“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”


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”.



‘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

Barry D’Arcy Rose OAM

Barry D’Arcy Rose OAM

Featured Image: This is the cover of a CD Barry recorded in order to raise funds for local charities. I think it captures the ‘life essentials’ of the man?

As I compose this eulogy (Sunday 11th November 2018) I am assisting with the exposition of the 5th Scone Literary Festival. I am motivated to do this (at long last!) by a charming former ‘special’ lady friend of Barry’s who is attending the festival. It’s a specific request. The lady in question was accompanied by her spouse who knows about this post! Now resident in Sydney the lady cited is an erstwhile resident of the Upper Hunter who ‘keeps up to speed’ by reading my ‘blogs’. I’m greatly honoured!

Barry and I go back to the late 1960’s when Barry was leader of the Aberdeen based music ensemble ‘The Graham Street Four’; or Five! Music was one of Barry’s many passions. He emerged as a leader in almost anything he did. I came into contact with him often in his many and diverse roles. These included ‘socialisation’, radio sports journalism (2NM), Harness Racing administration, Camyr Allen Stud (‘Don’t Retreat’) and latterly local Government (UHSC). Barry was an ardent and passionate man; a genuine polymath. I’ll leave it to ‘professionals’ to capture the essential essence of the ‘man’. As I often declare I ‘plunder, plagiarize and purloin’ where possible! It’s my mantra! I also live by the adages: “Seek and ye shall find” and a professional one; “You miss more by not looking than not knowing”.

Continue reading →

Gundy Spurts 1939





The Scone Advocate, Friday 6th January 1939

Featured Image:

“Babe” Singleton wins the “Snake Gully” Derby on “Ajax” at Gundy on New Years’ Day 1939. Starters and riders in the ‘Snake Gully Derby’ included ‘Babe’ Singleton on ‘Ajax’, Bill Holmes on ‘Socks’ who ran second and Bill Phillips riding ‘Static’. The ‘ladies’ in the race asked for no quarter and received none! ‘Babe’ and ‘Ajax’ won by half a lap, with ‘two lengths of the paddock between second and third’! The journalist writes (in parenthesis) ‘the third horse had not passed the post when this edition went to press’. The race took place on January the 1st; even the great Ken Howard would have had trouble describing the result?

When Babe Singleton was stallion groom at Widden there is a famous photograph of Babe ‘boxing’ with ‘Brueghel’ who is rearing on his hind legs. Babe was also featured in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald written by Steve Crawley. He is outside the ‘Linga Longa’ accompanied by a gaggle of geese!

Best boy riders at the Gundy Carnival were A Reid, J McInes, N Watts, D Watts, C McPhee and R Wharton.

Continue reading →

First Doctor in Scone

First Doctor in Scone

Featured Image: Dr Michael Macartney; native of Enniskillen, Ireland

Acknowledgement: W E M Abbott and the Scone Advocate/Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society

The script is taken from an article appearing in the Scone Advocate on 23 October 1970. This was to mark a celebration of the success of the Scott Memorial Building Appeal. Appeal Chairman Mr W A Bishop announced contributions totalling $45,700 towards an initial target of $50,000. As Sir Alister McMullin said at the launch of the campaign: “Our hospital has always been a personal and local institution and by rendering our support we are keeping it that way”

Dr Macartney was one of many early immigrants to Scone and the Upper Hunter from what is now Northern Ireland. Many more came from the River Foyle Valley of County Tyrone. Like their Scottish ‘cousins’ they made very sturdy settlers, colonizers and pioneers. It is very probable that Dr Macintyre knew contemporaneous valiant lawman and noble magistrate Edward Denny Day, also from Ireland, who died in Maitland. It may well be Dr Macartney was the initial professionally qualified person to settle in the district although Dr William Bell Carlyle (Satur) preceded him in taking up a land grant. Government surveyors, many of whom became ‘grand at land acquisition’ also arrived before him.

The Redbank Hospital was described as ‘pioneering’ but that could equally equate to ‘primitive’?

End note:

The Scott Memorial Hospital is now administered by the Hunter and New England Area Health Service (HNEAHS).

Wayne Harris II

Wayne Harris II

Featured Image & Text:

“Class and Courage All The Way”: Acknowledge ‘From the Track’; NH & CC Racing News Spring 2018


See also: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/wayne-harris/

My initial ‘blog’ on Wayne Harris has been so popular I decided to add the following as well. I’ve totally purloined the cosmic content from the excellent Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast Horse Racing News publication: ’From the Track’; Spring 2018. At the time Wayne was riding as an apprentice I represented the Scone Race Club on this organisation. I feel justified in repeating it; otherwise it would not be publically available and ‘searchable’. Wayne is one of the truly inspirational people I have been privileged to meet in my (now) over 50 years in the thoroughbred industry in the Upper Hunter Valley. Peter Snowdon is another along with Murray Bain, George Ryder, Stanley Wootton, Reg Moses, A O Ellison, Bert Lillye and Bim Thompson to name a few others. Wayne’s career and example are cosmic. I’ll leave it to the unnamed journalist to recount the stellar tale.

Continue reading →

Racing Reminiscences along the Glenrock Track

Racing Reminiscences along the Glenrock Track

Featured Image: ‘Echo Flat’ racecourse at Belltrees

Gundy Races

Gundy Races 10th March 1886: See: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/18884529

By Wanderer:

To make St. Patrick’s Day as much of a holiday as possible it was decided to have a day’s racing at Gundy to celebrate the day.

A very meagre attendance saw the opening race, the Maiden Plate, 1½ miles. After a chestnut gelding run his spin of a quarter of a mile, Juan cantered away from him and won by 150 yards.

Mr. B. Houseman’s b c Juan, 6st. 11lbs. (Dodds)   1

Mr. B. Houseman’s b g Sovereign, 9st. 2lb             2

Continue reading →

‘Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900) and the Serpents Legacy’

Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900)

I have just learned (SMH 29/09/18) of the passing of my good friend Keith R Binney; late of Cremorne.

Featured Image: Front Cover of ‘Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900) and the Serpents Legacy’

Keith left a most enduring bequest. He was the author of the seminal tome ‘Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900) and The Serpents Legacy’. I have found this book to be perhaps the most fascinating, accurate and complete record in existence. I will leave it to another close friend and sadly departed colleague John Digby, erstwhile Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, to present the eulogy.

Continue reading →

Perfect Polo VI

Perfect Polo VI

Featured Image: ‘The Barbarians’


  • Cody Forsyth (NZ) 8
  • Adam Snow (USA) 8
  • Howard Hipwood (Eng.C) 9
  • Stuart McKenzie (NZ) 8

33 Goals

Two Kiwis, a Yank and a Pom; but a superb combination of rare talent