National Livestock Bulletin 1. October, 1931.
Some Notes on the History of the Jersey Breed.
The Breed`s Early History in Victoria
No.III -- by B.A. Barr
The progressive development of the breed to the position which it commands at the
present time in Victoria covers three well defined periods. The first stage will embrace
only a passing reference to the introduction of the Jersey until 1888, when the late Jon.
Jas. McCullock imported the first shipment of pedigree Jerseys, comprising seven females
and one bull, and will continue until 1901, when the first volume of the Jersey Herd Book
was published by the Australasian Jersey Herd Society.
The second period covers the years 1901 to 1912, when pedigree stock were accepted for
registration. From this time onwards, the Jersey was submitted to the conditions of the
Government Standard Herd Test, and proving her capacity for butterfat production the breed
has steadily improved, both in regards to popular favour and breed standards because
selective methods of breeding were employed and those animals which failed to furnish
proof of satisfactory returns were eliminated.
Since much importance is given to pedigree, and the younger breeder is reared and trained
with a system of pedigrees, there are some who, not being familiar with the recent
introduction of herd books, are sometimes disposed to make disparaging reference to
pedigrees, which cannot be traced direct to Island breed cattle. Now, this conception is
both unjust and lacks balance. There were many foundation or short pedigree cows which
were better breeders and higher producers than some others bred in the "purple",
and of long recorded lineage. In reference to this subject the reader must remember that
the Herd Book on Jersey Island dates from 1866, the English Herd Book from 1880 and the
first volume of the Jersey Herd Book was issued by the Australasian Jersey Herd Society in
1901. The latter society controls the breed interests of all states except Queensland,
where a local authority supervises the welfare of the breed in that State.
Records of the early importation or Jersey to Victoria are not available in an
informative manner. The first record refers to the importation in 1854 of a Jersey cow
selected for Mr. T.J. Sumner, by Mr. J.F. Boodle, whoo returned to England, and in 1854
brought out on the Eagle a shipment of Shorthorn cattle, draught horses and an Alderney
cow, which passed to Mr. T.J. Sumner. The next record refers to the arrival in Melbourne
in 1868 of seven females and a bull from the herd of Phillip Dauncey, Horwood, England,
but particulars of the names and breeding are not known. Although the name of the importer
is not recorded, there is some evidence to connect these with the herd of Edward Wilson,
Until 1888 Jerseys were imported into Victoria, chiefly as ships cows, which means that
seleced Jersey cows were placed aboard the ship before leaving England, for the express
purpose of supplying fresh milk to privileged passengers, during the voyage to Australia.
On arrival at the port of disembarkation they were landed and purchased as special family
cows. By these methods, the Hon. T.J. sumner, who had large interests in sumner Grice and
Co., importers and shipping agents, founded the family of Sumner Jerseys,f rom which has
descended many high producing families, including the famous Graceful, Duchess and
Handsome Girls, of the Melrose stud. These animals trace back to Duchess, bred by Hon.
W.E. Stanbridge, relative of J.T. Sumner. It is recorded that the former was the only
person in Victoria to whom Mr. Sumner sold or made a present of any of his selected stock.
When Mr. Sumner wished to dispose of surplus cattle they were shipped to Sydney for sale.
Whatever may have been the motive for this manner of disposal, it did not prevent many of
these animals from returning to Victoria, because the Rev. Ralph Brown, J. Voice, and
others visited Sydney and brought back some good cows.
During the period subsequent to the waning of the gold rushes, attention had been
diverted to the development of rural activities and a good demand of suitable dairy cows
ensued. At this stage of development was more advanced in Victoria at this time than in
the other States, there was a strong influence to secure good cows, for which a keen
market existed. Several shrewd cattle dealers made periodical visits to Adelaide, South
Australia, and purchased typical animals. Notable amongst these men were J. Voice, who
brought over Queen of the Isles and lady Grey, two beautiful cows, with magnificient
vessels. He also brought Lucius (imp.) from Sydney. At the show in 1886, when the name of
the section changed from Alderney to Jersey, there were 80 entries, with Queen of the
Isles and Lucius (imp.) champion cow and bull respectively. A Jersey cow won the dairy
prize, producing in 48 hours 118 3/4 lb milk 35 3/4 lb cream and 4 lb 13 oz butter. This
was before the introduction of the the separator - a few year earlier - the exact date I
have been unable to ascertain. Mr. F. Peppin imported several pedigree cows from New
Zealand, including Bogotina, and in 1887 a daughter, Brilliantine, was awarded the
champion prize, and was first prize the following year. This cow is one of the foundation
cows of the Melrose Jessie family, whilst it is of some interest to note that the first
three females in this line were winners in the show ring, as well as competitors in dairy
tests. At this period the number of animals were comparatively few, and selection was
determined by by individual merit. It was necessary for the cow to be a good producer of
rich milk before she would be retained for either family use or breeding purposes. The
bulls which appear mostly in the early pedigrees were those that had show ring awards or
were crom cows selected of type and yields. Freeman, descended from Ed. Wilsons
importations .. Champion in 1887, 88, 89. This bull appears in many families. Silver Belle
full sister to Silver Belle 2nd, dam of Wilful Beauty, whose son, Wild Rove??? figured
prominently as a sire of tested daughters, was sold for 180-gns, and was awarded first and
champion in Melbourne and Sydney in 1885.
In the collection of these notes much assistance has been furnished by the expressions of
opinions of older breeders who possess a personal knowledge of the Jersey in those days,
and Messrs W. Woodmason, R. Anderson, D. Kenny and Geo. Mashall, affirm that the udder
development was both capacious and well balanced, whilst the cows were chiefly of an
attractive appearance, lightly condtioned and fine boned. Animals were not kept on
pedigree, but on individual merit. Many good cows were lost through milk fever and
sometimes owners almost feared for the cows to calve.
The Barholm Herd
In 1888 the Hon. Wm. McCulloch visited England and personally selected and purchased on
behalf of his brother the Hon. Jas. McCulluch, one bull and seven ? Cows. Three of the
cows calved on the way out; so that the s.s. Hub??ek landed 11 females in Victoria. This
shipment included the bull Chap ??? and the cows Magnet, Little Katie and Showe? and
Milkmaid 14th. The most successful ? the show ring was Magnet, with championship awards in
1889, 1891, 1892 and 1894. In 1893 this ?? was beaten for the premier honor ?? herd mate,
the two-year old, Milkmaid 15th. Subsequently, the late Mr McCulloch imported Angler`s
Boy, Opti?an and the females Claribelle, Pattibelle, ??arkspur, Capture, Empire and Charm.
These family names are well known. At ?? disposal sale i July, 1904, there was keen
bidding when Capture brought ?? gns., Charm (2-years old), 205-gns., ?arkspur 2nd, ex
Larkspur ( imp), 230-gns, Claribelle 4th and 6th, 65-gns, and Magnet 27, nine months old,
sold at 40-gns.
The foundation of many herds trace to stock from the Barholm stud, whilst the ?? recorded
pedigree Jersey into South Gippsland came from this stud, when in ?? to the Leongatha
Labor Colony. Untill this time climatic conditions in Gippsland were considered too severe
for the Jersey, but experience has proved ?? adaptability to the existing conditions,
where, at the present time, the Jersey is the most favoured breed. It ?? on the advice of
Dr. S.S. Cameron that the Jersey bulls were purchased for the Labor Colony.