, evidence-based, with sentences, paragraphs and chapters. He appealed to “the better angels of our nature”. He never used his own name in a speech. He never talked down to his listeners. He wrote wonderful letters.

On February 27, 1860, six months before his election as president, Lincoln delivered a very complex speech about slavery and its political implications at the Cooper Union in New York City. It was his first speech in New York and its impact was dramatic.

Four New York newspapers published the full text – 7500 words – and it was reprinted in hundreds of different formats throughout the nation. The speech rapidly transformed Lincoln from being merely a “favourite son” from Illinois to a national figure. It was a major factor in securing him the Republican nomination for president.

In 1860, the technology was primitive but the ideas in Lincoln’s speech were profound. His political views, published on broadsheets throughout the nation, were extremely subtle and nuanced, without bitterness, personal attack or exaggeration. He could always see the other side of an argument and often set it out, fairly. He was widely read but kept his religion (if any) to himself.

As he told congress in 1862: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present … As our [challenges are] new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves … We cannot escape history. We … will be remembered in spite of ourselves …”

Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address in November 1863 at the dedication of a Civil War cemetery.

I have long speculated what Lincoln might have said in 2018.

Lincoln’s speech was only 272 words long. My draft is exactly the same length. There are 12 echoes of Lincoln’s text in mine, the words in inverted commas are Margaret Thatcher’s from 1988:

Eighteen years ago, humanity entered the 21st century, facing unprecedented challenges. Global population expands, life expectancy – both in rich and poor nations – and consumption levels rise unsustainably.

Earth’s raw materials are finite. Water, forests, arable land are under increasing pressure, compounded by “a massive experiment with the system of the planet itself” causing climate change and extreme weather events. Rich, powerful nations exploit weak, paralysed states.

Now we are engaged in a great global conflict of values. Gaps between inconceivable wealth and desperate dispossession create political instability, encouraging terrorism and fundamentalism.

Although science and technology annihilate boundaries, nations turn inward, reinforcing tribal values; political leaders retreat from global goals of compassion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. There is widespread racism, nationalism, militarism, religious hatred, democratic populism, suppression of dissent; we’re using propaganda, resolving problems by violence, promoting fear of difference, attacking organised labour, weakening the rule of law, using state violence, torture, execution. Evidence-based policies are displaced by appeals to fear and anger.

The great tasks before us are to dedicate ourselves to recognise that environment and economy are inextricably linked, and act accordingly. The human condition is fragile, and we must abandon rigid thinking, confusing prejudice with principle.

We must consecrate ourselves to saving Planet Earth, our home, where our species, Homo sapiens, lives and depends for survival. All nations, and all people, must dedicate themselves to protecting our global home rather than the short-term national, regional or tribal interest. We must highly resolve to save the air, save the soil, save the oceans to guarantee that our species, and the noblest aspects of its culture, shall not perish from the Earth.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 10, 2018 as “Saving Planet Earth”.

Footnote:

Democracy

‘Democracy has evolved as the lowest common denominator of practical wisdom for a nation of individuals, most of whom prefer to be left alone to make money’.

Robert D. Kaplan – ‘An Empire Wilderness’ – Travels into America’s Future’ P 174

‘It was my first experience of government office and it left me a confirmed Individualist for the rest of my life…….the best form of government is a beneficent Autocracy. Democracy went by the board as a thing of Mediocrity, the Apotheosis of Bureaucracy’.

Flora Annie Steel: twenty year old wife of a member of the covenanted Indian Civil Service (ICS) in Ludhiana then Kasur (a subdivision of Lahore) in the 1860s. ‘The Memsahibs: The Women of Victorian India’: Pat Barr P. 150

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Winston S. Churchill