The story of Kingsfield Stud on the Hunter River only a few short kilometres upstream from Aberdeen provides a snapshot of the history of the thoroughbred breeding industry in the Upper Hunter throughout the 20th century. Ian Ibbett has again provided an accurate early histoire of the birth, progress and eventual egress of the property.
Featured Image: ‘Rossendale’ at the Kingsfield Stud (Sydney Mail & Ian Ibbett)
“When Joe Brien (nee O’Brien) established the Kingsfield Stud, near Aberdeen on the Upper Hunter in 1913, he entertained high hopes for his dual Derby winner, Beragoon, as a prospective stallion. Beragoon joined Malt King there and, great performers though they were on the racecourse, neither stamped their progeny with their own particular quality. Consequently, in 1921 on a visit to England, Brien was on the market for a prospective stallion to boost his stocks, provided he could secure him at the right price. Just how fortunate he was in acquiring the black St Frusquin stallion, Rossendale, for 600 guineas on that trip was not readily apparent at the time. E. E. Coussell, the Secretary of the British Bloodstock Agency, cabled Cecil Brien, the son who was managing Kingsfield while his father conducted his world tour: “Rossendale shipped by Persic on the 22nd; bought by Brien, of Kingsfield. He is a good individual, 16 hands high, with 9” of bone; a horse of rare quality, with a lovely disposition, and is a sure server.’”
KINGSFIELD STUD DISPERSAL 1929 SYDNEY, February 8 (Trove)
Owing to the death of Mr. Cecil Brien, his father'(Mr. J. E. Brien) has decided to disperse the Kingsfield Stud of thoroughbred horses. The sale will take place on March 27, at the stud property, near Aberdeen, on the Hunter River, and which also will be sold.
The stallions in use include the successful Rossendale (imp.), Orby’s Pride (imp.), and the good-looking Pantheon who began his stud career only this season. There are many brood mares. The Kingsfield Stud has produced some of the most notable winners in Australia, including in recent years, such outstanding gallopers as Bampion, Ramulus, Maple, Penilieus, and Vertigern.
The sale was a great success as reported in ‘Trove’ with ‘Rossendale’ making the top price of £9,500.
Pantheon earned enduring fame in the annals of Australian Thoroughbred Breeding by siring dual Melbourne Cup winning champion Peter Pan. Some accounts claim that Peter Pan was foaled at Kingsfield but it may be he actually saw the light of day at Rodney Dangar’s ‘Baroona Stud’, Whittingham near Singleton having been conceived at Kingsfield?
Kingsfield passed through a number of iterations and ownerships including as a thoroughbred nursery, piggery, mixed cattle farm and vineyard. Some of the property was subsumed by the building of Glenbawn Dam in the period immediately following WWII. Very colourful racing identity Cliff ‘Fazal’ Duncombe was an owner in the 1950s and early 1960s.Cliff’s daughter Vass married Ross Flynn of Oakleigh Stud in the Widden Valley.
It may be claimed that the land area occupied by the original Kingsfield now ‘controls’ the water flow which sustains all the agricultural and mining industries as the Hunter River gradually winds its tortuous way towards the Port of Newcastle.
Similarly the geographical close proximity of major thoroughbred breeding enterprises Arrowfield, Turrangga, Vinery, Alabama, Kia Ora, Segenhoe, Darley (Godolphin), Newgate and others suggest Joe Brien was right on the mark in selecting Kingsfield as far back as 1913?