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Obituaries Australia

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McDonald, John (1842–1936)

Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1936, p 16


Death of a noted breeder and racehorse owner.

NEW SOUTH WALES lost one of its most notable sportsmen on Saturday night when Mr. John McDonald died after a brief illness. Mr. McDonald, who was in his 94th year, was born at Inverness-shire in Scotland on December 26, 1842, and came to Australia 16 years later. He took up pastoral pursuits and was associated with several station properties in various capacities until 1875, when he was one of a partnership which took over the Mungie Bundie station in the Moree district. Later he became the sole owner of the property, and it is in connection with Mungie Bundie that he was best known. It was not until the late 'nineties that he decided to establish a thoroughbred stud, and he set about it with the trophy to be presented to the owner of the winner of the Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank (S.A.) on Monday, April 13. The thoroughness so characteristic of the Scots. He laid the foundation of the stud when he attended the dispersal sale of the Morphettville stud, which took place in Adelaide shortly after the death of Sir Thomas Elder. That day he purchased the stallion Mostyn and several brood mares, among them being Lady Lovelace, the dam of that great stayer Portsea, and the Neckersgat mare, Lady Mostyn. It was from Lady Mostyn that he bred the Victoria Derby winner, Lady Wallace, who was to prove a thorn in the side of Gladsome in the weight-for-age races. Mr. McDonald raced her and afterwards kept her in the Mungie Bundie stud, where she bred Cisco, who won the Breeders' Plate and A.J.C. Derby, but not for Mr. McDonald, who had parted with him as a yearling.

Mr. McDonald was one of the principal buyers at the dispersal sale of the St. Albans stud in December, 1900, and that day be acquired the Barcaldine mare, Bonnie Rosette. That was one of the best deals in horseflesh he ever made. To Wallace, Bonnie Rosette had bred the V.R.C. Leger winner, Scottish Chief, as well as the brilliant Bonnie Chiel, so Mr. McDonald sent her to Bundoora to again visit Wallace, and the result of the mating was the gigantic Mountain King, who was the best horse ever raced by Mr. McDonald. He won both Derbies and weight-for-age races. There is no telling to what heights he might have risen had his wind remained sound. He might have been a second Phar Lap. Mountain King was afterwards installed as a sire at Mungie Bundle, and there he sired Mountain Knight, who defeated Woorak in the AJ.C. Derby. Mr. McDonald bred Ave Derby winners Mungie Bundle In Lady Wallace, Mountain King, Belah, Cisco, and Mountain Knight, who between them won six Derbies. Lady Wallace had the misfortune to be foaled in the same year as those two great New Zealanders, Noctuiform and Sim God, who ran away from her in the Derby at Randwick, but she showed herself to be the best of the Australian three-year-olds that season by defeating them in the Derby at Fiemington.

Another good purchase made by Mr. McDonald was Pol Dance. Mr. McDonald was sitting at the ringside with "Terllnga" at the yearling sales, when the filly by Pistol from Thora, afterwards named Pol Dance, came into the ring. After she had been knocked down to him, he turned to his companion and said, "Before coming to a yearling sale in future I'll have to take out a prohibition order against myself. I did not want that filly, but I could not resist buying her." She proved a good winner for him, and after wards bred the Maribyrnong Plate winner, Pah King. Other good horses bred by Mr. McDonald at Mungie Bundie were Mountain God, Braehead, and Balarang.

Mr. McDonald became a member of the A.J.C. in 1895, and joined the committee in 1908. He resigned from the committee two years later, and rejoined it the following year. He remained a member until 1920, and then retired. He retained possession of Mungie Bundie until 1918, when he disposed of the property, to his manager, the late Mr, J. P. Burgess, who carried on the stud for a number of years.

Original publication

Citation details

'McDonald, John (1842–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 August 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1936, p 16