Ann grew up in suburban Melbourne, a dog mad child. She stated from early childhood to anyone who asked "what will you be when you grow up?" - that she was going to marry a farmer and have heaps of dogs.
In her teens she began to breed and show budgerigars, with some success. This wetted the apetite as far as breeding and genetics was concerned. She worked for 8 years in an administrative roll in a new car dealership and for 2 years at an electronics company before a few years into breeding budgies she attended the big annual show run by the state society and met a young shy fellow - who turned out to be - a farmer. The rest they say, is history.
She couldn't live in the country and not have a dog and a mix of Border Collie and Kelpie came to mind - why she doesn't know. A local farmer had a litter advertised when they visited this strange mix of coloured dogs, one was this funny mottled colour. They were told that was the father. That was in 1984 and Kelly lived for 16 years and turned out to be a useful working dog. The next year a friend introduced them to Koolies (so that's what that dog was!) and they were captivated. He bred his dog and they had pick of the litter. This was Mindy, the foundation of their line. She was a natural talent, neither had experience in training a dog.
Richard was a dairyfarmer and has been since 1975. Ann commenced work at a local livestock business that stood cattle for the A.I. industry as computer operator. This generated more interest in breeding and genetics. A few years later they took the plunge and bought the dairy herd off Richards father, Richard had managed the breeding of the herd for many years prior and qualified to perform Artificial Insemination. They both enjoyed the mixing and matching of breeding cattle. Ann took a Breeding Genetics course at VCAH Glenormiston. On the release of the first genetic ratings for dairy cows in the 90s the herd averaged number 11 in the country. This bought the herd into the focus of the A.I. industry and they started making sales of bulls to various companies. Over a few years the herd gradually made it to the number one position on several occasions and regularly sits in the top 3 positions. Currently there are 11 Silhouette bred bulls in the top 200 in Australia ranking, more than any other stud. One bull, Mediator, finished 2005 as number one bull in Australia and is now marketed to several other countries.
The Koolies have been an integral part of farm life and have had to deal calmly and gently with over 250 milking cows, with care with new mothers and their calves, with some vigor with fresh heifers and with some presence with some beef cross steers. The most fun they seem to have though is with working the notoriously cranky jersey bulls which just seems to be a challenge they love. Yogi was once famous for being the only thing a cranky 5 year old bull they had would respect. She very proudly escorted him onto the truck when the day came for him to leave.
They have now bred the 5th generation from Mindy and are pleased with how her ability has been passed down the line and with how her great great grand daughter is so much like her. They have only bred occasionally and prefer to only breed when they require a pup to keep themselves and have always sought out good working koolies to breed to.
Ann later worked at a local silo manufacturer as computer operator and administration for a few years before they purchased their farm.
Although always aware that a Koolie Club was something to aim for, it wasn't until she met up with other enthusiasts that she became seriously involved in playing a roll. She was an inaugural member of the committee and has held the position of registrar since 2000, researching and implementing the register for the club. She is also one of the administrators of this website and a member of the IT sub-committee.