Who Is Jeannie Harris?

Who Is Jeannie Harris?

Featured Image: Jeannie Harris is presented with the HTBA ‘Murray Bain Service to Industry Award’ by Dr Cameron Collins, President of the HTBA and Principal of Scone Equine Veterinary Group at the HTBA Annual Dinner on Wednesday 10 May 2023 at the Scone Race Club Convention Centre

Jeannie’s current employer, Widden Stud posted the following on Facebook:

Incredibly proud of Jeannie Harris, the @HunterBred VIP recipient of the Murray Bain Award. More than a valued member of staff and a family member, mentor, and leader to us all. A huge thank you for everything you do for us. #valleyofchampions

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/murray-bain-service-to-industry-award/

The following is a transcript of Jeannie’s outstanding acceptance speech which I am both thrilled and delighted to present. Jeannie is/was our very first (Equine) Veterinary Nurse and set the benchmark standards for the several hundred who have followed. To a certain extent this award represents the culmination of almost everything one hoped to achieve in 56 years in the Valley.

A lot of you are probably thinking “who is Jeannie Harris?” 

Well back in the day is a phrase I seem to use a lot and really that is where I started my career in the thoroughbred industry.

I worked back in the day when mares didn’t wear their names around their necks and yet we all knew who they were.

I worked back in the day before freeze branding before worm pastes which meant vet would stomach tube every mare and foal with a mixture of thiabendazole and piperazine. Before mobile phones so every appointment on the studs had to be made through the clinic in the landline and communicate with the vets was with a two-way radio in their cars and if we couldn’t reach them, we rang the next place they were going t and left a message.

I worked back in the day when I was the only veterinary nurse for 12 vets, x-rays were Developed by hand. I would take the x-ray cassette into the darkroom, remove the film, dip it into a developer tank, then fixer, then rinse it with water to get a picture. Thank God sale x-rays weren’t a thing then. The practice didn’t have a surgery and elective cases travelled to Percy Sykes in Sydney, it wasn’t unusual to be anaesthetising a horse out the back of the clinic on the grass to do an emergency procedure or conduct a caesarean on a mare out in the paddock. There was no Clovelly offering an intensive care facility for foals, they just didn’t survive.

I worked back in the day when females were a rare sight on a thoroughbred stud and being the foaling attendant for the mares. There were no refractometers, no colostrum meter. If the colostrum you collected stuck to your fingers, it was good!

I would work back in the day when where we are tonight was a dairy farm called ‘Tarrangower’ and this evening was held at the Scone Golf Club and the race meeting was at White Park.

So, over the last 40 years I have seen a lot of changes take place in the thoroughbred industry and I have been very fortunate to be part of that change.

I have worked with some amazing people and some not so amazing, but I won’t mention them.

The people that have been a great influence on my working life are numerous, but I want to acknowledge them as I probably won’t get this opportunity again to say their names. They were: Major James Mitchell and his wife Bunty, their sons Harry, Billy and Arthur, Paul Hennessey, Cliff Ellis, John Morgan, Bill Howey, Nairn Fraser, Jim Rodger, Mark Wylie, Paul Adams, Alan Simpson, Angus Campbell, Greg Mitchell, Paul Ferguson, Cameron Collins, Angus Adkins, Catherine Chicken, Margie McEwen, Rowan Sedgewick, Sandy & Debbie Racklyeft, Jo Holt, Shona Murphy, Alison Sedgwick, Peter Flynn, Nicki Cramsie, Verna Metcalf, Greg Atkins, Darryl Atkins, Stan Cosgrove, David Merrick.

Finally, I would like to thank my Dad Andrew Crawford who if alive today would be turning 100 this year. He taught me so much about working with Animals and having a strong work ethic. To My Mum Jan and Sister Jo for always being my sounding board, to my husband Mike and our children Amelia and Andrew for being my biggest supporters and to my Widden family for just being there.

Thank you HTBA for selecting me for this prestigious award and recognising my work back in the day.

On Wednesday 17 May 2023 Jennie Harris wrote by email:

Hi Bill, that’s wonderful what you wrote. Thank you very much. I feel so privileged to receive an award that recognises my years of working in the thoroughbred and veterinarian industry but to tell you the truth it wasn’t work to me but my passion. The fact that it is the Murray Bain Award means so much as he was a good friend of dad’s. They started the Scone Scots together. Remember how they and Don Scott and Rob Laurie organised the St Andrew’s Day Dinner usually followed by the St Andrew’s Day race meeting the following day? Anyway so many memories that I treasure and in some way I feel complete. Even though I am still foaling mares here at Widden in the season along with looking after children, to be acknowledged in such a way makes me very happy. Thanks again Bill for playing such an important role in my career.      Love Jeannie

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/st-andrews-day-races-memorial-1974/

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/st-andrews-day-races/

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/st-andrews-race-day/

Author’s note: Jeannie failed to acknowledge yet another ‘plus’ in her most extensive CV. She operated as the Official NJC Swabbing Steward at Scone (White Park) Races for many years!


Press release: Hellen Georgopoulos HTBA

The Murray Bain Service to Industry Award honours the outstanding achievements of those in our industry who champion exceptional service to industry and hands-on practice. This year’s Murray Bain Award goes to a trailblazer and stalwart of the industry who began her career some 50 years ago mixing horse lotions and other remedies from a book brought from Newmarket by the master himself, Murray Bain. Her passion for the industry started early, working part-time after school and weekends at what was then Morgan, Howey and Fraser and now the iconic Scone Equine Group. For over four decades she has worked in Australia, at Yarraman Park, Stone Lodge, Woodlands, Turangga, Baramul and Widden Stud farms; and overseas at veterinary practices Hagyard, Davidson and McGee in Kentucky, and Tryotown in Kildare, Ireland.

This is a lady of many firsts. The first female night-watch attendant at only 19 years of age. The only nurse supporting 12 vets at Morgan, Howey and Fraser. The first female swabbing steward at weekend races in Scone and Muswellbrook at the age of 20. One of the first graduates to complete a veterinary nursing course at TAFE. The first resident vet nurse at Woodlands stud. The first woman to be part of a team to design and deliver the new equine veterinary nursing course for NSW TAFE. Her hands-on care spanning from night-watch attendant, post operative care, surgical assistance, and neo-natal intensive care is unparalleled. It is matched only by her leadership as a teacher, confidante and trusted mentor, her extraordinary skills as a horsewoman, her passion for horses and her generosity to all who ask for her help.

She is a woman who has devoted her life to the hands-on care, welfare and safe keeping of our equine athletes, to paving the way and mentoring others and now a breeder in her own right. The HTBA is very proud to present Ms Jeannie Harris with the 2023 HTBA Murray Bain Service to Industry Award. Media Contact: Hellen Georgopoulos 0419 850 224 BACKGROUND: The Hunter Valley’s Thoroughbred Breeding industry contributes over $5 billion annually to the national economy and $2.6 billion annually to the NSW economy. It supports over 230,000 jobs throughout Australia. It is one of three international centres of thoroughbred breeding excellence in the world – alongside Newmarket in the UK and Kentucky in the USA. It is Australia’s largest producer and exporter of premium thoroughbreds. It is an iconic part of Australia’s sporting history and an industry worthy of protection