How it all began
The beginning of the Retrieving and Field Trials Club of South Australia
as told by Mr Bill Edwards.
HOW DID IT START
After the judging of the dogs at the Royal show at Wayville in 1977 and after several lemonades while discussing of how Tamzok and Sandy had won their class but due to the incompetence of the Judge had not progressed any further, three mutual friends namely Westy Morris, Geoff Oaks and myself Bill Edwards discussed the declining number of retrieving trials being conducted by the clubs and the lack of Field Trials being conducted in South Australia and what could be done to improve the situation.
Several more Lemonades later I suggested that another club may be necessary to assist the established clubs in promoting Retrieving Trials and to introduce the running of Field Trials in SA. As a result I was given the job of discussing the matter with the South Australian Canine Association (SACA) on how to establish a club and also get advice from the other Gundog Club people.
After discussions and favourable support received, I arranged with a fellow supporter Mr L J Rose who happened to be the licensee of the Tea Tree Gully hotel to hold a meeting of interested people on the 20 February 1978 to explain what we had in mind with the establishment of a new club. Our goal for establishing the club was to strengthen the promotion of retrieving trials, and also explain our desire to introduce the concept of Field Trials. This would give an opportunity for handlers and their gundogs to be tested with working game. This would involve handlers shooting over their dogs at live game and the gundog retrieving the shot game back to hand.
The meeting was a success and it was decided by majority that I should make all the necessary arrangements with SACA to establish of Retrieving and Field Trials Club of South Australia (RAFTCOSA). Mr Ray Stewart who was the SACA chairman and Mrs Margaret Paynter the SACA secretary gave me excellent support during this time.
A committee was elected with Ian Rose as President, myself as Secretary and Geoff Oaks as Vice President. On the committee and my greatest supporter was my wife Nancy (I could not have put in all the time and effort without her help). Some of the other foundation members were Don Bowden, Ray Ashenden and Mick Mundy.
A few weeks after the establishment of RAFTCOSA we heard that the Golden Retriever Club was unable to proceed with the running of their allocated dates for a retrieving trial later that year. So as the Secretary of RAFTCOSA, I approached SACA requesting our club take over the dates. The request was accepted and as such enabled the club to run its first trial which was on the 22nd and 23rd of July, 1978.
We were fortunate that one of our committee members, Mr Ray Ashenden was able to get the support of Mr Lachlin Dodd a land holder at Meningee to have the use of his property and the people of Meningie were most generous with the supply of catering facilities, firewood and water. *** RAFTCOSA still uses this property every year
The inaugural judges for the trial were
Mr C Adkins from SA – Novice (26 entries)
Mrs G Hann from SA – Beginners Test (14 Entries)
Mr B Chandler from Vic - Restricted (18 entries)
Mr C Joy from Vic – Restricted (21 entries)
Mr B Chandler from Vic – All Age (18 entries)
A few weeks prior to the trial, my son Peter and son in law Vin accompanied me to a Victorian trial and while there we explained about the new club and as a result we received great support as several triallers came over to run their dogs.
During the first year I was fortunate in gaining the support of Jack Montersall and Charlie Ball who conducted training sessions for Field Trials and from memory we conducted out 1st Field Trial at a property near Meningie early in 1979.
Our first Patron of the Club was Mrs Jenny Verco. The committee asked me to contact her and although both her and her husband Mick were on holidays in London I had a contact number so gave her a call and we were priviledge to receive her acceptance.
And this was as I remember the beginning of the Club.