Suffolk Punches to NT

© Janet Lane, 2017. Image: Bentley Carbinier. Sydney Mail & NSW Advertiser, July 1903.

Suffolk Punch blood went to the Territory with the first horses taken there, the bloodlines were Ned Bagot’s Suffolk Punch stallions. Suffolks were the preferred draught there for crossing with lighter mares for work horses and primarily the horse trade overseas.

Pitt, Badgery and Sons in Sydney held big annual horse sales where dozens of Suffolks were sold, most from Dangars stud; these went all around Australia. The Goongal Pastoral Company’s Suffolk Punch stud at Tumberumba, NSW sold horses all around Australia too; and there were at least two big Suffolk Punch studs in WA. No doubt some from all these places went to the Territory.

Queensland had a lot of Suffolk Punches, they sold well and in numbers of up to ten per station, and several Queenslanders imported Suffolks. One only needs to think how many Suffolk Punch stallions Alfred Cotton ran on his stations for India breeding there (he ran 21 Suffolk Punch stallions on Hidden Vale alone; and he owned another 22 stations outright). Cotton also had a half share in Brunette Downs in the Territory.

In 1908 the Queensland government bought 10 Suffolk mares from the Groogal Pastoral CO. on the upper Murray, NSW and put them on two government farms in Qld, at Roma and Gindie. A lot of Suffolk blood went from Qld to the territory.

There were big studs in Victoria such Mr. Cockbills, he imported Suffolks from England and bought some at the Dublin horse show.

In Western Australia several Suffolks were imported over the years and some of this blood too went to the Territory, usually from those in the north of the state. In the south there was a Suffolk Punch stud on Homebush Farm at Cookernup with several imports, such as in 1908 they were standing Boulge Pluto (imp.), in 1911 they imported four good Suffolk mares, in 1935 they imported stallion Broxted Lawyer. Homebush Suffolks had gone all over the state including up north. 1901 Royal Prince was imported and stood at Mr. Fraser’s property Woodland, at York. In 1888 a young imported stallion arrived for Mr J. Taylor of Dardanup Park near Bunbury. Etc. Many more. In 1919 several returned Light-horse-men, drivers and gunners were sent to work at Moola Bulla station in the Kimberley where seven stallions stood including a Suffolk Punch of Homebush breeding.

In South Australia Suffolks had been imported in numbers from 1855, and several before. Brookmans had a big Suffolk Punch stud in S.A. and sold all over the place, they imported several stallions and mares to kick the stud off. Justice Gwynne had a big sale in 1859 at Thebarton near Adelaide and among them were many draughts by his Suffolk stallion Briton, and Briton himself. The

Canowie Pastoral Company on Canowie station S.A. also had a Suffolk Punch stud, and imported mares for their stallions – this is the South Australian Canowie (stations of that name were also in Qld and WA – the Qld one also had Suffolks). Lots of others in S.A., so that blood would have gone up to the territory too – after all it was the northern territory of South Australia.

Overlanded horses rarely made the news so are not recorded unless one can find station horse books. It was not just from the south – horses including Suffolk Punches went to the Territory overland from Queensland and Western Australia.

Lots went there as well as half breds. Most Walers of old Territorian lines would have some Suffolk blood.

These are some taken there found in archives… this list is incomplete but a reasonable guide…

1881. November in Darwin (Palmerston), V.L. Solomon the livestock agent, sells by auction, among others, two Suffolk Punches.

1883. By the steamer Catterthun to Darwin, a three year old Suffolk Punch, named Suffolk, and two yearling Suffolk Punch stallions arrive with a Clydesdale stallion and a blood stallion, Lothegrin, which has Stockwell and Touchstone on both sides of his pedigree. Stockwell traced to Birdcatcher and Touchstone was an interesting horse with 19 vertebra and pairs of ribs, and a tendency to frailty. He ran very wide behind and kept his knees straight but he was exceedingly fast. The Suffolks had been cared for exceptionally well on board by Mr. Hill and bought by Fisher and Lyons for their station. One was named Suffolk. A 4 year old brown Roadster stallion named Gratis also accompanied them for Fisher and Lyons, to go with Suffolk to their property Glencoe Station, Fountain Head, south of Port Darwin Camp. It was found Clydesdales were too slow and got ‘the puffs’ from heat.

1884. The Catterthun brings 33 draught stallions, 20 for Fisher and Lyons, 10 for Griffiths, two for Derahty and one for Hay and his partner (name indecipherable in news report), the stallion was named Sir Peter, a strong dapple grey of 15 and a half hands with splendid action, by Sir Colin Campbell (imp.) out of a Suffolk Punch mare. He was taken to the Roper River. The other stallions were Suffolk Punches and Clydesdales, it was not reported how many of each.

1886. Thomas Elder buys Owen Springs station and stocks it with good horses for India breeding, including three imported Suffolk Punch stallions.

1887. Mr McCartney’s station on the Katherine is running Suffolk Punches, and this year sells a large mob of them as work horses to the railways. They were all young and highly praised.

1894. In Pine Creek a large mob of horses arrives from down the line (same state) to be auctioned, among them one blood stallion named Scoresby, by Motea, two Suffolk Punch stallions and the rest being first class hacks, buggy horses, breeding mares and 30 good light draughts; all described as “most useful.”

1903. Two “splendid” 3 year old Suffolk Punch stallions arrive by steamer Burrumbeet to Adelaide, and put on show at the John Bull Bazaar, before being taken to Richard Warburton’s station Erldunda, south of Alice Springs. Those two were from Dangars, bought by Warburton. One was named Chieftain, another Ensign. After continuing 688 miles by train and another 312 miles on foot, the stallions arrived at Warburton’s property “in splendid condition.” Also to travel to Oodnadatta by train then 312 miles on foot to arrive in splendid condition, was another Suffolk Punch stallion Warburton bought that year from George Brookman of Adelaide (who’d imported Rendlesham Collegian). Warburton’s brand of W in a circle became famous in Australia and India.

1904. Steamer Tsinan brings a Suffolk Punch stallion to Darwin from NSW, it was 17 hands, for Tom Pearce, bred by the Hon. J.H. Dangar.

1905. Tom Pearce of Willaroo near Katherine, imports a heavy Suffolk Punch from England. He imported a young Roadster stallion with it, Young Woldsman (most news reports said this horse was imported but another more correctly says it was bought in South Australia although yes it was an import); and bought two Arab stallions of Judge Boucault’s breeding; all for breeding for the horse trade. Boucault was knighted, also a judge, also the Premier of South Australia. Pearce’s horses arrived on the steamer Eastern with a bay blood horse and a Suffolk stallion for Bill Laurie of Adelaide River Station and another 4 year old Suffolk Punch stallion for Pearce from Dangar’s of NSW. One of his Suffolk stallions was called Archer. They were advertised at stud on his station.

1906. Pearce’s Suffolk Punch stallion See Saw unexpectedly dies, it was insured. One of the Arab stallions also died of snake bite. Both by mid year.

1908. Rocklands station – which is half in Qld and half in the NT – reported stocked with many horses of Suffolk, Clydesdale and TB lines.

1908. Warburton of Erldunda buys another Suffolk, through Coles & Thomas – a 2 year old entire bred by Mr. Norman Brookman, Glenthorn, O’Halloran Hill; named Cardinal he was by an imported sire.

1909. Drover Walter Rose leaves Charleville, Queensland for Victoria River Downs, droving cattle to several stations, taking a Suffolk Punch stallion with him from Charleville for VRD.

1909. Reported drovers always picked up good roses from Newcastle Waters which were bred from “no aristocrats… but the ordinary Suffolk” (Sydney Mail & NSW Advertiser Oct 1909).

1910. By the steamer Guthrie, a Suffolk Punch stallion for Tom Pearce, described as “rolling fat, almost too fat to be safe in the tropical conditions prevailing at that time of year.”

1912. Reported Nat Buchanan, the famous overlander, had been keen on the remount trade to India and encouraged horse breeding, putting a top class Suffolk Punch stallion on Wave Hill station in the 1880’s to go over well bred saddle mares. At a sale at Fisher’s Hill River Station, South Australia, in 1876, Buchanans had been one of the big buyers of 39 Suffolk Punch stallions and mares, this may not have been Nat though. The Suffolk stud was said to be the best in South Australia and the Suffolks got big prices, the mare Duchess got 155 pounds and two of the stallion Crisp and Duke got 130 and 300 pounds. Duke went to NSW the rest to South Australia and the Territory. Both those stallions were imported, Duke by Ned Bagot who took his bloodlines to Undoolya. Crisp was bred by a Mr. Crisp and Duke by the Duke of Manchester.

1913. Alfred Cotton, noted horse trader and pastoralist, saw many horses of Suffolk descent on many stations of the NT when he toured through. Also that year J. Warburton of Erldunda was selling gunners of Suffolk descent for good prices in Adelaide.

1921. Suffolk Punch gelding with harness and delivery trolley for sale in Darwin.

1930. Report of Suffolk Punch stallions and Arab stallions on Irdricana station and mobs of 300 horses sent to Oodnadatta to be railed away for sale.

Posted by Janet Lane

Rare breeds advocate, and Waler researcher and owner/advocate since the 1980s.