Armidale consists of 1,000 acres of prime country in the central northern part of the Tasmania. Owned and farmed by the Whishaw family since 1919, Armidale nestles in between the junction of the Liffey and Meander Rivers. With almost 9 kilometres of river frontage the farm boasts some magnificent alluvial river soils, and an abundant supply of water from the Meander Valley Irrigiation scheme. This irrigation allows Armidale to grow all its own lucerne and pasture hay as well as barley, lupins, peas, beans and poppies for opium. More recently a new centre pivot irrigator and 9 paddocks of K line irrigation have further improved Armidale’s productivity.
The late David Whishaw began his interest in breeding thoroughbreds in the mid 1960′s after he was given a broodmare as a birthday present – he aptly named her BIRTHDAY TREAT! In anticipation of the introduction of the TAB to Tasmania, and the belief that it would lead to a revival in Tasmanian racing, David Whishaw decided to turn part of Armidale into a thoroughbred stud.
He leased a stallion called SAILOR’S REWARD, who turned into a useful sire, but the breakthrough came when he was able to lease a horse called SANDASTRE. On the strength and success of Sandastre David was able to build up a band of broodmares, including the outstanding racemare PEPPINELLA, who was bred and raced by Armidale and won the Tasmanian Derby, Oaks, Guineas and St Leger.
In 1971 David approached local businessman and family friend Robert Fergusson to join with him in financing an imported stallion for Armidale. Swallowtail II was the first of many stallions to stand at Armidale form Ireland and England. Successful sires to follow included POACHER”S MOON, ST BRIAVELS, and more recently LADONI and SAVOIRE VIVRE.
In the late 1980′s David’s third son Denis, took over the management of Armidale, and he along with his wife Robyn, worked hard to upgrade pastures, fences and the bloodlines of the stud mares. In the 1990′s Armidale began to market some yearlings in Victoria and have over the years built up a reputation for producing sound, well grown, attractive yearlings. Armidale Stud still holds the record for the highest priced yearling at the Inglis Autumn sale, when Denis sold an Encosta de Lago colt for $215,000 in 2004.
Now 7 years later and the fourth generation of Whishaw’s are starting to make their mark on Armidale. David completed a Bachelor Of Agricultural Science Degree in Hobart, before coming home to Armidale to implement some of his ideas and to learn more about breeding and racing. Camilla is in Melbourne studying to be a Naturopath but still finds time to pursue her passion of thoroughbreds by working part time for trainer Mick Kent, and assisting various studs as the William Inglis and Magic Millions sales whenever possible. The youngest of the three William, is a passionate farmer, and is at present working with an agricultural contractor learning all about cropping and pasture renovation. In his spare time he assists on the family farm Armidale.
Over the decades Armidale has been fortunate to stand stallions who have won the State’s Leading Sire and Two Year Old sire on numerous occasions including POACHER’S MOON, ST BRIAVELS, NORTHERN CHATEU, WEASEL CLAUSE, BLESSINGTON, LADONI, and SAVOIRE VIVRE. Armidale has also won the Broodmare of the Year title on many occasions and more recently with mares such as LA TOURELLE (dam of Weasel Will & Dartington) FORGETFUL (NZ) (dam of Mislaid and Nuclear Free) and QUEEN”S OWN (dam of Lady Lynette).
Each year the stud produces a constant stream of winners including stakes performers both in our home state of Tasmania and interstate. This season Armidale is the 9th Leading Stud in Australia as breeders of Black Type winners – a remarkable achievement considering the size of our operation. Armidale is rated above such well known studs as Coolmore, Arrowfield, Blue Gum, Eliza Park and Widden.
This season Armidale has produced Tasmania”s leading Two Year Old in TRIPLE ASSET. The stud has also produced a close contend for Three Year Old of the Year in SOCKS (Tasmanian Guineas), and also the outright favourite for Horse Of The Year in LADY LYNETTE.