Colin Lyons, former President and Life Member of the Angus Society, died in Adelaide on 6th April 2020, a day after his 93rd birthday.
Colin grew up at Wild Horse Plains, north of Adelaide. His father, Herbert was a farmer, state MP and chairman and managing director of the successful “Cresco” fertilizer company for nearly 30 years. His mother Vera was a teacher.
When he bought the 300 hectare property “Glen Bold” near Echunga, Adelaide Hills in 1962, Colin, who was a pharmacist by trade, shifted from breeding Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset sheep on the Adelaide Plains to Angus cattle. The breed was not prominent in Australia at the time, but Colin, after examining the traits of all available beef breeds, decided that Angus had the best potential of any of them. The stud was founded on Kahlua and Kingarth bloodlines and a strategy of “line breeding” (a mild form of inbreeding) was employed initially, to “fix a type.” A commercial herd was established later on a Kangaroo Island property, “Waiginna”. Colin’s partnership with stud manager, Peter Inglis led to success with performance recording, an annual on-property sale and in the showring in Adelaide (for 30 years), Melbourne, Sydney and Wodonga (3 champion & 4 reserve champion led bulls and 7 Sanderson trophies). Bulls were sold to all states, Japan and New Zealand. The herd was dispersed in 1996.
Notwithstanding income constraints following the cattle crash of 1974, the society made solid progress during Colin’s presidency in 1977-79. With his New Zealand-born wife, Shirley he attended the World Angus Forum at Aviemore, Scotland in 1977 and met Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, Patron of the Aberdeen Angus Society. Colin and Shirley also attended world forums in Argentina and South Africa.
Angus Society Treasurer, David Cornell, who secured sponsorship from Suzuki, together with John Barnett and Colin, were instrumental in establishing the National Angus Show & Sale at Wodonga in 1977. John Waugh was appointed during this time as the society’s first field officer, and the association with Dr Arthur Rickards at the University of New England’s National Beef Recording Scheme, the forerunner of Breedplan, was established. This connection was a key reason for the later relocation of the head office from Sydney to Armidale. Earlier, on the South Australian committee, Colin and David made a special effort to promote Angus youth, recommending that two people under 30 be elected before the remainder of the committee. The promotion of US judges at Australian shows led in 1980 to the first scholarship for young Angus breeders to study at US universities, and the program continues today. Also during Colin’s tenure, the genetic disease mannosidosis was eliminated from the Angus herd book, using a test for heterozygotes developed by Dr Geoff Judson of the SA Department of Agriculture.