Aerial and Millswyn Airedales

'Laddie' + Ch Millswyn Argo'Laddie' + Ch Millswyn Argo

Len Latchford (Aerial) arrived here before WW1 with an Airedale and later became a colourful character. When he arrived in Australia, he had with him 'CLOMNEL MOTHERSIA'. Later Mr. Latchford imported CLONMEL CRACKSMAN who was used over the bitch imported by a Mrs Waters, AEROPLANE. It is presumed this is why his dogs bore the prefix of AERIEL. As Mrs Greta Florence began where Len Latchford left off, we have included them both on this page.

'Aerial'- Len Latchford

Len first home bred Champion CH AERIAL FLIGHT whose daughter was CH AERIAL STREAMER whose son in turn was AERIAL PATROL and daughter was CH AERIAL ACTION. She was the dam of the foundation bitch of the very successful CH MARYVALE TIP TOP for Neville Whiting.He also bred Ch AERIAL GUNNER, Challenge winner at the British Terrier Club Show 1923[2] 

Later he brought in CH WATLANDS PERFORMER who, according to one source was

'a very good type of dog with an excellent jacket'.

These 4 imports (MOTHERSIA, AEROPLANE, CRACKSMAN and PERFORMER) laid the foundation for his kennel which was very successful in this period.

In 1918, he appeared at an exhibition at Government House with an Airedale, which was trimmed. This caused a sensation at the time. Trimming dogs was an art he brought with him from UK, and pioneered in Australia. At that time, the attitude to trimming for show presentation was best summed up by the English pioneer Airedale breeder and judge, Mr. Holland Buckley, who wrote:

"The idea that clever trimming will deceive an experienced judge is really laughable... A broken coat can, no doubt, to the casual eye, cover a multitude of sins, and sometimes a sausage body; but how any expert can cover up, by trimming, defects of make and shape is one of those things no fellah can understand, - always allowing, of course that the judge is a capable one".

Ch Watlands Performer (UK)Ch Watlands Performer (UK)

Mr Latchford was a respected judge of dogs all over Australia and New Zealand. He was also a prolific writer in publications about dogs.

Around 1933 The Sun News Pictorial newspaper published magazine called "The Sun Dog Book', containing some 50 pages, basically highlighting a breed on each page with photos taken by a well known nature photographer. Len Latchford, already well known for his writings in other publications was responsible for the text. In the absence of any pictures of Len Latchford's Aerial dogs, it is fair to assume these pictures, from the 'Sun Dog Book' were Ch Watlands Performer'(Imp UK) who he imported around this time, and also the dogs which appear below.

An 'Aerial' Family Group An 'Aerial' Family Group

Len Latchford's Sad Demise

Mr. Latchford was a colourful character. But unfortunately his membership was suspended for life by the Kennel Control Council of Victoria (KCC) because he got caught up in New Zealand politics that were happening in 1932 and judged the 'unrecognised show', the Auckland Kennel Association in 1932. At that time there was a revolt in NZ by around 100 people who questioned compulsory membership of the NZKC which made the Auckland Kennel Association Show to be considered 'unrecognised'. So under a reciprocal agreement with the New Zealand Kennel Club, the KCC endorsed NZ's action[3].

The result of this suspension is best described in the following extract[1] written by the late Mr. Ken Rowles, published by 'National Dog Newspaper' Special Supplement Page (iii) in July 1978:

"Len had a great professional outlook. He was a superb writer of dogs in the 'Sporting Globe' and 'Leader', for many years Superintendent of the dog pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds, an outstanding conditioner and handler of all-breeds, and for thirty years our leading all-breeds judge.

Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, he fell foul of the powers and was admonished (banned) by the KCC from the dog world, which was his only world, for life.

Even though he had been a very strong rival of my father's, as handler, breeder and judge, for many years, there was a bond of mutual admiration, and with the declaration of peace my father campaigned for, and was successful in obtaining an amnesty for him, conditional that he remained outside Victoria. However, it was too late, the years away from his one and only love left their mark.

Gone was his sartorial elegance - the tailored suit, coloured waistcoat, silver-topped walking stick and spats - his confidence was shattered, no longer did he speak with confidence in a soft and impeccable voice. It was replaced by a down-and-out alcoholic, a man who died without his friends knowing, and who was buried in a pauper's grave".

'Millswyn'- Mrs Greta Florence

Mrs Smith with 'Millswyn' AiredalesMrs Smith with 'Millswyn' Airedales

After purchasing her first Airedale in 1926, Mrs. Greta Florence, firstly in partnership with Mrs. Smith and later on her own, bred some lovely Airedales under the Millswyn prefix.  Mrs Smith is pictured here with puppies out of Ch MILLSWYN BUSY BEE sired by 'WALNUT BRIAN' (Imp UK).

Their first dog 'Laddie' was bought as a pet and a watchdog. He is pictured in the thumbnail at the top of this page together with CH MILLSWYN ARGO referred to below.

But when Mrs Florence decided to show Laddie, she wanted his show name to be 'Laddie of Millswyn Street' as she lived in Millswyn Street, South Yarra at that time when there were 3 controlling bodies in Victoria registering dogs. Unable to register the name 'Millswyn', with one registration body, I remember my amazement when she told me she took the same application for registration form to the Victorian Poultry and Kennel Club and registered the name of her first Airedale as Millswyn Laddie. So he became the first in a long line of Millswyn Champions, although of course Millswyn Kennels did not breed him. Later this prefix was transferred to the Kennel Control Council when it took over all dog registrations in 1933.

'Millswyn' Breeding

Ch Millswyn Busy BeeCh Millswyn Busy Bee

In her first litter in 1930, Greta Florence bred CH MILLSWYN ARGO from Bill Brilliant's imported dog ORATOR. Then she bred in direct line from CH MILLSWYN BOBSY, by CH AUSTRAL SUPERBUS which in turn was by CH ILAN FLYAWAY who produced CH MILLSWYN QUEEN BEE who in turn produced CH MILLSWAY BUSY BEE (pictured) from MARYVALE MIKADO[2]. She then produced CH MILLSWYN BUSYBODY who also produced many Millswyn Champion Airedales. Of particular note was CH MILLSWYN MIDWAY (pictured), a dog Greta Florence bred from MILLSWYN DIANA out of CH RIVERINA RENEGRADE (IMP UK). MIDWAY was owned by Bill Brilliant. Then from Norman Myers' imported Ch WALNUT BRIAN, Busy Bee produced MILLSWYN THE WHOR and MILLSWYN ROCKAFELLA[2] (see photo above).

Ch Millswyn MidwayCh Millswyn Midway

In her later life Greta moved to Ivanhoe where she continued to breed Wire Fox Terriers still under the Millswyn prefix. I remember driving this charming old lady to Sporting Terrier Club meetings, still interested in dog affairs even in her old age.

References and Further Reading

[1] 'National Dog Newspaper' (Published Windsor NSW) Special Supplement July 1978

[2] Greta Florence 'Forty Years with Airedales in Victoria' Published in British Terrier Club of Australia Golden Anniversary, 1907 - 1957 Pages 101 - 105

[3] Stewart Lusk Dogsbody - the Story of the New Zealand Kennel Club - Robert Marshall 'The Great Rebellion' Page 24


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