The First Imported Golden Retrievers

It is difficult to determine the year in which Golden Retrievers were first introduced to Australia as no record of registration can be found prior to 1937.  However, there is evidence that a dog and bitch were brought back from England by a returning land owner in 1914.  This pair were said to be trained field workers and were used for this purpose in their new country.  Puppies were produced but were given to friends of the family and no records were kept.  This information is in a book written in 1975 by the great grandson of the first Winter-Irving settler, Jock Winter, who arrived from Scotland in 1852.  The book, a family history is titled "Further Out", and was written by W A Winter-Irving.  A letter sent to the Golden breeder in Queensland in the 1970’s by an elderly member of the family confirms this story.  Mrs Winter-Irving wrote that it was her father who brought the Goldens to this country, but could not give details of names or dates, or to whom the puppies were given, so it must be assumed that this line eventually died out.

The First Champions

The first documented information is the registration of Grakle of Tone, bred by Miss F Newton-Deakin of Dorset, England, whelped 1st April, 1937, and registered in Victoria, 17th November of that year.   His owner was Miss Elsa Grice, at that time a prominent breeder of Cairn Terriers, under the 'Rahween' prefix, who lived at 'Girrahween’, Mt. Macedon.  This property was destroyed in the bushfire that swept Mt Macedon in 1983.  The sire of the dog was Noranby General, (Ch Heydown Grip - Ch Noranby Diana), bred by Mrs Charlesworth, who wrote the first book on Golden Retrievers.   His dam was Silence of Tone (Noranby Mica - Noranby Black Eyed Susan) owned by Miss Newton-Deakin.

Arriving with Grakle of Tone for Miss Grice was the bitch Temeraire, (Stubbings Golden Hidalgo - Stubbings Golden Calypso) bred by Mr Mash.  This bitch was to become the first Golden Retriever KCC Champion, the dog gaining his title soon after.  On 28th September, 1938, Miss Grice bred her first Golden litter from these imports, two dogs and two bitches were registered on 26th December, of that year.  The colour range of these puppies was from light golden shade to deep bright shade, and one of the dogs was described as being light golden with slightly curly coat.   Grakle of Tone is said to have died of Distemper during the early years of the Second World War.

Early Golden Retriever Kennels

In the 1940’s Rahween Calypso became the foundation for Manyung kennels.   Yellowstones kennels of Setters and Labradors imported Hunting Mack of Kaikora and Gold Jewel of Waikaia from New Zealand.  Jewel was a granddaughter of Gipsy of Rahween (Imp Aus).   Puppies from Mack and Jewel were to be the foundation of several kennels. 

Yellowstones Derry and Rahween Calypso produced puppies who were the foundation for 'Woburn' kennels and 'Wahgunyah' kennels who were to be the back­bone of the Golden Retrievers in the early 1950's and the foundation of many subsequent leading kennels.

Boltby Comet and Halsham Hazel had been imported from UK in 1954, and founded the 'Bonspiel' kennels.   These two were bred extensively and were later bred again but under the 'Edmay' prefix.  Many of the puppies bearing the 'Bonspiel' or 'Edmay' prefix were to be seen in the show ring and subsequently attained their Championship titles.

By 1958 the entry of Goldens for Melbourne Royal had increased to sixteen of which six had their titles.  Registrations of Golden Retrievers increased rapidly throughout the 1960's, with a few competing in both the field and show ring.

Although Victoria led the field in the introduction of the Golden Retriever to Australia they first appeared in NSW in the late forties or early fifties, and it would appear that Queensland closely followed South Australia with imports from England in 1953 and Golden Retrievers first appearing in WA in 1961.

Dual Champion

The first Field Trial Champion in Victoria was Dual Ch (F) Sweetwater Courage who made up her title in 1975.  This achievement also made her the first Dual Champion in the breed in Victoria.  Dual Ch (F) Sweetwater Courage was owned by David and Heather Hands.

Australian Obedience Champion

In 1976 Aspley Golden Lady AOC owned by Ruth Nicholls was the first Golden Retriever in Victoria to earn her Australian Obedience Champion title.  In 1976 this required the dog to earn three obedience titles and a tracking title.

Retrieving Trial Champion

The first Retrieving Trial Champion was awarded in 1982 to RT CH Atawhai Tangaroa owned by John Lawton.

Grand Champion

After the new title of Grand Champion was introduced on 1 January 1998, Gr Ch Tahmero Gay Cavalier owned by Tahmero Kennels became the first Victorian Golden Retriever to be awarded the title of Grand Champion.


Boltby Comet Edmay Brandy Jananni Jedda
Aust Ch Boltby Comet (Imp UK) (Eng Ch Boltby Skylon x Goldawn Brandy) owned by I Spencer bred by D Adamson born 21 Mar 1953 Aust Ch Edmay Brandy (Ch Boltby Comet x Bonnie Annabelle) owned by Mrs B Brady bred by Mr & Mrs W Davies born 13 Sept 1958 Aust Ch Jannani Jedda (Whyt House Comet x Taumac Golden Trilby) owned by Rose & Reg Odell bred by P Glennan born 31 Dec 1963
Grakle of Tone
Pedigee of Grakle of Tone (Imp UK) born 1 April 1937