Tasmania’s Place in 100 Year History.

In the one hundred year history of the Murray Grey breed, it is interesting for breeders to know what an integral part Tasmania and Charles Wallace had in that history.

For many years there was second registered breed of grey cattle in Australia, developed in Tasmania in the early nineteen hundreds and one which enjoyed the same successes in carcase and steer trials as their mainland counterparts.


In 1938, in northern Tasmania, Mr Bill Reed crossed an Angus bull with a white Shorthorn milking cow and became fascinated with the grey offspring. He established a small herd of these Angus/shorthorn crosses and retained a grey bull to put back over them. These grey cattle consistently out performed the Angus cattle, in carcase and steer trials and Mr Reed switched his herd to grey cattle. Breeders of cattle around the state became interested in these cattle and more and more began breeding them and following Mr. Reed’s lead, a Tasmanian Grey breed Society was formed and eventually attracted 150 members.

Charles Wallace, became the third member of this society. He was a teenager at the time who had jackarooed with Mr Reed and had seen the qualities of these Tasmanian Grey cattle. He was very proactive in the promotion and development of these Tasmanian Greys and soon Charles was taking positions of leadership in the society, including becoming president.
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Meanwhile the Murray Greys along the Murray began to excel in steer and carcase competitions. Mr Reed had started negotiating in 1963 to have his Tasmanian Greys accepted into the fledgling Murray Grey breed. But after, much discussion and negotiation, it was not until 1981 that Mr. Charles Wallace, the new president of the Tasmanian Greys, shook hands with Mr Alan Wakefield, the president of the Murray Greys and the two organizations joined forces. This amalgamation opened up world wide markets for the Tasmanian cattle and the breed has never looked back.

stock and land article woodbournWith the high standard and good numbers of cattle at Woodbourn, at the time of amalgamation, Charles found himself poised ready to capitalize on Tasmania’s disease free status and he made a series of spectacular sales to England, Canada, New Zealand and Cuba.

British horse breeder and cattleman, Suliman Vanion, was particularly impressed with Woodbourn cattle and, in 1982, through long-time Murray grey breeder, Murray Sutherland, purchased eight Woodbourn Murray Grey heifers and the bull, Woodbourn Poseidon, for his Derisley Wood stud at Newmarket, England. He was so pleased with his purchase that he returned to Woodbourn the following year and purchased three more females and a bull, Woodbourn Echo, for a total of $40,000. The cows included Woodbourn Heather 6, sold for $18000, who went on to become grand champion at the English Royal.

Murray greys loaded on a planeThen came the sale that Mr. Wallace claims as the most exciting of his career. After lengthy negotiations with Suliman Vanion, he sold a three-quarter share in the bull Woodbourn Thor for $60,000 at 12 months of age. Thor, the junior champion at the 1982 Royal Launceston Show, proved a great success in Britain, becoming supreme champion Murray Grey exhibit at the English Royal Show and the Royal Norfolk Show, and winning Grand Champion twice in a row.

thor the bullIn a separate deal in 1982, Charles sold Woodbourn Hercules to Scottish breeder, Robert Graham, for $9000. When his stud was dispersed the following year, Robert Graham resold Hercules for a British breed record of 18000 pounds.

Later Charles sold a quarter share and North American semen rights of Woodbourn Fame to Canadian breeder, Conway Bevan. Semen from Woodbourn Fame has also been sold to North America, New Zealand and Cuba.

woodboun hercules

On the home front Charles Wallace has continued his dogged path of breeding grey cattle to the highest standard. He has remained true to the breed for 35 years and has kept up with new technology including the adoption of Breeedplan in its earliest days. He was the second Murray Grey stud to register. From those early days, when he shared a sale facility with Mr Reed, Charles built the Woodbourn Sale complex and has successfully sold a line of quality cattle every year on his beautiful property at Cressy.

( with acknowledgement to Beef Australia)