Hoof Prints

Hoof Prints

Featured Image: Horse Hoof Prints in the sand; acknowledgment ‘depositphotos’

The image is a very poignant because it’s both momentarily transitory; and intangible. The next high tide will eliminate it/them forever leaving a blank canvas. In the infinity of time how ‘permanent’ are any of our imprints? In this context read as follows.

“Give an account of your stewardship”

The subtitle above in bold italics was the subject of a sermon by young curate at Hepple Church of England one Sunday evensong in about 1956? The congregation numbered in single figures. My sister Diana brought her ‘posh’ friend from Ackworth School Mary Shrouder home for the holidays. You have to fill in the time somehow. Church filled a time-gap if nothing else? My mother was the organist. I cannot recall the curate’s name but I can still hear him pronouncing the title; which I really didn’t understand? I remember little else except that Mary challenged him on a few of his ‘assumed’ premises. I retain mostly maudlin memories, sometimes resentfully morose, of compulsory attendance in a deathly cold church knave with no provision for heating in pre-electricity days. Even Coquet Valley matriarch Lady Rachel Riddell wore all her heavy black cloaks and furs. We didn’t have any!

I’ve actually thought about it often ever since and have tried to work it out. I’ve decided it’s what you leave behind when you’ve done your bit for society? What tangible ‘permanent’ contribution have you made? This evening (Thursday 24th May 2018) Sarah and I took our Jack Russell Joe for a drive around Scone ostensibly to check on Shona Murphy’s old home in Satur; now for sale. We detoured around White Park, the Scone Golf Club, the Sports Complex and later the Race Club/Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre at Satur. Earlier in the day we had a look at the new Strathearn House and Strathearn Villas on Gundy Road. It set me thinking. Also I’ve just been listening to ABC Radio debate on NSW State Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s ‘controversial’ reference to ‘White Flight’ in the suburb of Fairfield in Sydney. It might have been a smart political ploy? Mr Foley might ultimately garner more votes this way. He’s married to an ‘import’ himself.

As an equivalent ‘boat person’ myself (assisted passage migrant) I thought I’d better ‘own up’; and speak up? This resume of my ‘stewardship’ in Australia is my considered response. It’s semi-chronological and embraces both professional and community dimensions. Some are actual (‘real’) and others philosophical (‘metaphysical’). I have written about most if not all of these concepts elsewhere on my website. Some of these came at the cost of considerable personal as well as actual somatic sacrifice. A search might reveal? In most if not all cases I did not act alone but was always part of any decision making process; occasionally the main proponent?

Scone Equine Group (SEG) and Scone Equine Hospital (SEH)

I joined the then small veterinary practice with Murray Bain in 1967. It was always my objective to create a ‘collaborative-cooperative’ larger veterinary practice to allow for organised leisure time as well as providing superlative ‘modern’ facilities. This one is now the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Clovelly Stables

The NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Foal Unit was part of extension of the SHE/SEG. I was ‘forced’ to take action on this item. Clovelly Stables has rightfully earned the reputation of “world’s best practice” also.

Bain Fallon Memorial Lectures (Equine Veterinarians Australia EVA; formerly Australian Equine Veterinary Association AEVA)

The 40th series of lectures will be celebrated in Sydney July 2018. They will be my enduring legacy to the Equine Veterinary Profession in Australia and elsewhere.

White Park Development

There are several facets to this ongoing saga.

White Park Horse Boxes and Sales

Murray Bain instigated this initiative. It was my roe to drive its ‘progress’. It has ‘matured’ as an acceptable country sales venue but our peak altruistic objectives are still far distant.

White Park Racetrack

I served as President of the Scone Race Club from 1978 – 1984. I presided over the most controversial decision ever made by the Club to relocate from White Park to a ‘new greenfield site’. My overarching premise was that if we stayed at White Park we would eventually ‘fold’. I wrote about this extensively in my ‘Dreams’ dissertation. In 2018 I believe I’ve been fully vindicated. The new Scone Bypass slices right through the heart of the ‘old track’.

Scone Sports Complex (Scone Sports Development Committee SSDC)

This was actually a by-product of the race track initiative. We wished to purchase more adjacent ground in order ‘expand’ and enlarge the track. It became rapidly apparent this could not happen. Bill Rose and others including myself drove this project in close cooperation with the Scone Shire Council. Then Scone Shire Clerk Terry Barnes was most supportive. Brian McGrath was the inspiring inaugural chairman of the SSDC.

Scone Junior Soccer

I was fortunate to be the third adjunct on the Scone Junior Soccer formation troika. Teachers Peter McBeth and Dennis Johnston were the prime movers. We established ‘our own turf’ on the newly created Scone Sports Complex.

Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders Association (HVBBA); later Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association HTBA)

I was one of twelve (12) elected onto the original committee. The HVBBA ran its first fully promoted yearling sale at White Park in 1979. The HTBA has become a powerful political lobby group.

Murray Bain Service to Industry Award

This was the very first award made by the HVBBA; instigated by myself.

Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre HVERC (& Hunter Valley Equine Research Foundation HVERF)

The purchase of ‘Tarrangower’ farm at Satur was the outcome of the Scone Race Club’s initiative to move from White Park. There were several complex manoeuvres by the five (5) original subscribers: Brian Agnew (Lawyer, Wakefield Stud), David Bath (Stud Master, Bhima Stud), Tony Bott (Stud Master, Segenhoe Stud), Bill Howey (Veterinarian, Hepple Farm, Moobi) and Bill Rose (Stock & Station Agent, Scone). The eventual outcome was the HVERF became the ‘vehicle’ through which funds were raised to construct the new Scone Race Track at Satur.

Scone TAFE Campus (Hunter Institute of Technology)

During my time with the NSW TAFE Commission I was an integral part of the relocation from rented Muffett Street, Scone to the new premises built at Satur.

New Scone Race Track @ Satur

I have documented this evolution in some detail in my ‘Dreams’ dissertation elsewhere on this site.

Australian Stock Horse Society (ASHS)

I was appointed as the inaugural Honorary Veterinarian on the first committee; mainly because I was in the Belmore Hotel (‘right place’) at the right time in the early 1970s! I still operate as the Independent Member on the ASHS Disciplinary Committee.

Scone Traffic Action Group (STAG) & Scone Bypass

Five of us formed STAG in 2002. We have vigorously pursued this objective (Scone Bypass) ever since. Hopefully it will be up and operative by late 2020?

Scone Literary Long Weekend

The inaugural Scone Literary Long Weekend was held 3 – 6 October 2015; the first writers’ festival for Scone, the Horse Capital of Australia. The mission statement was to promote books and nurture a love of literature, learning and writing. The motto ‘Maintain the Page’ is a brilliant quote from local Phillip Adams. Sarah and I were an integral part of the organising committee of three with Anne Davies.

Strathearn House & Strathearn Villas

I joined the then ‘morbid’ and dysfunctional Strathearn Board in 2002. I subsequently served as Chairman for five successive years. We formulated a plan ‘to construct a new facility on a green field site appropriate for aged care in the 21st century’. The launch of the Capital Campaign was held at ‘Geraldton’. I served as Chairman of the Fund Raising sub-committee. Sarah and I duly pledged $50,000:00 to the campaign which we delivered. Strathearn House and Strathearn Villas are now firmly established on the Gundy Road site. It is matter of some chagrin (to me) that they are now owned and operated by independent HammondCare rather than by the original community owned group. I’m reliably informed by my erstwhile fellow committee members ‘this is the best thing for the community’?

Are these hoof prints or not; ‘preserving for posterity’? Come to think of it could the ‘intangible’ hoof prints be more enduring; or is this black type tautology at which I’m very proficient?