White Park Awakens to Racing 1947

White Park Awakens to Racing 1947

Featured Image: Promotional Poster for the inaugural Scone Race Club Cup Meeting at White Park on Wednesday 7th May 1947

Harley Walden has written extensively on the genesis of the then newly constituted Scone Race Club and its initial foray at the brand new racetrack. The Club had at long last established a permanent home. White Park was to remain the spiritual home of the club for the next c. 47 years.  Harley called his histoire ‘The Spirit Within’. I was privileged to contribute in a small way with my submission; ‘Dreams; the Exodus, the Genesis and the Birth of a New Race Track’. The latter refers to the current location at Satur where it is likely to remain for the foreseeable future; certainly well into the 21st century.

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Racing at ‘Alabama’

Racing at ‘Alabama’

Featured Image: Program for Scone Jockey Club Race Meeting at “Alabama” Racecourse on Saturday 28th April 1945

The 2018 Scone Race Club Annual Cup Carnival is in full swing as I write with two days of highly competitive racing and almost $2 million available in prizemoney. Gai Waterhouse has just won the Cup; again!

Reflection relates how much ‘progress’ has been made in just over 70 years. I am the lucky current custodian of the hand written minutes of the Scone Jockey Club from 07/12/1944 to Tuesday 2nd July 1963 (Scone Race Club). The minutes are in two beautifully bound hard back foolscap-sized legers. The flowing hand writing is both exquisite and neat. These books are a precious commodity which came to me via Jack Johnston, his daughter Lesley and Harley Walden. No-one in authority appeared to want them? I will make sure they find a permanent and secure home; probably the Scone & Upper Hunter Historical Society.

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Acres Liberty Beau: Inaugural Scone Horse of the Year 2018

Acres Liberty Beau: Inaugural Scone Horse of the Year 2018

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Acres Liberty Beau ridden by Allan Young scores 92 to win the first round of the Open Horse at the ABCRA National Finals 2014 at Tamworth. (Acknowledge Scone Advocate/Rural Press)

May 5, 2018

THE inaugural Scone Horse Festival Horse of the Year was awarded to Acres Liberty Beau, owned by Allan Young.

The 19 year old Australian Quarter Horse cross Australian Stockhorse Stallion has been prolific in camp drafting, winning 91 to date.

Owned by Allan Young, campaigned by Jorjia Edwards and Tamika Edwards in the juvenile Campdraft, Fayth and Mikayla Edwards in the 8-13 Cut-outs and Allan Young in the Open and Open for Open Campdraft to qualify for National Finals over the years and Hunter Zone Awards

Beau has been Champion all Round and Open Horse for the Hunter Zone for the past ten years and won the ABDRA Open Horse and All Round Horse and is continuing to compete.

Acre Liberty Beau’s sire is Acres Destiny and dam Jessies Liberty Belle.

Acres Liberty Beau has also sired progeny to win Hunter Zone titles.


Acres Liberty Beau scores 92 to win the first round of the Open Horse at the ABCRA National Finals 2014.

Dartbrook horse trainer Allan Young scooped the pool at the Australian Bushman’s Campdraft and Rodeo (ABCRA) National Finals Campdraft held in Tamworth last week.

Riding his highly regarded Quarter Horse buckskin stallion Acre’s Liberty Beau, Young took out the Open Horse event in fine style backing it up with another win in the Maiden event on a second horse.

“Acre’s Liberty Beau is just a fantastic horse.

“I’ve been competing on him for over 10 years, and he’s still got it.

With a 92 in the first round, 90 in the second and 88 in the third Young rode clear of Nigel Kable on Ivory by nine points, and Wayne Smith on Reaction by 21 points in the aggregate scores.

“This is the third or fourth time he has won at the nationals, the last time was two years ago and he was an absolute gem for my niece who also rode him in the juniors,” he said.

While Young said he tended to call his horse ‘Bozo’ around the yard, niece Jorjia Edwards of Aberdeen prefers ‘Boo Boo’.

“Jorjia did a really great job riding him,” he said.

“She got an 85 in the junior rider 8 and Under 13 draft and came second in the second go round,” he said.

Young went on to ride Murray Grady’s horse Tulips from Merriwa to first place in the Mitavite Maiden Open draft with an aggregate score of 246.

“Tulips is only a six-year-old mare, she was very consistent and scored in all three rounds, so it was a great win for her,” he said.

Tash Holden

The Scone Advocate

The Scone Advocate

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Throughout its history ‘The Scone Advocate’ has been instrumental in celebrating most if not all of Scone’s historical icons

Will this persist into the 21st Century now it is based in Muswellbrook without a locally resident journalist?

See: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/title/657

Trove has become the (almost) ultimate resource. A very good friend of mine wrote a seminal tome: “Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900) and ‘The Serpent’s Legacy’”. It’s a brilliant research document. Octogenarian Keith Binney told me “I could have produced the same thing in a fraction of the time if ‘Trove’ had been available”. ‘Horsemen’ was first published in 2003 after years of painstaking investigation.

The Scone Advocate – Wikipedia

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scone_Advocate

The Scone Advocate is an Australian local newspaper, serving the communities of Scone, Aberdeen and Murrurundi in the Upper Hunter Valley. It is owned by Rural Press, and goes on sale each Thursday for $1.40. The newspaper was founded in 1887, the same year Scone was declared a municipality.

We still have ‘The Scone Advocate’. The problem I now have is ‘The Scone Advocate’ is in Muswellbrook! How long is our life?


The Advocate began publication on 7 October 1887 as a weekly broadsheet newspaper, under the ownership of founder Arthur “Advocate” Smith. Five years later, it became a twice-weekly publication, and in 1898, the paper purchased their first typewriter. In 1933, Smith died, and was replaced by his son Arthur Fleming “Tod” Smith. The paper commenced construction of a new building in 1935, and later soon moved to a new location in Kelly Street, replacing the original offices at the corner of Liverpool and Guernsey Streets, which were destroyed by fire in 1942.

A year later, John Arthur “Jack” Smith replaced his father as editor of the Advocate. In 1954, publication days were changed to Tuesdays and Fridays. Also in 1954, the paper is sold to a locally owned company, Scone Advocate Limited, with local businessman J.M. “Mick” Flint as managing director. Later that year, then-editor Vern Hennessy left the paper, and the paper switched to a tabloid format.

Between 1957 and 1975, the Advocate had three editors: Joseph Charles “Joe” Court, William E.M “Mac” Abbott, and James “Jim” Brundson. In 1974, the newspaper was purchased by Western Newspapers Ltd., a subsidiary of Consolidated Press Group, controlled by the Packer family. The next year, Mike Pritchard was appointed as editor, and continued in that role until 1990. In 1976, the newspaper changed to a weekly publication, released Wednesdays.

In 1982, a move to develop the paper into a regional newspaper called The Valley Advocate with a wider-circulation proved unsuccessful. The paper was given away free outside of Scone, but local residents were still required to pay twenty five cents to buy a copy. In 1984, the Scone Advocate banner was restored, with a new publication date of Thursday (which is still the case today. Also in that year, the Packer-controlled Regional Publishers Pty. Ltd. was merged with Upper Hunter Newspapers, owned by the McClintock family of Muswellbrook, to form Upper Hunter Publishers Pty. Ltd. This led to the paper being published off-site in Muswellbrook, with its commercial printing division sold to a private company in 1986.

In 1987, Rural Press Limited purchased Regional Newspapers’ group of publications, including the Advocate, and printing moved again, this time to the Maitland Mercury site. In 1990, Anthony “Tony” Newman takes over from Pritchard as editor for the next two and a half years. In 1991, the newspaper launched its first complimentary magazine for that year’s Scone Horse Week. A succession of female editors soon followed, with Annella “Nella” Powell taking control in 1993, and Rhonda Turner in 1994.

In 1996, the Advocate was compiled on site for the first time using the Quark Xpress system, replacing the Atex system that had to be accessed in Muswellbrook. In 1997, the publication began to use colour on a regular basis for the first time starting on 4 December. The Advocate acquired a digital camera in 2000, and also launched their website that year. Also in 2000, Rural Press sold off the Advocate’s long-time headquarters to local businessmen, and moved into rented premises in 2001. Turner resigned as editor in 2002, and since then a number of journalists have worked at the Advocate.

In 2005, the printing facilities were moved, this time to Tamworth at the Northern Daily Leader site. In 2007, Fairfax Media acquired Rural Press in an agreed merger, while locally, the paper’s Macintosh computers were replaced with PCs. The paper celebrated its 120th anniversary in October with the discovery of old film footage from the first few months of transmission of NBN Television, which looked at the operations of a local newspaper.

National attention

The newspaper drew national media attention for its coverage of a gruesome murder in Aberdeen in the late 1990s, particularly from the ABC program Media Watch in 2000. The newspaper was criticized by the program, local readers and the victim’s family for its graphic coverage. The editor at the time, Rhonda Turner, defended the newspaper and its reporting of the incident.

Prior to this, the newspaper’s articles had appeared as part of the game show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush.


  • Mike Pritchard (Editor, 1975-1990, now breakfast presenter at ABC Upper Hunter)
  • David Bauche (Journalist, 2007, now at 2NM/Power FM Muswellbrook)


The paper has been digitalised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitilisation Program project of the National Library of Australia.

Frank Roughan “Gun Shearer”

Frank Roughan “Gun Shearer”

Featured Image: ‘Gentleman’ Frank Roughan receiving the Merriwa Cup in 1963 won by his charge “Sir Mark”

Merriwa Race Club President Mr Geoff Hordern of ‘Pitlochry’ Merriwa holds the microphone while Miss Thelma McMaster of ‘Dalkeith Station’, Cassilis presents the trophy to trainer Frank. Like John Hyslop and ‘Brigadier Gerard’ Frank knew very well ‘you keep the best company for yourself and the worst for your horses; place them where they can win’.

Acknowledgement: Mrs Doreen Roughan and Wayne Roughan of ‘The Ranch’

I could have used several other outstanding ‘action’ images of Frank provided by Doreen and Wayne but I’m restricted to only one on my ‘blog’. His depiction as a shearer might have been more apposite; but this one is the ‘sanitised’ version of Frank. He was a man of many parts; and one of the most genuine ever born!

This is yet another in my series of ‘Local Legends’. The objective is to preserve for posterity the rich lode of pure gold stories pertaining to real Scone identities which might otherwise be lost? Already I have paid tribute to Reg Watts, Shorty Cribb, Bobby Palmer, Cliff Ellis, Ron Jeffries and made reference to several others. The late Frank Roughan ranks up there with any of them. People around Scone still speak reverently about Frank and his exquisite skills as a shearer. He earned and kept his place as perennial Number 1 on the board as a regular achiever in the elite 200 per day Club. However like many of his genre, gender and generation Frank was multi-skilled in a way that few aspire to today. Bush skills were paramount to employment and survival. The ‘school of hard knocks’ and the ‘university of life’ are stern tutors. Frank could turn his hand to almost anything. Apart from shearing he earned his stripes as a racehorse trainer, horse breaker, rodeo roughrider, bull rider, camp drafter, farrier, fencer and all round stockman. His name adorns the honour board (or ‘rail’) in the tribute to our Rodeo Cadre in Coronation Park just outside my main gate. Apart from anything else Frank was also nature’s gentleman; and a champion bloke. I never ever heard him use foul-mouthed language. ‘By jingo’, ‘by gee whiz’, by jeepers’ and ‘by crikey’ were about as robust as it ever became.

I take the liberty of transcribing the eloquent and sensitive eulogy presented at his memorial service in December 2007. It’s much better than I could possibly have written myself. I have only marginally manipulated the original text.

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