History of Mac-Ladanae  Breed information  Showing  Photos  Sires  For Sale Links  Contact

 My interest in the Highland Breed began when I was working in the country town of Meningie. I was driving back to Meningie after days off and say this animal that had hair with a large fringe, huge down turned horns and a dark red colour. I had no idea what I had just seen and on returning to the hospital that I worked in tried to explain what I had seen. A few years later, I was watching a TV show were Allister Stewart was being interviewed by a ABC journalist about his Fold of Highland Cattle that he had bred up using Highland Semen from the UK, and Canada. Finally I knew what the beast was I had seen a few years earlier. The interview also mentioned that there was a meeting in Melbourne to establish a registration body for Highland Cattle. I was on the phone as soon as I found Allister's phone number and he kindly directed me to a person who had some descendents of the old cattle in the Adelaide Hills. Within two weeks of seeing the TV show we had our first two Highlands. That was 1988 and the same year the Australian Highland Cattle Society was formed although the AHCS did not have an official name at that stage. I joined the society and was given the fold number 34. We attempted to upgrade by breeding with our neighbors dairy cattle but 3 steers was the result. We then purchased an appendix A cow with a bull calf at foot. (Sadie 8th of Ardvorlich) a princely sum of $7500 back then (not sure what the equivalent would be at today's prices. There were very few Fully imported bloodline cattle in Australia at the time, and two breeders had most of the genetics. One was David Miller who was selling embryo pregnancies and was in Victoria, The other was Berta Von Bibra from the Macquarie Fold in Tasmania. We purchase a heifer from Berta and picked her up from a delivery depot in Melbourne after her trip across the Tasman straight. Not the biggest cow but very true to type. I remember artificially inseminating Maighdean of Macquarie one of the first I did on my own animal and when she calved out delivered Gusgurlach of Macquarie.
I had a fold of Old Cattle bloodlines, graded up and fully imported bloodlines and dared people to distinguish between the types. Unfortunately we sold a grade C heifer to a gentleman who knew a member on council of which I was on as well who told him to demand I give him his heifers pedigree which when he purchased said he didn't want and did not pay for, Long story short he got the pedigree transfer but decided then that I would eventually sell my Graded and Old cattle animals and focus on only having fully imported bloodline cattle.

Our first show of any kind was at the Royal Adelaide Show. Prior to that entry we had taken the cattle as displays to show off the breed but had never ventured into the show ring. Well what a learning curve, had little to no idea on what we were getting ourselves into had a comb, rope halters and buckets for feeding and very little else. We were fortunate to have a Belted Galloway breeder who took us under his wing and prepared for the judging day. On the judging day the then President of the Society Ray Atchison flew from Melbourne to help. Dirty old rope halters and untrimmed pizels entered the show ring. That year we had two bulls only. One we had purchased with his dam, and one we had bred.
Into the ring I ventured only to be greeted over the microphone by the judge that the sheep pavilion was behind the cattle area and these animals were in the wrong show ring. To say I was amazed at such comment was an understatement, I ignored and strode on into the ring. The President of the society then approached the judge before the second entry and politely read him the riot act. Both bulls in their own classes won. The Ray then asked me which one I hoped would be placed first so I said the bull I had bred which was Lochinvar of Mac-Ladanae. The President said he would take the other because he guaranteed that whichever he lead into the ring the other would win, He was right...
For 20 years I continued showing at the Royal Adelaide show with mixed success as numbers of breeders increased in number and I learnt so much as well as my sons all taking part in the showing and training.
Our first National show was held in Melbourne and we as a family went many years and set up camp in the cattle shed. We occasionally won a ribbon but the event in my eyes was more to compare what we were breeding as well as meeting many friends and acquaintances we met along the way. In hind sight we as much as we tried never managed to fatten the cattle to the standard that many had and in the earlier days took a lot of teaching ourselves to get competitive. Our greatest successes was the day Gusgurlach of Mac-Ladanae was interbreed Champion at the Mount Pleasent show in the Adelaide Hills. The Judge was a beef cattle buyer and not aligned to a particular beef breed and stunned many including myself when Gus was given the broad ribbon. Another time was the National show at Gawler in South Australia. This was a two day show and the first day was interbreed showing with little success. The Sunday was our National Show and our Judge was a well respected Red Poll Breeder from Jamestown, South Australia. My cattle were handled on the day by my sons who first succeeded in having Thor of Mac-Ladanae a young Black Bull (from old cattle Breeding) win the Junior Champion Bull. We then entered the ring with Flash Gordon of Mac-Ladanae who went on to win Senior Champion Bull and Grand Champion Bull. Ten days Later Flash repeated his success with Grand Champion Bull at the 2006 Royal Adelaide Show.
Although I still enjoy taking cattle out to displays I have slowed down on showing. When I first started showing and displaying in the 80's I would easily do 40 days and more at various shows and event. This year 2022 has been the busiest in a long while with 10 days, consisting of three weekends at displays and four days at the National Show in Mount Gambia in the South East of South Australia.
We moved to a new property in 2018 several dams, lots of hills and plenty of grasses. The cattle have really bloomed since moving, We now live in the Barossa Hills and for those who are wine drinkers, Jacobs Creek starts on the property next door and flows down past several paddocks.
My son and Daughter in Western Australia are also very active in the promotion and showing Highland Cattle and have taken the fold into Western Australia under the Mac-Ladanae umbrella. Who knows when Mac-Ladanae will no longer be showing but since 1988 we have been out there and with Nathan keen to promote the breed and having two grandsons one in WA and the other in SA I believe we will be around for some time to come.

© 2022 Mac-Ladanae Highland Cattle Fold