2008 was a HUGE year for Australian Australorp Breeders throughout Australia
Our club was involved in hosting three major shows: Australian Australorp Titles at Poulltry 2008 in Canberra, Queensland Australorp Titles at Beaudesert & Victorian Australorp Titles at Melbourne.
Congratulations to: Graham Wright - Champion - Australian Australorp Titles
Melissa Woodley - Champion - Queensland Australorp Titles
George Norman - Champion - Victorian Australorp Titles
A new king was crowned at the exciting venue in our own Olympic type poultry event staged at Poultry 2008 Australorp Breeder Graham Wright from Rossmore NSW.
Australorp judges Ray Connor and Denis Dowdle had the arduous task of sorting out over 230 assorted Australorp between them to finally crown Graham as Australorp Champion.
More surprises were in store for Graham when he went on to win Champion Large , and then overall Soft feather of the Show - an amazing achievement
For our breed, the Australorp, this has been a marvellous event since it was conceived by the late Bill Cox in 2000. Hudson & Brown took out the first titles with an Australorp Cockerel, and that feat was emulated in 2004 by Toowoomba’s Les Holton with an outstanding Large Cockerel.
For any first timers to the Poultry Series in Canberra it is certainly an eye-opener and the Patterson Family Team, this year headed by the jovial Bruce, did a tremendous job in keeping it all together.
Exhibitors came from every state and territory in Australia, and only NT this year was not represented by an Australorp breeder. To see line-ups from Tasmania, WA, Victoria, Qld and NSW all competing is a sight to behold. The general public were certainly talking advantage of this unique opportunity and were in full force. Ticket sales into the venue reported almost 5000 visitors during the three day spectacular. Some of the classes were huge, including our own Australorp classes where Ray with the large Australorps, and Denis, with the bantams, had over 50 fowls to choose from in some classes.
The Judges in general were well thought out and chosen from the leading judges in every state. There were quality fowls on show in every class, and there were huge numbers in the waterfowl, turkey and even guinea fowl classes.
But back to our Australorps. Denis Dowdle, in arguably his biggest event, did an exceptional job with the bantam judging.
His first class was the Cock section, in the black varieties, and this was won by Wayne Galli, with Victorian Junior, Bernice Bertram 2nd, a surprise from Jan Boyce third and Robert Jones a Highly Commended Award.
The hen class provided us with exactly the same result, Galli, Bertram and Boyce, with J Dowsett picking up the HC card.
The cockerel classes were keenly contested and the winner here was an outstanding little man from Phillip and Linda Tisdell’s Dingo Valley Poultry Stud. Queensland’s Daryl Andrew was thrilled with his second place and J Harbourne was a surprising third. The HC card going to the Tisdells.
The pullets were a Dingo Valley overpower 1, 2, 3 and HC all to the Tisdells! An amazing achievement. This pullet then went on to win Best of Breed.
Blue and White Looking Tight
The blue and white bantam classes had some exceptional fowls with the main combatants being Michael Sheil, Wayne Galli and Bryan Poppett from Cairns in far north Qld. Coloured bantam Australorps have been well developed in Queensland and Michael's original stock were from those grand old pioneers, now retired from active breeding, Don Broad. and Ron Marsh.
Blue cock winner was Michael Sheil and he also won the Hen class from Wayne Galli. Michael then picked up a credible 1st and 2nd with his cockerels, with Bryan Poppett third.
In the pullet classes Bryan reversed the trend to take out the class with Michael 2nd and 3rd,
The white classes were a Poppett “whitewash” with Bryan picking up 1st, 2nd and 3rd in all classes.
The Australorp Bantams presented were of an extremely high quality and this is a testament to those breeders who made the final show pens. Some breeders couldn’t make it, and Summerell Bros were a notable absence to defend their 2004 Title. At the last moment they pulled out due to transport issues.
Massive Large Classes
For most judges the numbers in the pullet and cockerel classes would have seemed a daunting task. There were over 60 in one of the classes. For Master Judge, Ray Connor, he admitted that the pullet class was the largest number that he had ever had to contend with, but as a master-class judge he took to this task with ease.
After all he has been showing and breeding these magnificent fowls since Noah set them free from the Ark!
First up for Ray was the Cock classes and this was picked up by Wendy Summerell’s entry. To say she was excited is an understatement, as this is the old boy who won Best Male Australorp in Sydney earlier in the year. Junior Victorian Vernice Bertram pushed all the way with a well prepared fowl for 2nd, while the Sohier Family picked up third.
The scene was set for some hot competition.
Vernice blitzed them in the Hen class, with the Sohiers a credible second and another junior, Chris Bowler at 3rd.
On with the bigger classes, and boy, what a task for Ray!
After a long wait, as there were so many to choose from, Ray decided on a well balanced cockerel from Hudson & Brown. Fred Brown’s show team was pushed all the way by Victoria’s George Norman for second, while Malcolm Fowler picked up a surprising third. No surprise for Malcolm, he reckoned it was a beauty! Hudson and Brown went on the get the HC award.
The huge pullet class of 64 was Ray biggest challenge, but here he certainly got the “Wright” fowl and it was from this class that the eventual Champion Australorp and Champion Large Hard Feather came in with a withering burst.
The class was well won by Graham Wright, with Sydney Royal Champion, Matthew Williams a close second, Western Queensland's Henry Surtees at 3rd and Victorian Kevin Collins with the Highly Commended Card. What a class - what a finish - what a result!
Australorp Pair Classes are not to be forgotten, and Phillip and Linda Tisdell’s Pair of Australorp Bantams went on to be Best Soft feather Pair of Show. Hudson & Brown won the Large Pairs Class with Peter Ubrihien, 2nd and Peter D’Arcy running 3rd.
Chookie Displays and More
One of the features of the Poultry 2008 were all the trade and club stands. The Australorp Stand was headed by your President, Mick Rowe, and Mick didn't get to see all that much of the show, which is a shame. He was helped by several keen and enthusiastic members, but if we are around in 2012, it would be great to have a few extra hands.
At the stands you could buy items of all poultry persuasions from books to incubators, to feeders to paintings and even specialised artwork. Our stand was right next to the Neepa Stand manned by Chris Hardman, and Chris is another guy who unselfishly worked hard all weekend.
Scrumptious Dinner & Presentation Evening
The Presentation Dinner was just jam-packed with over 500 fanciers gathered at the one spot for the dinner. There were at least 100 who missed out, but hopefully they will organise their tickets in time, next time around. The comedian was really funny bugger but the acoustics left a little to be desired. The food, service and wine were excellent and it was a very pleasant night indeed.
Moths Fly Out of Wallets at the Auction
With over 400 lots the auction certainly dragged on, but those who waited patiently for those precious bloodlines that they needed. Some of the Australorp prices were outstanding and a pair of Bantams even went to some breeders to take back home to the Northern Territory.
Some of the high priced lots, included the Australorp Pairs, Modern Game Bantams and Croad Langshans. Some of the Large OEG brought huge money with almost $700 being paid for two separate Silkies. The Australorp Bantam prices went through the roof. The exchange of bloodlines can only improve the fowls for the show benches in 2009.
The Final Bit at the End
One aspect that didn't please many of our members were the absence of leg bands. This certainly made it very difficult to ascertain exactly whose bird was whose, and sadly a few thefts were reported. Apparently even the Champion Goose of the Show was stolen, which was a real blow to the owner.
The pandemonium created when it was time to pack up and pick up your birds was just a disaster, and this is one area where Poultry 2012 will vastly need to improve with extra security. We're sure the Canberra team will sort it out.
However that really being the only negative one could say the Poultry 2008 was probably the greatest poultry show ever staged in Australia. Heartiest congratulations to Bruce Patterson and his cheerful and helpful crew, and the administration team from Canberra Royal.
To have so many poultry people, poultry displays, and poultry exhibits in one place at one time is truly remarkable!
Can't wait for Poultry 2012 - Bring it on!!