A LITTLE AUSTRALORP BREED & CLUB HISTORY
Just who really named the Australorp??
Claims have been made from several states in Australia, mainly from Qld. NSW, Victoria and even Tasmania.
We have found five different versions from four genuine sources and scribes (most since well deceased) as to the exact name origin but we feel that Mr. Ray Connor summed it up in his excellent book in the Doyens of Poultry Series ~ The Australorp. How will you find out? Buy Ray’s book and learn some history, It’s fascinating reading to any Australorp fancier and we genuinely recommend it. You can buy a copy from our club via Secretary.
Realistically there had never been a true National Australorp club in Australia, although states such as NSW and Queensland have had a few goes at getting club bodies together on an individual state level. In the 1930’s NSW had a very strong, well organised club simply known as “The Australorp Club”. They eventually changed the name to the Australorp Club of Australia, on 17th May 1933. However it consisted only of a NSW member base, with the vast majority of those members within a short radius of the Sydney GPO.
Since 1999, we have seen for the first time, a truly National bodied Australorp Club with members all over Australia.
The first recorded meeting for an Australorp group that we can find was a meeting held at Bankstown in Sydney in 1929.
Just prior to this Mr. W.W. Scott had put forward his version of the naming rights to the fowl. Some say that “WW” pinched the idea, but many others lay claim to that fact. Wal Scott certainly was a colourful character in those days to say the least, but he had the love of Australorps and poultry in general in his heart. He passed away as one of poultry's real characters around 1965 in Sydney.
From the research done and countless records that we have read that 1929 meeting not only formed “The Australorp Club” but it seemed to have a good sized membership.
The President of the time was a breeder from Peakhurst called Mr. Edward C Saill. He was a popular person with his peers and by all accounts he seemed a very astute man as the President. His editorial battles in “Poultry Newspaper” with James Hadlington as to the Australorp Standards were infamous amongst the poultry ranks of the day. Saill certainly had the respect of the members as he was their President for many years. The club shared their meeting and show venues in the Parramatta, Bankstown, Peakhurst, Hurstville and Liverpool suburbs of Sydney.
In some articles in 1931-1933’s “Poultry Newspaper” editions, the Australorp Club of Great Britain referred to Mr. Saill as the President of the Australorp Club of Australia, but we have confirmed that that name is incorrect and the NSW name was in deed the chosen club name.
In all of our research of old poultry newspapers and agricultural articles, one can only assume that with World War 2, the Australorp Club, as was many poultry, sporting and general clubs became defunct as the members and supporters were serving our country for the war effort.
In 1903 the Illawarra Poultry Club of NSW was formed and by the 1950’s their President was Mr. E.W. (Eric) Lindsay. Eric was also the Secretary of St. George Poultry Club. This club had unique show cards that were small for bantams and a large card for large fowl and an Australorp was featured on the large fowl card. Eric Lindsay was also President of the Australorp Club in the middle of the 1950’s in Sydney. Whether or not this club is a continuation of the club that was presided by Mr. E. C. Saill is unknown to us. However as Saill and Lindsay both lived at one time in Peakhurst, we can assume that they would have had some professional relationship concerning Australorps, even though they presided over the club some 20 years apart. Eric Lindsay had his poultry farms in the Arncliffe area of Sydney, and later moved to Peakhurst.
In the mid 1980’s Mr. Hugh Quinn of St. Marys NSW tried valiantly, but not overly successfully to form an Australorp Club of NSW. Hugh even advertised the standards and a small brochure in Chicken Chat and The Fancier’s Gazette, but it appeared that the club never really got off the ground and no records have ever been found of the history of that particular effort.
Even in New Zealand a breed club had been formed in the North Island, in the early 1980’s, and was simply called “ N.I. Australorp ”, but little is known of that club, and it appears now to be defunct.
The Queensland Australorp Club, instigated by Denis Lindley, was formed on 17th October 1987. Henry Surtees became the club’s initial President with Denis Lindley elected as Secretary-Treasurer. Regretfully, that club become defunct in 1989 due to a lack of interest to form a continuous committee.
Thankfully, in 1998 the club was reformed as the ”Australorp Club of Queensland” with Geoff Edards as its President. Les Holton was also President for one season in 2000, with Geoff back in 2001.
In 2002, new President Mr. Steve Higgins, helped to instigate the club to officially incorporate in Queensland and be registered all over Australia.
On 5th July, 2003 the club officially changed its name to the “Australorp Club of Australia Inc” and now boasts hundreds of members. It is the one of the fastest growing breed clubs in Australia with members in every state and territory in Australia, as well as overseas.
In 2007, Mr. Michael Rowe took over the office of President as Steve Higgins vacated to move overseas on business. Mick Rowe described Steve Higgins dedication as President as “outstanding”. Also that year our first branch was formed in Victoria, in strength, with Kevin Collins as President and Darren Macfarlane as Secretary.
The club traditionally held its National Titles at Caboolture - Qld and for 2006 and 2007 it relocated the titles to Beaudesert - Qld as the previous venue could not accommodate our growing numbers.
In 2008 our National Titles were moved to celebrate Poultry 2008 in the ACT and reverted back to Beaudesert for 2009 and 2010, in conjucnction with the Langshan Club of Australia - Qld Branch. Sadly we outgrew the Beaudesert venue and for 2011 the show was moved to the much larger facility at Ipswich - Qld. The National Show will be celebrated in 2012 at Poultry 2012 in Canberra ACT.
At the 2008 Annual General Meeting, Elaine English took over the role of Secretary from Ross Summerell who stepped down due to major health problems.
2009 saw more changes with the retirement of long term Treasurer Billy Summerell, Wendy Summerell became the newTreasurer, and Dave Gannon taking over as Secretary. Ross Summerell became the President.
More changes for 2010, with Ross & Wendy Summerell deciding not to stand for any positions. They were both honoured, in a surprise encounter, in conjunction with Fred Brown's Testimonial Dinner, as the club's first Life Members after well over ten years of dedicated service to the breed and the club.
Kevin Collins took over as President, Pam Ferris became the Secretary and Newsletter Editor. Darren Macfarlane was appointed as the new Treasurer.
No changes for 2011, except Margaret Blake was appointed as Newsletter Editor for the "Australorp EggSpress"
The club produces its own exceptional quarterly newsletter, the “Australorp EggSpress” and members receive a unique laminated membership card - Truly a first for an Australian poultry body.
Currently other Australorp Clubs are successfully operating in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and the USA.
The Secretary - Australorp Club of Australia Inc.
P.O. Box 207
Glenorie NSW 2157