We have been together literally since we were at school, and have been married since 1962, our son is a Graduate from Duntroon Military College, spending many years as a Blackhawk pilot and Flying Instructor with the Defence Force, and now with CHC, flying helicopters which provide search and rescue missions for the NSW Ambulance Service.
Stuart was educated at Newington and I at Ravenswood. Stuart was particularly interested in sport and was in the First Grade teams at Newington for Cricket (Captain), Rugby Union (Vice Captain), Athletics, Tennis (Captain), and subsequently also played First Grade Rugby for Eastwood from 1959 to 1961. I was hopeless at sport, but very good at debating and acting (surprise, surprise! I hear many of you say). We both did our Leaving Certificate examinations in 1956, Stuart graduated in Pharmacy from Sydney University in1959, and was registered with The Pharmacy Board and became a Member of the Pharmaceutical Society in 1961. I obtained First Class Honours in English and second in the State, and successfully completed three years of English at Sydney University, while working full time as a trainee journalist.
We both grew up surrounded by animals, and my family owned Smooth and Wire Fox Terriers and an Irish Setter. Stuart gave me a Maltese Terrier for Christmas the year we left school, and an Afghan Hound for Christmas the year we were married.
BREEDING: Since 1962, we have been breeding, exhibiting, importing, and exporting pure bred dogs, our major involvement has been with Afghan Hounds and Whippets, we also owned and bred some wonderful Salukis, were amongst the earliest importers of Chinese Cresteds, and have also bred and shown Greyhounds, co owned an American-sired Deerhound, and owned and shown a successful Lakeland.
To date at least 227 Championship titles have been conferred on Calahorra-bred Afghan Hounds worldwide, plus at least 76 Whippets, and four Salukis. Further titles have also been won in many of the 25 countries to which we have exported stock, including a number of International Champions, Calahorras having been exported/exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, Monaco, France, Belgium, Holland, India, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, New Caledonia, Guam, New Zealand, Vanuatu and South Africa.
In reverse, we have imported Afghan Hounds, Whippets and Chinese Cresteds from England, America, and Denmark, and have become the owner of four more, and a number of Salukis imported by others. Through judicious use of their valued bloodlines, many have made very significant contributions to their relevant breeds.
We also have the distinction of breeding three Best In Show winning Afghan Hounds at Sydney Royal, arguably the most important in Australia as, like Westminster, dogs up until 2007, had to qualify before their entry is accepted. No other breeder of ANY breed has bred three Sydney Royal BIS winners. We also bred two Best in Show winners at Brisbane Royal. Both are records to our knowledge untouched by any other breeder in any other breed, ever. Opposite Sex in Show at Brisbane Royal with yet another Afghan Hound is a further achievement.
Also unique is breeding Best Puppy in Show, Sydney Royal, Best Puppy in Show, Brisbane Royal, and Best Opposite Puppy in Show, Sydney Royal, awarded to three different Afghan Hounds. Also over the years, we bred many Best and R/Ups in Hound Group at Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne Royals.
PIONEERING WITH FROZEN SEMEN: In 1976, we were the first breeders in the world to obtain puppies from imported frozen semen. In 1992 we scored another world first by successfully using semen which had been stored for sixteen years, the sire being one of our American imports, Flying Dutchman of Isfahan (imp USA), then deceased for twelve years. The single puppy easily became a champion and multi ALL Breeds RUBIS winner. In 1993 we bred a further nine puppies by AI from frozen semen, this time stored for seventeen years and from one of the greatest dogs we bred, Ch Calahorra Quetzlcoatl. Five of them became champions, one a RUBIS All Breeds winner and another a RUBIS Specialty winner. In 1995 we were again successful and bred a single puppy from one of our other famous early imports, Chandhara’s Emir of Gray Dawn (imp UK). This semen had been stored for nineteen years. In 1997, we had further success with a single puppy from frozen semen imported from America. Now we are breeding puppies incorporating progeny from all of these historic litters. These include great great grandchildren of the 1956 Westminster BIS winner, Am Can Ven Ch Shirkhan of Grandeur who are also great grandchildren of the Crufts 1983 BIS winner, Eng Ch Montravia Kaskarak Hitari.
Also in the late 1970s we exported semen to Norway, which resulted in two successful litters initially with further success seven years later with semen stored from the original export. Currently we have exported semen in England. The use of frozen semen from one country to another is now of course commonplace, but we are delighted to have been the pioneer breeders in this extremely important field of dog genetics.
We have subsequently spent a huge proportion of our lives successfully involved with many and varied aspects of the purebred dog world, and specifically with publishing first Ring Leader and then subsequently National Dog – The Ring Leader Way. ND is 42 years old and RL is 13. In July 2001 we amalgamated the two publications, and apart from the combined name, neither has ever had a name change. In January 2010 we went totally digital and our eEdition was considered a benchmark publication of its kind world wide. Unfortunately we no longer publish as Stuart has dementia and I cannot manage to keep National Dog going.
JUDGING: I have been an All Breeds judge since 1971 and have officiated on numerous occasions in America, England, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Monaco, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Malaysia, Japan, all States of Australia, and New Zealand. Many of these shows are world famous and I have been fortunate to have seen and judged many of the newer breeds now being introduced into other countries including Australia.
Some of the highlights have been my selection to judge at the prestigious Santa Barbara Kennel Club, at the Saluki Club of America’s National Specialty and at The Yorkshire Afghan Hound Club Specialty in England. Also at Eurodog and the World Sighthound Congress in Belgium. I was paid the ultimate compliment of being approved to judge Afghan Hound males at the world famous Crufts in the UK in 2003 and since also officiated on our other breed, Whippets at the prestigeous Southern Counties show in the UK.
I have also had the honour to officiate at three of the famous Australian Royal Shows, including Melbourne Royal in 1995. Melbourne is the largest Canine exhibition in Australia, with an average entry of 7000 dogs. The other appointments were at Darwin and the Stakes classes at Adelaide in 2009. As is usual with our major Royal Shows, appointments are normally given to International judges, and I was only the second Australian judge to officiate at Melbourne in probably twenty years and to my knowledge the first Australian woman.
Over the years, I have judged numerous Specialties in Afghan Hounds, Wolfhounds, Salukis, Whippets, Dachshunds, Basenjis, Samoyeds, Great Danes, Dalmatians, Keeshonds, Lhasa Apsos, Pekingese, Australian Terriers, Bull Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, Bearded Collies, St. Bernards, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Boxers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Springer Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles, Schnauzers (all varieties), American Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Bouviers de Flandres, many of these breeds I have judged at more than one Specialty per breed and in more than one country. Also many semi-Specialities such as Hound Clubs, Sighthound Clubs, Working Dog Clubs, Gundog Clubs, Toy Dog Clubs, etc.
I have also judged many prestigious Contests of Champions in various countries, including at the famous event in Finland on two occasions and also as one of the “selectors” for the renowned Gran Prix at St Gallen in Switzerland.
CANINE ADMINISTRATION: For almost my entire time in the dog world I have been deeply involved in canine administration, serving for many years on numerous committees of what is now the Royal NSW Canine Council Inc and was formerly the NSWCC and before that the RAS Kennel Control.
This included a term as President during which time the decision to proceed with the development of the RNSWCC’s own Administration and Exhibition Complex was taken and the construction finally commenced after many years of indecision. I served as Vice President for the remainder of my term on Management Committee.
My NSWCC administrative experience commenced in 1976 with my appointment to the former Consultative Committee, and included Chairmanship of the NSWCC Judges’ Training Scheme. I remained on the Consultative Committee until September of 1983.
In 1987 I won nomination to the newly formed democratically elected NSWCC Management Committee, where I spent a further five years.
During that time I chaired the Journal and External Relations Committee and served on Planning, Finance, and Breed Standards, subsequently spending some time on the RNSWCC Sponsorship Committee, and I now serve as a consultant if called upon on the Journal Committee.
I was an NSWCC delegate to the Australian National Kennel Council Conferences on three occasions, also serving on several subcommittees and I represented the NSWCC on the Joint Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and on the initial body established by the Department of Local Government to investigate changes to the Dog Act.
I have been an official representative to the Australian Veterinary Association/Petcare Joint Committee conducting National Pet Week and World Animal Day, and was a member of the NSWCC’s negotiating team re the initial Tail Docking meetings with the Australian Veterinary Association. I have also worked closely with such bodies as Barkbusters, Canine Good Citizens and Prevent-A-Bite being deeply involved in responsible dog ownership, the role of the dog in the community, and in promoting the importance of owning companion animals. As part of this commitment to increase the awareness of the importance of dogs, I was instrumental many years ago in developing the Junior Showmanship Competition in NSW into the important position it now holds.
I have given lectures in many countries on the Australian dog scene in general, and specifically on our Judges Training Schemes and Australia’s successful pioneering of computerisation and record keeping. In 1998 I was honoured by being awarded Life Membership of the RNSWCC.
CAREER: Worked in the Publishing and Public Relations field from 1957-1959, and then as an airline stewardess with Airlines of NSW and BOAC (British Airways) until our marriage.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY: Washington H Soul Pattinson & Co Ltd (1957-1979). I joined the company in 1957 as an apprentice Pharmacist, became Special Projects Manager in 1960, General Manager (Pharmacy) and Director of the Parent Company and all Subsidiaries in 1968, the youngest Director ever, and continued in these positions during the dynamic growth of the Company until 1979.
Westfield Shoppingtowns Ltd (1979-1981). I was appointed NSW Manager of Shopping Centres, responsible to the General Manger, with direct access to the Joint Managing Directors and founders of the Company. As well as many and varied duties, twice each year I was responsible for organising, in conjunction with the Marketing Manger and Advertising Agency, national theme promotions which gave Westfield a high profile community position and also attracted customers to the Centres. The company sent me to America in 1980 to attend specialised training in Centre Management and Financing. Attendees came from all over the world, with the course being dominated by the USA presence. During the redevelopment of various Centres, coordination of tenant transfers and continuity of business required great communication skills with both the Centre’s staff and merchants affected.
Chem-Buy Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, Chem-Mart Pty Ltd/ FH Faulding & Co Ltd (1981-1989). I was appointed by the Federal Court as Joint Scheme Manager to Chem-Buy Pharmaceuticals, a cooperative wholesaler to member Retail Pharmacists. We were also responsible for the joint management, with the Pharmacy Guild of NSW, of the retail marketing group which maintained:
- House Brand;
- Product Range;
It was also necessary to gain the confidence of a hostile Joint Partner in Chem-Mart, namely The Pharmacy Guild of NSW. This was not easy. Manufacturers and suppliers were constantly briefed on progress and of the two hundred and eighty plus suppliers, only two would not support the Scheme. However, they did make it excessively difficult to rescue the operation.
After twelve months, we were successful in selling the new structure to FH Faulding & Co Ltd, and in so doing, repaid all creditors 0.95c in the $, while the share holders received 1/3 of their holding in Faulding Shares, which, within eighteen months with bonus issues and dividends, saw each share holder showing a profit.
I continued as the Consultant Manager of Faulding Wholesale NSW and finally developed in NSW a National Marketing Office, reporting to the General Manager in South Australia. I was also at this time involved with other Consultancies.
In 1989, we moved to a property on the Hawkesbury River and Stuart retired in order to establish a highly successful turf farm concentrating on developing speciality grasses. After three floods in two years, we ceased growing turf, and began our publishing with Ring LEADER in January 1998. We then moved to Menangle Park, midway between Camden and Campbelltown, and Stuart passed away in January 2018 from a rare form of dementia.