Without the support and assistance of people around Australia with a passion for the Angus breed, the Angus Youth Program would not have the function to provide support to the young people that make up the next generation in the Angus breed and the wider beef industry.

In recognition of this, Angus Australia took the opportunity to award the annual Stewart Award during the recent Beyond the Beef Zoetis Angus National Conference to two very worthy and well appreciated recipients.

In 2023 the Stewart Award was presented to Peter Collins, Merridale Angus, Tennyson, VIC and Lyn Frecklington, Hollywood Angus, Peak Hill, NSW.

On hand to make the presentation of the awards was Angus Youth Consultative Committee Chairperson Monique McKinnon.

When speaking of the history of the Stewart Award, the couple it was named after and on the selection of Peter and Lyn as recipients of the 2023 award, Monique said, “It’s funny that they’re Stewart by name and I think stewards to our youth by nature. Bruce and Pat over the years travelled to Wodonga to assist in running the Angus Youth National Judging Competition and dedicating their time and effort to supporting the Angus Youth Program in so many more ways than just that.”

“The Stewart Award is an excellent way for us to recognise as a breed the effort and commitment that these people and recipients have put in towards supporting our youth program, which we all understand has a huge success driven result in our young people and what they’re achieving in this industry.”

Peter Collins over many years has supported the Angus Youth Program, most particularly through his donation annually to the Angus Youth National Roundup in the form of the Merridale Aspiring Breeder Award.

The Merridale Aspiring Breeder Award was introduced in 2015 in recognition of an Angus Youth member who does not already have an Angus stud or the financial backing to start their own immediately but has a strong desire to breed their own Angus cattle. Each year, the recipient receives a registered Angus heifer. The Collin’s family believe it is important to support the youth in the industry and give them as many opportunities as possible to start their own cattle breeding operation.

“Our first recipient is someone who’s attended numerous Roundups over the years and supplies many ballot animals to young people who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to go to Roundup and to use an animal,” said Monique.

“As a very passionate person about the youth and about the Angus breed, Peter strongly believes in providing opportunities to young people to get their foot in the door and to help them flourish in this amazing industry. Through the Merridale Aspiring Breed Award over many years he has awarded close to, I believe, twelve lucky award recipients who each have walked away from Roundup with their own heifer and have been able to go forward and start their own program.”

On receiving his award, Peter was moved by the recognition and highlighted the importance of supporting young people in our industry.

“There were four young people up here today,” he said, recalling an earlier conference panel that featured Angus Youth members that had been recipients of various scholarships, awards and bursaries provided through the Angus Foundation. “There’s an endless thing that I really want to push. To hear them talk today was something special to me and I’m not sure which one said it, but they said they ‘love Angus and love the people’. That’s me.”

“You come to these places and all these fantastic people you meet every year around the shows, around the sales. I just love Angus. I love the breeders. They’re just fantastic people. We are the number one breed in the world and its you breeders that do this.”

“It’s nothing to give away twelve heifers, it’s just another heifer really. There are probably ten breeders in this room today that would give away heifer if they really thought about it, because it’s just one heifer out of mob. To give the Merridale Aspiring Breeder Award, it’s not for someone that can get a heifer from dad. It’s one of those people that can’t afford her, or they don’t have the backing to get a heifer, so if we can give them a start, we can have a future leader in our Angus breed. So, for me to help do that, it’s really special.”

In recognising Lyn Frecklington and her contribution to the lives of many young Angus enthusiasts, Monique said, “Lyn is someone who is absolutely no stranger to the show cattle scene. This is someone who since 2004 has attended more shows than possibly one person could count. What makes Lyn particularly special is not her attendance to shows but is her particular commitment to giving to the young people who are interested the opportunity to be part of a show team, to be part of a family and to learn about Angus cattle.”

“Having taken up to twelve kids at one time, and in some years doing up to 16 shows per year with kids, countless lives have benefited from the generosity, kindness and mentorship that has been provided to them by Lyn. Everyone who knows her knows that she loves her Angus cows and just as much the kids she takes on her teams.”

To reaffirm what was so appropriately pointed out in her nomination for the award, in her acceptance of the award Lyn highlighted that while she was in attendance that evening, she really was meant to be at Dubbo Show.

“I should be at Dubbo Show this morning. Before we came up, we had to deliver a semi load of cattle to Dubbo and the young man that’s been with us for nine years, Nathan Leach, is there with four young people aged from 17 to 22.”

Reflecting on her time working with young people and showing cattle around Australia, Lyn insisted that a was a group effort, and that she needed those she brought along as much as they needed her.

“There are a few people I’d like to thank. Basically, my husband (ian) who enabled me to indulge my passion. When we started showing in 2004, it was with my extended family. The night before a show, we’d go to Peak Hill to the Chinese restaurant at the local RSL as there was nowhere else to go and the fortune cookies that we opened said “life without a passion is meaningless”.”

“I truly believe that. It’s not my husband’s passion, but he allows me to indulge that passion. He’s the designated driver, he helps load cattle, he helps unload gear. And I am so blessed that you can have a partner in life who allows you to do the things that you love.”

“We don’t have any kids, but that’s not the reason that we take kids with us. It’s a bit of a symbiotic relationship. I need them and they need me and so we gave kids an opportunity. They aren’t, as I

think someone said earlier, all kids who didn’t have the parents that could afford it. But it wasn’t the parents’ thing.”

“And I truly am thankful to those parents who entrusted their children to us. I mean, we’ve taken them to Sydney, to Melbourne, to Canberra and regional shows and I think that’s a pretty big ask to take someone’s kids away and hope that they looked after. We hope that we look after them and we teach them real life skills. We think we’ve given them opportunities they would never have had, and I get a great kick out of seeing them succeed.”

“One of our girls started with us when she was 13 was last year’s Sydney’s Young Woman of the Year. She does thank us, and she said the experience she gained through junior judging and having to speak stood her in good stead when she had to speak at the regional judging and finally in Sydney.”

“To me that is a wonderful thing, and we just hope that we give them opportunities they would not have otherwise had. They don’t all go on into the cattle industry or agriculture, but we hope we’ve given them the confidence and the belief in themselves to do the best they can. So, thank you so much. We enjoy what we do and it’s an honour to be thanked for it.”

About the Stewart Award

The Stewart Award (previously named the Angus Youth Helper of the Year Award) was commissioned in 2001 to recognise a person that has volunteered a large amount of time to the Angus Youth program.

The award is named after Bruce and Pat Stewart of Dunlop Park Angus, Tasmania, who over many years contributed selflessly to the Angus Youth program. Each year Bruce and Pat travelled to Wodonga to assist with the running Angus Youth National Judging Competition. They also worked tirelessly behind the scenes, picking lunches up, running people to and from transport depots, helped with the distribution and collection of place and question cards during animal judging and always were there to provide a helping hand and support or guidance to the Angus Youth program.

At the conclusion of each year, the current Angus Youth Consultative Committee select the recipient/s of the Stewart Award based on their outstanding contribution to the Angus Youth program.

To view past recipients of the Stewart Award CLICK HERE

– Cheyne Twist, Senior Marketing and Communications Officer