Banjo, Polo and Scone

Banjo, Polo and Scone

Featured Image: The first known photograph of the Scone Polo Club players; acknowledge ‘History of the Scone Polo Club 1891 to 1981’ by W A Bishop

Grantlee Kieza writes in his excellent biography ‘Banjo’ about Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s early love affair with the sport of Polo. Citing ‘Polo’ the Sydney Mail and New South Advertiser, 16 January 1892, p. 152 Kieza describes the visit by the Sydney Polo Club to Scone;

“In January 1892 Banjo and his club-mates caught the train to Scone, three hundred kilometres north of Sydney, to play polo against the landed gentry in that picturesque part of the colony. Banjo played well and in the final quarter ‘got the ball out of a hustle, and took it up the field to within  a foot of the goal, when the Scone full-back (No 4) just managed to tip it to the side and save the goal’”.

The locals eventually won, but it was a spirited match that lasted two hours, and the players all worked up an appetite for a convivial dinner at Scone’s Golden Fleece Hotel. The Members of the Committee of the Scone Club in 1981 were J A K Shaw, W B Pulling, A G White, H J Leary and W H Duckham. The Honorary Secretary was F A Parbury on whose Satur Property matches were played. Playing Members of the Scone Polo Club were J A K Shaw, W E White, A G White, V M White, A Ebsworth, F A Parbury, Dr Harry Scott, H J Leary, J J Dodd, W H Duckham, A Davies, W B Pulling and H Wiseman.

It’s just possible that this and other similar rural jousts inspired the spark for Banjo’s immortal ‘Geebung Polo Club’? Admittedly many other clubs and districts claim the right to the original entitlement. However, as author Grantlee Kieza rightly points out many of Banjo’s icons such as ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ and the ‘Man from Snowy River’ are ‘composites’?

It’s eminently possible, even probable, that Banjo Paterson cemented enduring friendships with a number of Scone’s intelligentsia including Solicitor J A K Shaw, Dr H J H Scott and Headmaster of Scone Grammar School W B Pulling. Banjo was known to make several regular visits to the town and district.

Bellerive Stud Dispersal 2000

Bellerive Stud Dispersal 2000

For much of the second half of the 20th century the partnership at Woodlands Stud, Denman was one of the most prolific winner producing cartels ever in the thoroughbred breeding world; Australia and elsewhere. The principals in control were G E Ryder, Dr Tom Street, David Crystal Senior and David Crystal Junior. They had formed a most advantageous synergistic association with then emerging young Randwick trainer T J Smith. It helped that George Moore was No I rider for the stable. Tom Street was on the AJC Committee while George was a real force on the STC.

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Newhaven Park Stud Dispersal 1996

Newhaven Park Stud Dispersal 1996

1.00pm Sunday 31 March 1996 @ William Inglis & Sons ‘Newmarket’, Young Street, Randwick

It all begins with a dream; yet another hoary old cliché. Sometimes dreams are realised. John Kelly Senior had returned from WWII and taken up the reins at the Kelly Family’s totemic property Newhaven Park at Boorowa. It was he who established the Newhaven Park Thoroughbred Stud in the 1940s. Owned by the family since the 1920s the prime farmland of 3200 acres was run as a sheep (wool) and cattle property. It might be claimed John Kelly started out with a significant advantage over his competitors. This was proven pristine breeding country for all classes of livestock including thoroughbred horses.

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