Most Illawarra members in Australia have heard of Jock Johnston of the Jondene Stud, previously of Obi Obi and now situated at Imbil, and most have heard only good things. Queensland Branch President, Mr Robert Lester, described Jock as one of the true gentlemen of the breed during the presentation of a Queensland Branch Life Membership to him at the 2012 Toowoomba Royal Show.
The Jondene Stud commenced in 1966 under the ownership of F S Johnston & Sons with Jock at the helm. Ever since, Jock has taken teams to all the local shows plus Toowoomba and Brisbane Royals, through thick and thin. Many a time the quality of the show team hasn't been great but he's gone anyway just to support the show and the breed. Initially the support team was his brothers and sisters, but once his nephews showed interest the show team had to double so there were enough animals to keep them all involved and active. The old red truck had to make two trips to all the local shows. Extra effort was and continues to be put in when an interstate judge has been selected because "we have to give him something to judge" so Jock goes out and "shakes the tree" to see what show quality animals fall out. Of course, ever mindful of the financial cost to the family business, Jock does all the breaking in and clipping himself.
While achieving a huge amount of success in the show ring, Jock has always placed more emphasis on winning on-ground production competitions and in his younger years went to great lengths before the show to achieve success ensuring the animals had high quality feed and milking the production cows three times a day. While he continues to compete today, at the age of 72 no extra effort is put in before the show.
Many a young person has benefitted from Jock's experience and generosity as he is always keen to encourage young people to get into Illawarras or grow their herd. His generosity has also always extended to financial support of Show Societies, with one example being the colouring competition for school children at the Nambour Show where they have to colour in a cow. Despite a shortage of quality animals sometimes, he has always put up good quality animals for sale or raffle at Illawarra events such as the Nanango sale and always says "sell" no matter what the price.
Jock and the Jondene Stud were at the cutting edge of the development of embryo transplants and collection of semen through a collaboration with the University of Queensland.
Jock's involvement in the administration side of the breed commenced August 12, 1980 when he was appointed to the ICSA's Queensland Branch Committee and ended with his resignation on September 10, 2006.
Congratulations Jock, an honour richly deserved.
L-R: Jock Johnston, Qld Br President, Bob Lester and wife Judy at Jock's presentation, Toowoomba Show 2012.