First there were the men of the 'Blackcountry', tough men, who lived in a harsh environment.  Miners, chain makers and iron workers, hard working, hard living men.  Men who escaped their miserable hard lives by participating in cruel blood thirsty brawls to make an extra shilling.  These men bred, developed and worked a breed of dog to be proud of, a dog who loved the Blackcountry life, a companion at home or in the pit, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

In 1935, some of these men realised that the future of their beloved breed was in the show ring, blood sports were illegal and to ensure the survival of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, they formed a club, wrote a breed standard, registered the dogs and went to a dog show.

When Bill and Eve Stevens emigrated to Australia in 1951 little did they know that the two companions they brought with them, a dog Tinkers China (Proud Brin X Hals Wish) and a bitch Bill's Hope (Stokerrow Tiger X Trixie Twister), would be the first Staffords registered in the eastern states and through their progeny would emerge an empire of breeders and enthusiasts all over Australia.

Beginning with Westaff (Stevens) prefix many others were attracted to this versatile dog.   Raijoh (Johnson) bred the first Stafford in Australia to win Best In Show in 1959.   Raijoh Rhino (Aberdein)(Westaff Game Lad X Westaff Gainas Lady), notably this dog's son Rettondon Max (Lamb)(Raijoh Rhino X Brindle Babs Of Bandits (Imp UK) was reserve in show at the same show.  Kumbari (Knight) campaigned the first Australian Champion in 1959, Ch Westaff Red Devil (tinkers China X Bills Hope).  Many others were responsible for great achievements within the breed and many founded todays most well know staffords, including Rettondon (Lamb), Holdfast (NSW, first prefix) (Crawford), Ribrasta(Gower), Nipro (Orpin), Olmoday (Davidson) and Allstaff (Thomas) to name a few.

The mid 60's saw a pet dog (Constones Cadet Again) (Bakhead Benjamin X Constones Comette) come to Queensland with his family from the UK and gave Queensland breeders a much needed outcross.  Dr. Lois Davidson (Olmoday) and Dr. Chris and Ida Lamb (Rettondon), imported dogs from the UK and New Zealand in the mid 60's.  Ch Lydes Jaguar of Linksbury (UK) (Eng Ch Rellim Ferryvale Victor X Linksbury Derry Dhu), Ch Linksbury Isola of Olmoday(UK) (Rossile Hobson X Linksbury Laura) and Redheads Gigi (NZ) (Loggerheads Blunderbus X Loggerheads Tilleyvalley).  All of which contributed to extending Queenslands breeding gene pool.  Ch Lydes Jaguar of Linksbury (Imp UK) was used extensively throughout the eastern states and can be found behind most Borstaff, Laundulad, Kombari, Ourgang, Linkman and Drogheda dogs, to name a few.

As interest in Staffords grew it became apparent that owners should band together to form a club.  In 1966, The Staffordshire and Bull Terrier Club of Qld was formed. Over the next twenty years the club grew and prospered. Bringing international breed specialists to judge championship shows.  But in 1985 it was obvious that this two breed club was no longer able to fulfil the needs of its members.  It was disbanded to make way for The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Queensland, formed in 1986, and body for the representation of the unique Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The members went on a promotional campaign, leaping at every opportunity to promote the breed.  The club initiated a coloured monthly magazine, BBQ's and spit roasts, every dog show usually saw stafford exhibitors band together and the ladies put on a great spread of food, usually trying out new recipes on their unsuspecting friends.  In 1987, a new sport was developed--Lure Racing. Two dogs are matching the clock, with prizes given in the age groups. Up to ninety dogs would regularly attend race meetings. Demonstration races were held at regular greyhound and harness races.

Such was the club's growth that in 1989 Norman Berry (UK) (Rendorn) judged the club's Championship Show.  An Australian record entry of 211 took the committee by surprise. 1991 and Bill McKnight (Ireland)(Belnite) again received an Australian record entry of 246, then in 1995 Trevor Rowe (UK) had an entry of 267, another Australian record entry. The clubs championship show continues to be the highlight of the year.

Several members have been honoured for their work and support of our club by being given life membership. The late Dr Lois Davidson (Olmoday) 1986, the late Bill Stevens (Westaff) 1988, Mrs Audrey Knight (Kumbari) 1989, Miss Dell Cossart (Wynstaff) 1990, John Hebbard (Constaff) 1994, and Mrs Annetta Bainbridge (Kumbari) 1995.

Obedience competitions have not been forgotten.  In 1990, Bellabarn Barkley Bob AD AOC, owned and trained by Glynn Brynt of Bundaberg, became the first Stafford in Australia to be awarded the highest obedience award, Australia Obedience Champion. In 1991 the club initiated an obedience course and conducted several demonstrations at shows, shopping centres and school fetes. The club conducts a yearly pointscore competition for all levels of obedience.

The club continues to be stable and now the Queensland  club is looking to new horizons, with so much for people to do with their time it seems that dogs would be on the back burner.  But the Stafford is such a dog that it continues to top the list of wanted breeds. In the early 90's the club fought against the anti-dog lobby to ensure that our beloved breed was not coupled with the Pit bull.  The club developed a code of ethics that was another first for the Queensland dog world, this code was later adopted by our controlling body. Now adays it's the Pit Bull that wants to be a stafford.  Europe, England and America have been besieged by the anti-dog lobby, at present the European stafford fights for its very own survival. Perhaps Australia will see some trouble but I know that the breed will continue to fight on.

The future of the Stafford in Queensland is reliant on the breeders and owner of the present, remembering the past, their actions and achievements, their dedication, education and attitudes will ensure the breed will proudly progress.

Annetta Bainbridge
Life Member
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