A BRIEF HISTORY
The Oaklands Hunt was formed in 1888 from a draft of hounds, kindly donated by the Melbourne Hunt. The first meet took place on the 28th July 1888. This season we are celebrating our 125th anniversary (see below for more descriptive details). The Kennels are located in the suburb of Greenvale which is within close proximity to the Melbourne International Airport and approximately 28 kilometres from the CBD of Melbourne. The Hunt Country is essentially all grass and undulating in terms of topography.
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Rupert Inglesant, formerly from the Tedworth, Ludlow and the Belvoir is in his second season hunting the hounds. Rupert arrived in June last year (half way through the season) and his wife Caroline and the family pet dog “Tigger” joined him in October.
The hounds are modern English in type. Below is a list of imported hounds over the last 30 years.
- Tynedale Barrister ‘08
- Crawley & Horsham Moonstone ‘05
- Duke of Beaufort’s Bathurst ‘03
- Duke of Beaufort’s Mafia ‘95
- Exmoor Blackberry ‘93
- North Cotswold Pricket ‘86
- Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Toggle ‘86
- Duke of Beaufort’s Watchman ‘84
We are extremely grateful to Frank Houghton Brown, Antony Sanderman, Captain Ian Farquhar, the late Captain Ronnie Wallace and Nigel Peel for their extraordinary generosity in making these hounds available. Also a special thank you to John Masterton ( M.F.H – the Melbourne Hunt 1981 – 2011) who was very kind with making drafts available to us in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
We have four female lines in kennels. Below is a list.
- Grafton Polly ‘1888
- Duke of Beaufort’s Worrit ‘54
- Exmoor Gossip ‘87
- Exmoor Blackberry ‘93
CLIMATE AND SEASON
Our season operates in reverse to that of the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn Hunting begins in early March, the Opening Meet is held traditionally on the first Saturday in May and the season concludes in Mid-September. Our weather for the best part of the last twenty years has been dominated by extreme variances, essentially lower rainfall and warmer temperatures. Mid-August 2012 to Mid-May 2013 saw the driest period recorded on record in many areas.
The weather pattern mentioned above made Autumn Hunting this year extremely challenging. Temperatures often above 25 degrees, together with strong northerly winds made the task difficult – frustrating Hounds, Masters and Staff in the process. In the first week in March 2012 we rode through thick mud, scent was burning and we wore our winter kit! Mid May saw a reduction in temperatures and some much needed rain. June was dominated by heavy frosts, sunshine and poor scent. Good rainfall has been prevalent since the second weekend in July (As I am writing this – I have just returned from outdoors feeding stock and trouncing through mud in my wellingtons) and hunting on the whole has seen a rapid improvement.
125th Anniversary Celebrations.
The period from Sunday 28th July until Saturday 3rd August saw many memorable occasions.
Sunday 28th July
This day marked the 125th anniversary of the first meet of the Oaklands Foxhounds. The day began with a sit down hot breakfast. In all 107 people were present. It was great to see so many former subscribers exchanging yarns from the old days, all landowners whose properties we intended to cross were also present. The Hunt Chairman, Mr Geoff Sampson proposed a toast to Oaklands, Mrs Catherine Cameron – Kennedy M.F.H gave a brief history of Oaklands, in particular regarding the local area and the farmers. Richard Cameron – Kennedy M.F.H concluded the speeches by outlining the protocol for the day ahead.
Despite a strong northerly wind – the day was a cracker! Three foxes were accounted for on top, a further two marked to ground, four took refuge in the neighbouring quarry and one ended up in the local township of Greenvale. Many, many hunt obstacles were taken in their stride, horses went home cooked and many visitors were glowing in their remarks. All this took place 10 minutes from the Melbourne international airport and 25 kilometres from the CBD!
The day concluded with a BBQ spit to continue on the celebrations.
Friday 2nd August
Hounds met at the property “Molliacca”, hosted by Mr Will Burrell. Will originates from the Crawley and Horsham, his father and brother have previously been Masters in that country. A strong field including many visitors enjoyed a splendid meet. Hounds took a while to find, but ran nicely from about 12:30 to 2:00pm, the weather turned extremely foul around 2:30pm. A splendid hunt breakfast put on by Will and his team saw many followers indulging well into the evening.
Saturday 3rd August
Hounds met at the Emu Flat Church, Emu Flat. Persistent fog saw us start with a degree of trepidation. The fog lifted marginally as we approached the first draw. Hounds soon found in the first bracken patch and were up together rather quickly. Hounds changed some 10 minutes into the hunt, but continued to run very hard. The fog began to set in rather quickly and we soon lost contact with the hounds. After several phone calls and cbd radio contact, hounds were soon accounted for marking in a large rock ledge. Hounds found again straight away, Charlie took us in several large circles before crossing a reasonably busy road and straightening out. It was pleasing to see two sisters – Tetly ’12 and Teacup ’12 take the pack across two roads and a creek crossing, these two are by our heavily used Mancroft ’05, a cracking dog in his work and whose progeny are proving to be first class.
Hunt Ball Saturday 3rd August
After 3 solid days hunting inside a week, we all fronted up to the Annual Hunt Ball. A large attendance, together with some splendid auction items made the evening a great financial success. A horn blowing and whip cracking competition also added some humour to the evening.
Some further highlights
Saturday 10th August
Hounds met at “Forest Creek”, Knowsley at the kind invitation of Peter and Marlene Hyatt. This area of country is our most northern point. Unlike the above mentioned, the country in this area is relatively flat. Hounds took a while to find, but were soon busy by midday, accounting for a fox shortly before 1:30pm. Hounds went away strongly at 2:15, Charlie initially unsighted. Will Burrell (mentioned above) set a device onto his mobile phone which read at the conclusion of the day;
“We rode 44 kilometres, for 5.17 hours, travelled at pace of 7:07 minutes per kilometre and the last hunt of the day lasted 11.25 kilometres “!
Wednesday 28th August
Hounds met at Silver’s, Pyalong. The weather warm and sunny, however the ground was still very wet under foot. Hounds found plenty of foxes throughout the day but couldn’t really do much. Hounds found at 2:30pm. It quickly became apparent that they were on good terms – together quickly and away in a flash, scent was strong. The fox ran a dirt road for about a kilometre and then back into open country, note – Blameless ’10 took the pack onto and then off the road – quiet a special thing to witness. Hounds ran for 25 minutes flat chat and accounted for the fox. For those who are interested Blameless ’10 is a great granddaughter to Exmoor Blackberry ’93. I have produced her female line which follows.
Oaklands Blameless ‘10
Oaklands Mancroft ’05 Oaklands Bloomer ‘04
Exmoor Nimrod ’97 Oaklands Blizzard ‘00
Melbourne Galloper ’92 Exmoor Blackberry ‘93
Exmoor Cousin ’89 Exmoor Bilberry ‘91
Berkeley Fowler ’87 Exmoor Birdsong ‘89
Exmoor Bandsman ’81 Exmoor Rattle ‘85
Duke of Beaufort’s Buckshot ’82 Exmoor Redcap ‘82
Crawley & Horsham Bailiff ’85 Exmoor Resolute ‘78
Heythrop Winston ’73 Heythrop Remedy ‘73
Tipperary Bacchus ’71 Heythrop Redwing ‘69
Heythrop Lurcher ’67 Heythrop Ragtime ‘64
Heythrop Wizard ’59 Heythrop Rowdy ‘61
Heythrop Spartan ’58 Heythrop Rolic ‘57
Heythrop Brigand ’54 Cotswold Rosebud ‘51
Ludlow Harlequin ’46 Cotswold Rocket ‘49
Carlow Pedlar ’45 Carlow Woodlark ‘44
I am probably biased, but Exmoor Blackberry ’93 is one of the best I have ever seen in the field. A point of enormous interest is that Captain Wallace hunted this female line for 12 generations. I can recall vividly winding up Rory Innes and Charles Frampton in the bar at Peterborough 2007 to make the necessary arrangements to obtain the above mentioned bloodlines.
Our season finishes in 10 days with the final meet from our home “Sherwood” on Saturday 14th September. In all hounds will have been out on 55 occasions. The 3rd week in September sees Hunter classes at the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show, always a great event for hunting people to come together.
Sunday 6th October is the annual Oaklands Hound Show. The judge this year is Frank Houghton Brown.
Richard Cameron – Kennedy M.F.H