History of English Tippler Importation in Australia, Late 90's to 2009

by Danny McCarthy

I have been asked to write an article on the importation of English Tipplers into Australia by my good friend Luka Kapac, secretary of the CNTU for the October issue of their newsletter.

Well Luka I will not venture into the history of tipplers that were here pre 1995, as I do not have rock solid details on them. I will leave that topic for another time, until I have done my research and have all the facts.

In around the middle to late nineties, a very fine tippler man by the name of Colin Jones, who lives in Queensland imported a couple of Hughes birds from the UK. They were both from the loft of David Bertenshaw. They were both blue bars. These two birds produce a lot of good birds for Colin. However approximately just after two years the imported Bertenshaw hen died in Colin’s loft. As Colin had bred a few young ones from these two birds, he was able to put the daughters back to the Bertenshaw cock, and thus keep the strain going strong here in Australia. Colin later gave Chris Francis and Aidan McIlhatton a hen each from his imported pair of birds, and later also loaned them the Bertenshaw imported cock to breed with the two hens he had given them. Chris and Aidan used their breeding skills with the stock that they had received and have gone on to preserve the Bertenshaw strain of tippler that we have here today. Aidan has made the Bertenshaw’s his personal project, and he has some very fine specimens in his loft today.

In 1997 Mick Hoskins imported three pairs of tipplers into this country. They were made up of 2 Tom Dilks Hughes type hens, from the loft of Tex Brooks, both were blue bars. 1 pair of Shannon’s from the loft of Harry Shannon, one a blue bar cock and the other a silver hen. One pair of Ken Potts, from the Loft of Ken Potts. A blue bar cock, and a grizzle hen. Over a period of time Mick bred from these birds and produced some real beauties. Mick then loaned these birds to Chris Francis and Aidan McIlhatton for a period of time, who bred from these birds and produced some excellent specimens of the strain. Most if not all of the tipplers that are found in lofts around Australia today come from these birds.

In 2000 Chris Francis imported two tipplers from the UK. Both birds came from the loft of Colin Bristow. One was a tippler from the famous Brian White strain; it was a blue saddle cock. The other a white flighted silver hen, that was bred by Colin Bristow from a Harry Shannon blue hen that was a member of Harry’s world record kit, and one of Colin’s own black badge cocks. Both these birds have produced many good flyers that can also be found in lofts around Australia.

Sometime after Chris imported his birds into Australia, a gentleman by the name of Edward Quarkar imported two Lovatt’s into Australia, unfortunately I am not sure where he imported these birds from, or from which breeders loft.

All I have been told is that the Lovatt cock died in quarantine. I am not sure what ever happened to the Lovatt hen.

In 2004 I imported 5 tipplers from the UK, all from the loft of Davey Warrener who lives in Sunderland. The five birds were made up of 1 Hughes Blue Bar Cock, 1 Jack Heaton Black Hen, and three Dunseith’s. 1 Dark Bronze Cock,

1 Light Bronze Hen and 1 Black Mottled Hen.

I have used these five birds to build up my stock and I am very pleased with what they have produced.

In 2005 Aldo Skender imported two Lovatt’s from the UK.

They were both from the loft of Jimmy Johnson. The two birds were made up of 1 Silver Grizzle Cock and a Dark Blue Check Hen. Unfortunately the hen died in quarantine.

Then in late 2005 early 2006 Aldo imported another Dark Blue Check Hen from the UK, from Jimmy Johnson’s loft.

Aldo has been breeding from these two birds, and he has a very fine crop of Lovatt’s in his loft. I was lucky enough to be gifted five young Lovatt’s by Aldo, which were bred from his imports.

In late 2006 Mick Hoskins and I decided to import some more birds in from the UK. There were 9 birds in all. Mick had 3 Shannon’s from Harry Shannon’s loft and I had two Shannon’s also from Harry’s loft, two Hughes and two Dunseith’s from Davey Warrener’s loft. The birds went into quarantine in December 2006 and were supposed to out of quarantine after 35 days, and on their way to Australia. Unfortunately England was hit by the dreaded bird flu and all quarantine stations were placed in shutdown. The birds were in quarantine right until late 2008. This was due to the fact that no animal or bird could leave the shores of England until England was declared free of the bird flu by the powers to be.

In the mean time while this was all going on, both Mick and I lost two birds each while they were in quarantine. Mick lost two of his Shannon’s, and I lost a Shannon and a Blue Hughes hen. The end result was, Mick received one bird, a Grey Grizzle Shannon Cock, and I received four, one Shannon Blue Badge Hen, one Hughes Blue Bar Hen, one Black Dunseith Hen and one Dark Bronze Dunseith Cock. The whole process was nerve racking, stressful, and way too expensive to say the least, but in the end it was worth the wait. The new arrivals have given us a wider base to breed from and at the same time freshen up the bloodlines that we already have.

I am more than sure there will be other imports that will no doubt make their way to our shores, which in my humble opinion is a good thing, as it will only serve to heighten the enthusiasm in the sport.

So Luka my friend in a nutshell this is the history of the imported birds that have hit the shores of Australia, from the late nineties till the present day. I have tried as much as possible to give an accurate account of the history of the imports, and hope it is not too disjointed.

I have attached pictures of the imported birds where possible, but unfortunately was not able to get pictures of all the imports, as some of the birds were not photographed by their owners.

Thanks once again for giving me the opportunity to write this article.

All the best for now.

Danny McCarthy