The club’s first Non-Slip Retrieving Trial was held in March 1974. This trial was for Golden Retrievers only and comprised a Beginners Test and a Novice Stake. The Judge was Mr B Chandler. The winners were Hand’s Sweetwater Spirit in the Beginners Test and Pollock’s Strelyna Shareen Tinka in Novice. Later that year, a Non-Slip Retrieving Trial for all gundogs was held with a worthy entry of 45 gundogs for the three stakes, Beginners Test, Novice Stake and an All Age Stake. Golden Retrievers were again in the minority, but it was gratifying for the Trials Committee to know that the club could conduct a trial that was well organised and presented. Complimentary remarks from the competitors vouched for the success of trial and a letter of congratulations was received from the KCC.
In 1981 John Lawton was successful in training our first retrieving trial champion, RT Ch Atawhai Tangaroa CM CD. John and Vickie Lawton donated the Atawhai Tangaroa Field and Retrieving Perpetual Trophy to the club in 1983 in honour of Tang. The perpetual trophy is awarded each year to the best dog competing in both Field and Retrieving. This trophy was first awarded in 1984 to Jeanette Watson’s dog Guldbrae Hiland Echo CDX. In addition the trophy awarded to the winner of the All Age Stake at our club trials was renamed the RT Ch Atawhai Tangaroa CD CM Trophy and was first presented in Oct 1983.
By 1988 gundog obedience training was being held regularly at the club’s Member’s Competitions. The club got behind this new competition and supported members who wanted to learn more because this competition was a stepping stone to competition at Retrieving and Field Trials.
Two new retrieving awards were introduced on 1 Jan 1988 in addition to the Retrieving Champion title. The title of Novice Retrieving Dog (NRD) was awarded to a dog who earned two first places in a Novice Stake and the title Restricted Retrieving Dog (RRD) was awarded to a dog who earned three first places in the Restricted Stake. Later the requirements for NRD were altered to require three first places in Novice. The first Golden Retriever in Australia to earn the Novice Retrieving Dog title was John Hyde’s Golden Retriever Goldshoe Jingles NRD from NSW. The second was Ferndarra Game Seeker NRD handled by John Lawton.
The working dog sub committee was formed in 1988 to conduct Obedience, Gundog Obedience, Retrieving and Field Trials and other working activities for the club. In 1989 our club was one of the first in Australia to hold a Gundog Obedience Test. By 1990 the working dog sub committee was very active, each year holding two Retrieving Trials, two Field Trials, a Gundog Obedience Test and a Restricted Obedience Trial. 1991 saw a fundraising initiative launched on behalf of the club by the working dog sub committee. The windcheaters and t-shirts with our chosen motto proved to be very popular. Everyone wanted attire which said “Golden Retrievers - the Quiet Achievers”.
The club’s Silver Anniversary year in 1992 was one of firsts. It was very pleasing to see the numbers of Golden Retrievers competing in Field and Retrieving Trials increasing during the year. Allanora Xmas Holly CD earned her Dual Champion title. Holly was Best of Breed at the Royal Melbourne Show and she also earned two All Age wins in that year. She joined the other two Victorian Dual Champions, Dual Ch (F) Sweetwater Courage and Dual Ch (F) Tiptree Timothy CD. Holly was also awarded the dual purpose award that year for dogs competing in conformation and working disciplines. As part of the silver celebrations for the first time the club held a two day retrieving trial in October with Novice, Restricted and All Age Stakes and our Gundog Obedience Test had two stakes, Novice and Open. This Open test was the first held in Victoria.
Obedience training and gundog obedience training were still being offered at alternate Members Competitions. The club conducted a one day retrieving training day at Melton and a very successful training weekend at Shepparton.
In 1994 our annual obedience trial was expanded to include all gundog breeds and we held a Gundog Obedience Test and the Restricted Obedience Trial on the same day. At this time we were the only club holding gundog obedience competitions for all gundog breeds.
The numbers of Golden Retrievers competing at Retrieving Trials continued to increase and for the first time the predominant breed competing at Retrieving Trials was the Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers were represented at all levels form beginner to all age and were being placed in these stakes.
After lobbying by the GRCV late in 1995 Gundog Obedience Tests became Gundog Working Tests. The change of name better reflected the content of the test and avoided confusion with obedience trials.
By 1996 our two Retrieving Trials had three stakes offered at each trial. The training weekend at Shepparton had become an annual event on the club’s calendar.
At the National Retrieving Championship Trial held in South Australia in 1996 a Golden Retriever performed exceptionally well. Jim Hargreaves and RT Ch Kiamagold Sebastian CDX CM finished the national retrieving championships. Bundy was the third golden in the history of the event to finish a National – and he was placed in sixth place on effort and awarded Highest Scoring Golden Retriever in Trial.
In 1997 one of our Retrieving Trials was held at a new property, Chateau Tabilk which proved to be a popular venue. Our Retrieving Trials continue to be held at the winery to the current day. Our training weekends were expanded to two.
In 2003 the National Retrieving Championship Trial was held in Tasmania. Of the 45 dogs entered from all around Australia, there were seven Golden Retrievers. A Victorian Golden Retriever RT Ch Winterset Moon Shadow CM handed by Jim Hargreaves was placed second in this prestigious event. Kato was also the highest scoring Golden Retriever and was awarded the judges choice trophy for showing excellent style, eagerness and action on a particular run.
In 2005 Jim and RT Ch Winterset Moon Shadow CM won the VCA State Championship Trial. Another Golden Retriever, Goorambat Hide N Seek handled by Mark Sewell also performed well at this trial and finished in sixth place. In 2006 Kato qualified for the title of Grand Retrieving Champion and became Grand RT Ch Winterset Moon Shadow CM. The prestigious VCA Retrieving Dog of the Year was awarded to Grand RT Ch Winterset Moon Shadow CM twice - in 2006 and 2007.
There have been several exceptional champions and top quality working Golden Retrievers produced in the relatively short time that Goldens have been working in Australia. At the present time there are several Goldens successfully competing in Retrieving Trials and the club has a strong commitment to working retrievers holding two Retrieving Trials each year.
Our motto “Golden Retrievers – the Quiet Achievers” reflects the true nature of the Golden Retriever – sure, true, quiet and unassuming, but always there in the final results.