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Henry Andrew

Henry Andrew

No history of the Southdown breed in New Zealand could be written without talking about the most influential breeder in its history, Henry Andrew, whose ‘Punchbowl’ stud dominated and lead the breed for 62 years.

He not only led the way in breeding, but was twice President of the Southdown Sheep Society, a founding member and spent a lot of time administering and promoting the breed worldwide.

As always in a nation renowned for its “knocking machine” there was talk about how he manipulated lesser breeders to maintain his influence, or as can be read in a later article how he was referred to as the “handicapper of the Southdown stakes” but when petty jealousies are put aside, any person with at least one eye open can see that he has been the most important asset for the Southdown breed in New Zealand, perhaps in the world in the 20th century.

While I could continue to wax lyrical about his achievements, and about his still strong influence throughout the studs of today, I believe the following articles written by the people who knew or associated with him make a far better job.

H.J. ANDREW – MASTER CRAFTSMAN
Published in the NZ Meat & Wool magazine in April 1977 by RM Moir

New Zealand has been most fortunate, over the years, in the caliber of its livestock breeders, for this country has produced many dedicated and very skilled breeders of horses, cattle and sheep. Among the many accomplished men who have played a major part in developing our flocks and herds to their present high standard the name of Henry Andrew, of the “Punchbowl” Southdown Stud in North Otago, stands very high.

In fact, it would be very hard to place anyone above Mr HJ Andrew in the field of improving New Zealand’s livestock. His contribution to our farm production, through his work of improvement in Southdown sheep, has been of tremendous importance and must place him among the greatest sheep breeders seen in New Zealand. By the mid-1920’s the “Punchbowl” Stud was among the top Southdown flocks in this land and it has improved and maintained its position ever since, so that it has become the fountain-head for the breed, and the widely-acknowledged leader. To remain at the top for so long, in a really important breed, is a remarkable achievement.

However, that is precisely what Henry Andrew has done, and his work has raised the standard of New Zealand’s principle mutton-producing breed enormously. Today the Southdown breed still stands supreme as the main provider of this country’s prime-lamb sires and has been the means of keeping New Zealand lamb at the top of the world export lamb market. It is to HJ Andrew, that the main credit for Southdown supremacy must go, for he has been relentless in his great work of improving the famous breed of sheep.

There was a time some 12 – 15 years ago when the Southdown breed looked in danger of losing its great popularity and was, indeed, menaced by several other breeds. It was in this period that New Zealand’s Southdown breeders had to look hard and critically at their sheep and do some drastic re-thinking.

In this period it became obvious that some of the other mutton breeds could displace our famous Southdown as the leading prime-land breed, unless the right type of Southdown was produced. The matter of size was a major issue, but this had to be combined with meatiness and lack of waste.

It was in this testing time that the true worth of the big, well-fleshed “Punchbowl” Southdowns became evident, and it could be said that the high standard of quality, combined with size, that has consistently been achieved at “Punchbowl” saved the breed from a decline in popularity. Breeders from all over New Zealand clamoured to buy Henry Andrew’s famous sheep and the “Punchbowl” type became the standard aimed at by successful breeders.

For many years prior to this HJ Andrew had been our most prominent Southdown breeder, but the potential crisis faced by the Southdown breed just over a decade ago put an even greater focus and demand on the celebrated “Punchbowl” Stud. It was realized by all thinking breeders that big sheep were required if the Southdown was to maintain its supremacy as a prime lamb sire, and “Punchbowl” had these big sheep.

In addition to maintaining great size and length in his sheep, Henry Andrew had also retained the great fleshing quality, early maturity and general vigour and hardiness for which the Southdown has so long been noted. “Punchbowl” thus had a superior type of Southdown which embodied all the main qualities of the breed, along with extra size and weight. By achieving this ideal combination of size, quality, early maturity and hardiness, Henry Andrew lifted the Southdown breed to greater heights than before and took New Zealand to the top of the world as a fountainhead of the breed.

However, in the late 1950s and the early 1960s, when the merits of the breed were being queried by many farmers, the “Punchbowl” Stud still proved capable of producing sheep that had no equal as prime lamb types. The fantastic skill of Henry Andrew had assured the Southdown breed of security, as our premier mutton sheep, for a long time to come.

Over the years, Mr Andrew has had many strong rivals for leadership in this highly competitive breed, but in the 50 years since 1925 it could not be said that any other stud ever established superiority over “Punchbowl”. In the late 1920s there were several other top flocks that were on a par with “Punchbowl” and were regarded as being in the same top bracket. From 1930 on, the North Otago flock steadily asserted its superiority and gained steadily in stature through its fine performances in the main sale-rings and show-rings of New Zealand. One that did compete with it was the “Kohatu” Stud in the Wairarapa. “Kohatu” was very strong in the 1950s and rivaled “Punchbowl” for some years. [read more about the Kohatu stud here ].

Founded in 1915 with ewes from the noted flocks of H Pannett and JB Reid, the “Punchbowl” flock soon made itself known. Some very good rams were imported from England in the early years of the stud and these included sheep from the “Sandringham”, “Luton Hoo” and “McCalmont” flocks. These three studs were among the most famous Southdown flocks in the world for many years. In the period between 1922 and 1930 “Punchbowl” established itself as the most successful flock in the South Island and won the prize for most points in Southdowns at the Christchurch Show almost every year in that period.

Away back in 1924 Henry Andrew was winning championships at the leading South Island shows. He collected both the ram and ewe championships at the Christchurch Show that year and was also doing well at Dunedin and Oamaru. These three shows all produced fine Southdown displays, with Christchurch providing one of the best exhibitions of the breed in New Zealand.

In fact, over the past 50 years it could be said that Christchurch has probably the best exhibition of Southdowns – on average over that long period – in New Zealand, so championships there are of considerable significance. Entries are large and quality is high at Christchurch, and has been for a very long time.

The “Punchbowl” Stud’s first Royal championship was won in 1927, at the Christchurch Royal Show against very strong competition. This was the first of numerous Royal championships collected by HJ Andrew. His sheep had won 14 of these by the end of 1939. In his career as a show exhibitor he won more Royal championships than any other Southdown breeder in this country and often took this premier award for both rams and ewes at the same show. The last “Royal” at which he exhibited was at Invercargill in 1948, and his sheep made a clean sweep of the championship list by collecting both the ram and ewe premier ribbons in both “open” and “natural condition” sections. In addition to taking all four championship ribbons at this strong show of the breed (with over 160 entries) “Punchbowl” also won the reserve ribbon for ewes in both sections.

Top Average

Since Henry Andrew gave up exhibiting at shows – over 25 years ago – many Royal championships have been won by sheep of his breeding, or by the progeny of sheep he has bred. In fact, sheep carrying a strong infusion of “Punchbowl” blood have dominated the Southdown section of our main shows for a long time now. In the main sale-rings the story has been the same, with products of the “Punchbowl” Stud, or their progeny, dominating the principal Southdown stud fairs.

Rams from “Punchbowl” were sent up to the annual Fielding Stud Ram Sale for many years and topped the Southdown section of this famous sale for most of those years. They set world record prices for the breed on several occasions at Fielding in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In his long period of selling rams at Fielding, Henry Andrew usually had top vendor average, as well as top price at the sale. He also sold rams at the Christchurch and Invercargill Stud Ram Fairs for a number of years, until he started his own private annual sale in 1964.

World Record

This annual “Punchbowl” fixture, which includes some stud ewes, attracts buyers from all parts of New Zealand. It invariably produces high prices and excellent averages and spreads its highly-prized bloodlines to the benefit of other studs. Since its inception, more than 10 years ago, the “Punchbowl” Sale has usually provided the top price of the year for Southdown sheep. On several occasions the top has been over $3000 at this sale.

Rams that have topped the main Southdown Stud Fairs in various parts of New Zealand since Henry Andrew started his own sale have been, almost invariably, of strong “Punchbowl” ancestry. Many of them have been by “Punchbowl” rams out of ewes that were by rams from that stud.

Before starting his own private sale Henry Andrew frequently offered stud rams at three leading fairs – Fielding, Invercargill and Christchurch – each season and usually topped all three. This demonstrates the great depth of quality in his flock. His sheep have realized world record prices for the breed on several occasions and the pinnacle was reached at the 1961 Christchurch Stud Fair, with a price of 3100 guineas (£3255) or to put that in perspective on the New Zealand Government price index it states ;

A basket of goods and services that cost £3,255.00 in 1961 would have cost $135,378.93 in 2014.

This price, paid by the Robertson brothers of “Merrydowns” and Merryvale” in West Otago, was the best of the year for any breed and is still the world record price for a Southdown.

World record prices had been recognized before by “Punchbowl” rams. In 1951 Henry Andrew sold a ram at Fielding for 1425 guineas, which was easily the best recorded for the breed up to that time. In 1955 he sold two rams at above the 1000 guinea mark at the Fielding Fair, to be the first Southdown breeder ever to achieve 1000 guineas for two sheep on the same day. His six rams sold that day averaged 660 guineas.

Punchbowl Sale

The “Punchbowl” rams did not got to Fielding Fair in 1956 – being offered at Christchurch and Invercargill instead. However a new world record price was set at Christchurch by a ram from this stud, with a final bid of 1750 guineas. Another ram from Henry Andrew’s offering realized 1100 guineas later in the day. The stud sold 11 rams for an average of 574 guineas. It also sold 12 rams at Invercargill the same season at an average of just under 350 guineas. “Punchbowl” also sold the top-priced sheep at Invercargill, and thus had top price and top average at both the stud fairs where it offered sheep that year – with a world record price for good measure.

Prior to 1956 “Punchbowl” had sold rams regularly at Fielding Fair since the 1930’s and usually had top price and top average. At the 1949 sale, for example Henry Andrew sold seven at an average of 461 guineas, with the top price of 850 guineas. These prices and averages were extraordinary at the time and had never been approached at Fielding before. The average of 461½ guineas away back in 1949 was equivalent to about $6,265.00 in today’s currency (2014).

After ceasing to offer sheep at Fielding Ram Fair Henry Andrew dominated the two main South Island Southdown stud fairs until he started his own sale in 1964. He had the unique distinction of selling rams in three leading stud rams fairs (Fielding, Christchurch and Invercargill) at prices of 1000 guineas or better, establishing Southdown records for each if these important sales. In 1961 when he set the world record the stud averaged 723 guineas ($9800 in today’s currency 2014) at Christchurch for 12 rams. The following year a top price of 2000 guineas was made by a “Punchbowl” ram at Christchurch and once again this was the best figure of the season for a Southdown. At the 1959 Christchurch Stud Fair the 12 “Punchbowl” rams sold at the remarkable average of 871 guineas ($11,800 in 2014).

In nearly all the years since 1964 Henry Andrew has still managed to obtain the best price of the year for Southdowns at his own annual sale. On a number of occasions rams have sold at prices of $3000 and higher; with $3600 being the best. The sale averages have been extremely high for a large number of rams; with the best year being a $687 average for 56 rams.

Not only does the famous North Otago stud hold record prices for rams, it has also sold pens of two-tooth ewes at prices which are believed to be the highest recorded anywhere for a group of Southdown ewes.

In the course of selling so many top-class rams and ewes the “Punchbowl” Stud has enriched practically all the main Southdown flocks of New Zealand down through the years.

Prized Blood

Perhaps this is the greatest measure of the success attained by Henry Andrew as a stud breeder. Almost every flock of any consequence in New Zealand today has been greatly improved through the use of “Punchbowl” blood, and many of these flocks are now saturated with this prized blood.

Many studs would go on to reach a high degree of prominence in sales and show-rings as a result of the upgrade of their flocks by the infusion of blood from the famous fountainhead flock at Maheno.

These flocks have also been able to provide the commercial farmer with a better type of flock ram, so that our prime lamb trade has reaped the benefit in the long run.

It is impossible to record all the notable achievements of Henry Andrew’s sheep in an article of this size, but it is readily apparent from what is recorded here that “Punchbowl” has moulded the destiny and shaped the type standard of our Southdown sheep to an enormous extent, while at the same time having a strong influence on sheep in other lands.

More Royal Show champions have been bred at “Punchbowl” than in any other stud, although this great flock has not exhibited sheep for over 25 years.

Many Exports

Numerous “Punchbowl” sheep have been exported over the years, and these have made a big impression wherever they have gone. Some have gone to England (the home of the Southdown breed) and others to the United States, Australia and Japan.

The most valuable shipment of Southdown sheep ever sent from this country was the export, in 1965, of 50 ewes and two top stud rams from “Punchbowl” to Dr LB Huff of California. Dr Huff was President of the American Southdown Association and the sale of the first progeny of his “Punchbowl” sheep created a sensation in American Southdown circles. They were regarded as being generally much superior to sheep there and sold at prices far above the values ruling in the USA up to that time.

An interesting aside related to this shipment to the USA was the quarantine requirements of the time that meant the sheep had to stay on the wharf for 30 days along with their minder and lead to the following article in a Californian newspaper.

New Zealand Sheep to Live on Wharf Due to Quarantine
The Independent, Long Beach, California – 9 June 1965 

By LOU JOBST I. P-T Mirlni Editor

NEW ZEALAND sheep herder Richard Lovegrove (bermuda shorts) and Doris and Lewis Huff look over a flock of breeding sheep in corral on San Pedro wharf.  Clad in knee britches, but minus a sheep dog, 22- year-old Richard Lovegrove of New Zealand has set up ranching on a concrete pier at the far end of the Los Angeles Harbor.

The husky Lovegrove, who describes himself as a “city slicker” from Wellington will tend a flock of 52 Southdown sheep for the next 30 days in a hand-built enclosure just behind the harbor department’s pilot station. The makeshift pasture is within a stone’s throw of a busy steamship anchorage and the jetty entrance to San Pedro Bay.

Lovegrove brought the sheep, 50 ewes and 2 rams, more than 7,000 miles aboard the German freighter, Cap Colorado. The animals, carried on deck in wooden crates, were no trouble during the ocean crossing and “didn’t get seasick.” The flock, valued at $20,000, is destined for a breeding ranch in Chino owned by Los Angeles County veterinarian Lewis B. Huff.

Originally bred in the s o u t h of England, the Southdown sheep is considered the world’s finest mutton animal. Huff hopes the Southdown will through crossbreeding “beef up” the smaller U.S. sheep. Handpicked from New Zealand flocks by Huff and his wife, Doris, during a one – month visit to the South Pacific, these sheep are 40 to 50 pounds heavier and generally longer and taller than the variety of Southdown found in the States.

The animals must remain in strict U.S. Agriculture Department quarantine to determine they have no diseases and Lovegrove must remain with the flock at all times. Ordinarily, livestock is placed in quarantine in Hawaii and transhipped to the continent, but an exception was made for the Huff shipment.

While tending the flock, Lovegrove, who left the city for the pastoral life just six years ago, will live in a small camper trailer just outside the wooden corral which Huff and his wife built during two weekends. To keep him company, Lovegrove will have a portable TV and the promise of regular visits from Huff. And, undoubtedly, swarms of curious seamen and longshoremen. He’ll not have a sheep dog, a fixture and constant companion back home, because he didn’t bring one. “It was enough trouble getting the sheep in the country,” says the shepherd.

Read original article here

 

Thus, in addition to setting the standard for Southdown breeders throughout New Zealand, Henry Andrew also established a great reputation in other parts of the world. There were several more exports of sheep from the Maheno master-breeder to the USA since Dr Huff made his large purchase in 1965. Some of these later exports went to Dr Huff and others went to American breeders who were impressed by the quality and size of the “Punchbowl” sheep.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of “Punchbowl” is the remarkable evenness of type in the flock, and this goes with the ability to “breed true”.

Rams sold to Teasmania

Rams sold to Tasmania

Careful Study

As well as having exceptional talents as a stock breeder, Henry Andrew made careful study of the requirements of the export lamb trade, so that the practical aspect always guided his work of sheep improvement.

All in all, the tremendous dominance of the “Punchbowl” Stud in show and sale results over such a long period points inevitably to the fact that its owner is among the great stock breeders of all time.

 

HENRY ANDREW SUMS UP

What better than some words from Henry Andrew himself.

Respected sheep breeder Henry Andrew believed top sheep men are born and not made. But he does not rule out the possibility that some people can be trained and taught and can still reach the top of the sheep-breeding profession.

Mr Andrew who began dispersing his famous “Punchbowl” stud after 62 years said that he never wished for another career and would never retire from his farm.

“My one ambition in life was to be a farmer, and in particular, a breeder of stud sheep” he was quoted as saying in the Christchurch Press.

It was not surprising, as his father and both grandfathers were sheep-breeders and he was raised among sheep from childhood.

Mr Andrew left College in 1915 to take over management of the 1000 acre “Punchbowl” property, two miles from Maheno, North Otago. He began the “Punchbowl” flock with 30 ewes belonging to his grandfather Mr H Pannett of Springston.

Mr Andrew regarded the peak of his years as a Southdown breeder as the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he sold more than 114 stud rams left by three rams.

To the young man setting out in breeding today, he felt there was still an opening for stud breeding and future in it, but that a breeder needs to be inclined in that direction.

The essential requirements of a good sheep-breeder he listed as a love of animals and an ambition to own the best.

He described stud-breeding as a 365 days-a-year vocation because it is necessary to watch animals all the time, to keep a constant eye on pasture growth and be able to make quick decisions to move a mob if they are not thriving.

Along with eye appraisal or assessment he regarded pedigree and line breeding as important in achieving the quality that is necessary in stud animals.
He also had strong views about trends in changes to the Southdown breed brought about in the late 1960s. He advocated an animal of good length, firm fleshing, and the most important part, the hind-quarter. He felt that modern breeders were losing this.

If breeders are not careful they will change the general outline of the Southdown and virtually form another breed. If in a breeder’s programme a balanced Southdown is not suitable, then I would choose another breed,” he said.

At the time of writing Mr Andrew had been confident about the future of the sheep industry saying; “The sheep industry has a great future with so many countries throughout the world requiring meat and wool. We have the soil, the climate and the sheepmen capable of producing any class of stock required.”

 

SOUTHDOWN SHEEP SOCIETY PRESIDENT LEWIS MACKAY’S SPEECH AT THE PRESENTATION TO MR HJ ANDREW AT THE “PUNCHBOWL” DISPERSAL SALE ON 18TH MAY, 1977.

“This dispersal marks a very definite date in the history of the Southdown breed in New Zealand.

During the past months very able agricultural journalists have written at some length and paid wonderful; tribute, much deserved tribute, to Mr Andrew and his unique contribution to our breed. I don’t intend to repeat what has already been stated, we have all read it, I’m sure we all agree with it – it is all true.

However, we gather together here today as a group pf practical Southdown breeders, men and women who are in the thick of battle, as it were. I am certain that we appreciate, even more than the professional agricultural journalist, the contribution that Mr Andrew and Punchbowl have made to Southdowns, both in New Zealand and on the world scene – Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America – to name some. We respectfully and fondly refer to Mr Andrew as our “elder statesman”, a status that has been earned and won. An old friend who is interested in the light horse brigade refers to Mr Andrew as the handicapper of the Southdown stakes – I’m sure you’ll know what he means.

No doubt, a number of you here today will have fond memories of the days when Punchbowl showed at Royal Shows, when Punchbowl sold rams at Fielding Stud Fair, of days when they sold at Christchurch and Invercargill, remembering the highly organized arrival, unloading the turnips, the little turnip chopper, the bundles of rape, strawing down the looseboxes and then, after the sale was over the somewhat slower and often delayed departure. The achievements of Punchbowl have been more than a one man band, it was a team effort, Mr Andrew, the master mind and master farmer; Tim Slack the master shepherd, Tom Marshall also top line shepherd with a wonderfully retentive mind for pedigree detail, three quite different men, but three great guys, one great team.

We Southdown breeders claim, and very proudly claim, that Mr Andrew’s achievements with Punchbowl Southdowns are unequalled and unsurpassed in New Zealand by any breeder of any breed – that is some achievement, the acme of success.

Over the years that I have known and dealt with Mr Andrew, among his many fine attributes, two or three shine forth. Firstly and above all he is a man of integrity, of honest and straightforward business, he was completely dedicated to his job and he had a rare ability to judge the future, to relate his breeding plan and the type of sheep to market requirements on the other side of the world, always ready to modify to meet the challenge of changing demands, always right up with the play. It is a wonderful thing to grow old in years and yet remain so young and active in outlook.

Sixty-two years of service to the breed is a long time; we are certainly going to know that Punchbowl is no longer available.

Fifty Years

In addition to all this Mr Andrew has served fifty years on the Council of the Southdown Society. Someone has said that not all great footballers make good referees, but Mr Andrew confounded the wise, he proved to be a great footballer and a great referee. He brought to the Council table discerning wisdom and sound administrative ability. His service is greatly appreciated.

To adequately honour Mr Andrew and Punchbowl is indeed difficult; Punchbowl’s contribution has been so great, our effort can be but a symbol. However, the Council, on behalf of New Zealand’s Southdown breeders, determined to honour this occasion. After much deliberation it was decided to donate a trophy, to be known as the Punchbowl Perpetual Trophy, it is to be awarded to the winner of the Million Dollar Commercial Ram Class at the Royal Show. With it goes a silver goblet each year, for the winner to keep. So it is the sincere hope, Mr Andrew, of your fellow Southdown breeders, that as long as Royal Shows are held and Southdowns are bred the name of Punchbowl and its achievements may be remembered.

Now the Million Dollar Commercial Ram Class has been on the Royal schedule for the past three years. For accuracy and in fairness to all, the names of these winners have been inscribed on the trophy and each will receive a silver goblet.”

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