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Tanner, Alfred John (Jack) (1887–1955)

Alfred Tanner, n.d.

Alfred Tanner, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 16 June 1955

Mr. Alfred John (Jack) Tanner, late manager of the stud stock department of Dalgety and Co. Ltd., and one of the best known figures in stud stock circles throughout Australia, died suddenly on 21st May at sea between Colombo and Aden while travelling to England in the liner Orcades. Mr. Tanner, who retired from his position with Dalgety and Co. Ltd. a few months ago, was on his way to the United Kingdom to judge Hereford cattle at leading shows and to visit various beef cattle and sheep studs to select and purchase stud stock for Australian breeders. The prime purpose of his journey, however, was to see his mother at her home in Shrawardine, Shropshire, Eng.

Mr. Tanner was born at Shrawardine in 1887, and was one of eight sons of the late Mr. Alfred Tanner and Mrs. Tanner. He came to Australia about 38 years ago in charge of a shipment of Lincoln and Shropshire sheep, the latter breed being very popular in this country at that time, particularly in Riverina, N.S.W. The sheep sold very well and Mr. Tanner was so favourably impressed with Australia that he decided to remain here. His first position was with the Weston family at Kadlunga, S.A., where he met and married Miss May Weston, who survives him. Subsequently he went to Sydney, where he engaged in sheep breeding and dealing in the County of Cumberland, but his real opportunity came when the late Mr. Harry Badgery offered him a position. Badgery Bros. (Harry and George) were at that time one of the leading stud stock firms in New South Wales, Mr. Harry Badgery in particular being rated as one of the best stud stock auctioneers in the country. The combination of Harry Badgery and Jack Tanner proved to be an ideal one, and the stud stock business eventually became the biggest feature of Badgery Bros.

When the firm of Badgery Bros, was absorbed by Goldsbrough, Mort and Co. Ltd. Mr. Tanner went with it, and he was with the latter company for some four or five years before joining the Commonwealth Wool and Produce Co. Ltd. in January 1932. It was during his association with this latter company, an association which was terminated at the end of 1948, that the late Mr. Tanner gained Australia-wide—indeed world-wide —recognition as a stud stock authority, and it was largely due to his efforts that the stud beef cattle show and sales were held under the auspices of the U.S.B.C.B.A. in the Sydney wool stores of the Commonwealth Wool and Produce Co. Ltd. during the war years 1942-1946, after which they were again held at the R.A.S. of New South Wales showgrounds.

Mr. Tanner joined Dalgety and Co. Ltd. in January 1949, and in that year judged the Hereford section at the Royal English Show at Shrewsbury. He also judged at many of the leading shows in Australia, although, as an agent, he could not officiate in that capacity at Royal Shows. He was at one time honorary secretary of the Aberdeen Angus Society of Australia and honorary publicity officer of the Shorthorn Society, but his extensive knowledge of practically all livestock and his willingness to impart that knowledge to various breed enthusiasts were such that he was recognised as a publicity agent for all accredited breeds of beef cattle. He was for many years a valued contributor to the Pastoral Review and in that capacity did not hesitate to state his own particular ideas based on practical experience.

Mr. Tanner was closely associated with many leading stud beef cattle breeding establishments, but was perhaps best known for his work with the Golf Hill Hereford stud. At the dispersal of the Old Tocal Hereford stud he was commissioned by the late Commander Biddlecombe to buy the top cattle for Golf Hill, at Shelford, Vic., and Mr. Tanner supervised operations at Golf Hill for many years until the stud was dispersed. He also classed many other studs and herds throughout the eastern States and was mainly instrumental in establishing stud beef cattle auction sales in the Northern Territory at Brunette Downs in 1953, and also at Cloncurry, Qld. in 1954.

It was almost wholly in the interests of the stud beef cattle industry in Australia that the late Mr. Tanner made about five trips to the United Kingdom and two to the United States, and although he had virtually retired from active participation in stud breeding activities at the time of his death it can be truly said that he died in harness.

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'Tanner, Alfred John (Jack) (1887–1955)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/tanner-alfred-john-jack-957/text958, accessed 13 November 2019.

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Alfred Tanner, n.d.

Alfred Tanner, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 16 June 1955