My first employer in the Hunter Valley was the late Murray Bain. He was a great champion of the manifold merits of the ‘working horsemen on the stud farm’; in particular the hands-on Stud Groom or Stud Manager. These attributes and skills embraced dedication, devotion, enthusiasm, loyalty, allegiance, integrity, commitment, practical aptitude and horsemanship, integrity, communication, record-keeping, dependability, reliability, trustworthiness, fidelity, credibility, discretion and honesty. This is a long list; they were required 24/7 throughout the year. Only a very few aspired to the pinnacle of ‘observation, perception, interpretation and action’ (OPIA). A person who incorporated this cornucopia of talent and all that is best was the late Alec Herbert.

In 1985 the Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders Association (forerunner of the HTBA) instituted the Murray Bain Service to Industry Award. I believe this was the unique inaugural personal honour made by any Thoroughbred Breeders Association in Australia. Alec was the 6th winner of the Award bestowed in 1990. I was extremely proud to present the perpetual trophy on that occasion. It is my wish to dedicate this website: to Alec Herbert whose daughter Teresa is the website architect. I dedicate this tribute for posterity and in perpetuity as a permanent reminder. The industry has a bad habit of casually discarding its loyal servants.

Alec Herbert receiving the HVBHBA Service to Industry Award in 1990 from the author

Alec Herbert receiving the HVBHBA Service to Industry Award in 1990 from the author.
Kate Fraser and Pearl Herbert are in the background.

Alec Herbert Bio

The following is the tribute in the press to Alec Herbert following his award presentation in 1990.

“Stalwart earns industry kudos”

“A man who has been involved with the Thoroughbred industry all his life, Alec Herbert, has been honoured with a ‘service to industry award’.

The award was made at the annual Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders dinner held in conjunction with the Scone Horse Week.

One of a number of awards presented on the night, the announcement was met with a deal of enthusiasm from the large crowd.

Born in Queensland, Alec Herbert has been a horseman all his life and has given a life time of service to the Thoroughbred industry.

Initially at Mr and Mrs Tom Holt’s Tondara stud at Bethungra, he moved onto Carrington stud in Syd White’s time to the late John Peterswald’s Stradbroke stud at Tamworth, the Hawcroft’s Byerley stud at Martindale (later Cudal), New Underbank stud at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, then back to Mark Foyster’s Balfour stud (the renamed Carrington).

He is presently stud manager at Colin William’s Alroy stud at Muswellbrook, in charge of stallions Morning Review, Kingston Dancer and the newly arrived Top Guest.

Alec Herbert has also been generous with his time and talents for children.

He has been involved with the Pony Club movement for 32 years, and is the Chief Instructor in Zone 7, a delegate for the Zone in Sydney, and President of the Jerry’s Plains Pony Club

The warmth of the applause for Alec Herbert and his wife Pearl was testimony to the regard held for them by the Hunter Valley community”.


Alec later spent many happy years at Pickering, Denman before retiring to live in Scone. He was a passionate supporter of the Light Horse and rode proudly resplendent in full uniform at every Scone Horse Week Parade. For much of his life’s journey Alec was accompanied by his loyal and devoted acolyte Bob Murray; himself another legendary ‘character’ who uncovered ultimate solace and nirvana at the Goolma Pub!

W.P. H.
August 2017