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Highlights of 35 Years of Beef Production in Western Queensland with James R. Walker

“CUMBERLAND STUD was established in 1953 by Sir James Walker with the purchase of top quality females from the eastern states.  Notably, stud polled shorthorn females from Listowel (Encino Son) blood, Doctor Buckingham and Victorian Studs; also first cross Santa Shorthorn females, (Turanville Master Builder) blood.  Other purchases were first cross Brahman Santa females from Invicta Stud, Bundaberg.  These females were joined with imported King Ranch sires including Ajax, Acrobat, Budget, Champ, Joker and Pancho.

“In 1959 Cumberland produced the first Australian born purebred Santa Gertrudis.  Further purchases of high class sires were made, including Bolinda Vale Danny, Goono Brocade and Monkey and king Ranch First Rate, Generation, Figure Head, Hallmark, Historian and Horizon.

“In 1956 Sir James had been unsuccessful in importing twenty females and one bull from Tilden, Texas USA when a Blue Tongue outbreak in that country terminated the journey at dockside.  However, he was able to acquire three imported females from Mr Lyall Kirkby from Moree, at the Australian record price of 6250 guineas.

“From a tentative first annual sale in 1958 (first and second cross bulls averaged 159 guineas), Cumberland bull sales have been swept along by a tremendous nationwide demand for quality Santas.

“The property’s 1960 sale establishing a Queensland Record price for a third cross bull (1125 guineas) and in the same year the Stud obtained top price and best average at Alpha, Biloela, Charleville, Cloncurry and Townsville bull sales.  Cumberland’s first RNA Brisbane Grand Champion bull Answer, was also the first Cumberland bull to set the Queensland all breed record price when he sold for 4900 guineas at the 1964 sale.  Centurion in 1965, Brisbane Champion Diplomat in 1967 and Fresco in 1968 all established Queensland all breed record prices for the year.  Guardian’s sale to South Australia broke the Queensland breed record at $23,500 in 1969 when the highest price paid in the world for a catalogue of Santa Gertrudis was achieved at the 12th annual sale.

“Throughout the 1970s strong annual sales continue and records were set and broken.  Space limits this report.  Sons of the great King Ranch bulls Leader and First Rate dominated this decade of sales.  Ironside, Herod, Imperial, Kimberley, Kaniva, Leopold, Lyndon, Lazzarone, Lubeck and Kingswood were among the top selling bulls that went to major studs in every main State in Australia.

“If the interest was strong in the seventies demand found another gear as the 1980s approached.  Show champions Muscovy, Napolean and Raider, topped sales at the end of the seventies and the first Queensland beef breed bull was sold to Tasmania in 1979.  Cumberland produced the first Santa Gertrudis calves born in Australia by ovum transplantation in the early 1980s.  Salamanda broke the Queensland Santa Gertrudis price at $25,000 in 1980 only to have it eclipsed in 1981 when the polled Santa Gertrudis Australian record priced Styvestant sold for $34,000.

“Voyager, Tucson and Utah, all sons of KRAM Ricardo, topped the 1982 and 1983 sales.  Subsequent sales to 1987 saw the influence of Royal Show Champions Ripperoony and Tornado who have produced high selling sons Valentino, Whale, Yeo, Yates, Amazon, Zahrah (P), Zarb and Zamia.  Another poll sire Goonoo Zorro has made a great contribution with two sons Wyoming and Zabien topping sales in 1984 and 1986.

“Our record breaking 1988 sale swept all previous records before it.  The twelve led bulls averaged in excess of $20,000 with the Australian record price $60,000 being paid for the first fully imported son of the giant American poll bull Arkansas Answer, and Nine Bar Ranch Maria (imp.).

“We are proud of the stud’s achievement which includes exhibiting Grand Champion Santa Gertrudis bulls at all capital city shows in Australia and Tasmania and semen sales to New Zealand and South Africa.

“We believe we have the sire power and the female base to produce the product the industry demands as we approach the 1990s.  Thirty-five years of strict culling and the selection of the high performing, good doing cattle bred in the harsh arid environment of Western Queensland ensures that these cattle will thrive and perform across the country.

“The Santa Gertrudis breed has certainly been good to us and our lives have been enriched by the associations formed with so many fine people from all over Australia and abroad.”