History of RRs in Australia
The earliest report of a ridged dog being bought into the country was in 1902, when three Australian nurses returned from the Boer War with a dog named "Buller". 1902 was prior to the formalisation of the breed and the dog resembled more a Boerboel than a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
First RR to Western Australia
In 1966 the first Rhodesian Ridgeback arrived in Australia. This was a male call "Mbile" who was bred in Tanzania and imported into Australia by Mr & Mrs W.M. Adams of Mundaring WA. Unfortunately this dog died soon after coming out of quarantine in Australia.
First Australian RR litter
Mr & Mrs Adams then imported a dog and bitch in 1967 and these two formed the basis of the "Serengeti" line in Australia They were "Serengeti Meru" (male) and "Serengeti Chala" (female) bred in England by Mrs J.E. Lacey. "Serengeti Meru" and "Serengeti Chala" had their first puppies in 1967. However, from this litter only "Serengeti Simba" (male) survived and he was acquired by Mrs C Churchill of Donnybrook WA. Mrs C Churchill bred Rhodesian Ridgebacks under the "Sikota" prefix.
In 1968 "Sikota Kennels" imported from England "Sikota of Owlsmoor" (female) bred by Mrs C Hicks. In 1969 they imported a second dog from England "Riding Hills Kachindu" (male). Three litters were bred under the "Sikota" prefix before the kennel was disbanded in 1970. The dogs from "Sikota" were placed into homes throughout WA.
First RR To East Coast Of Australia
The first Rhodesian Ridgeback to go to the East Coast of Australia was "Serengeti Sanya" (female) from the second "Serengeti" litter born 1968, she was owned by Mr & Mrs J Morris of Kellyville, NSW. "Serengeti Sanya" was the first Rhodesian Ridgeback to become an Australian Champion. She was also the foundation bitch of "Glenrowan Kennels" founded by Mr & Mrs Morris.
First RR's To Victoria
The first Rhodesian Ridgebacks to go to Victoria were also from the second "Serengeti" litter. "Serengeti Mara" (female) was sent to Miss J.N. Murray. Miss J.N. Murray since obtaining her first Rhodesian Ridgeback bred Rhodesian Ridgebacks under the "Ulundi" kennel prefix. Miss Murray's involvement with the breed has been extensive being the author of several reference books pertaining to the breed. "Serengeti Mara" was the sixth Rhodesian Ridgeback to gain Australian Championship status but only the second female to do so.
"Serengeti Sambu" (male) a litter brother to "Serengeti Mara" was sent to Mrs A Bieberitz who bred Rhodesian Ridgebacks under the "Bulawayo" kennel prefix. "Serengeti Sambu" was the second Rhodesian Ridgeback, and first male to become an Australian Champion.
From the induction of the Rhodesian Ridgeback into Australia the breed has seen a steady growth in popularity and is nowadays one of the largest registered breeds in the Hound group. With the breed's popularity came the formation of Rhodesian Ridgeback breed clubs.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Incorporated
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Inc is based in NSW. It was founded in early 1973 making it the first and oldest RR breed club in Australia. Being the first RR Club in Australia, the State of the club was not included in the clubs official name. The club was the first in Australia to hold an RR championship speciality show in 1976 and the first club to hold a breed symposium which was held in 1988. The Club hosted the inaugural RR National Show held in Sydney in 1992.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of ACT
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was founded in early 1977. The main reason for the formation of this Club was to hold an annual Rhodesian Ridgeback Specialty show in a central Australian east coast location (Canberra), which would hopefully attract and bring together exhibitors from all states within Australia. The club utilised international Rhodesian Ridgeback specialist judges. Initially the shows were run under the umbrella of the Hound Club of the ACT. In addition to the annual specialty show, the RR Club of ACT also held open shows for trainee judges, all breeds obedience agility trials, lure coursing and fun days and information evening. Unfortunately the club disbanded in 2003 due mainly to the small local membership base.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Queensland Incorporated
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of QLD was formed in late 1977. The Queensland club originally started as a social club and in 1994 became affiliated with the State controlling body (now Dogs Queensland). The Club holds a Championship Show and an Open show each year. The RRCQ conduct a variety of activities such as fun days, lure coursing, obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue and endurance.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Western Australia
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of WA was founded as a social club in 1981, the Club decided to gain affiliation in 1991. The Club holds a Championship Show and an Open show annually, and conducts various activities throughout the year. The club has hosted two National RR Championship Show however, opted out the NRRC after the second National.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Victoria
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Victoria was formed in August 1985. Activities conducted by the club include annual Championship and Open Shows, lure coursing days, members competitions, show handling lesson, the Club also holds a yearly obedience trail. The club hosted the RR World Congress in 1996 in conjunction with a National show.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of South Australia
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of SA was formed 1988 making it the youngest Rhodesian Ridgeback club in Australia. The club conducts a yearly RR Championship Show, race days, monthly RR walks and fun days to name a few activities. To date the club has hosted one national RR show and is hosting the coming nation show in 2010.
The Author acknowledges reference from:
"The Rhodesian Ridgeback In Australia" written by P Sadler
The Ridgeback Register articles
"The Lay of the Land" written by R Green
"Then and Now" written by V Moritz and Janet N Murray