George Starritt was a respected sheep breeder of Border Leicester, Poll Dorset and Southdown sheep, founding his own stud ‘Kelso Park’ in 1914. Over the years, the family garnered numerous accolades, including the 1938 champion Clydesdale stallion trophy and rare gold medallions for champion Border Leicester ram.
George’s son, G.R. Ray Starritt, OBE, joined the Society in 1957, became a Life Councillor in 1977, and held the office of Vice President for 12 years before taking on the presidential seat from 1982 to 1986. He spent many years on various agricultural committees within the Show, and was a respected sheep and cattle judge, both in Australia and internationally. Ray Starritt also held a number of senior positions within the Australian Society of Breeders of British Sheep, Poll and Beef Shorthorn Societies of Australia.
Ray was honoured in 1977 with an Order of the British Empire for his services to the Australian sheep industry.
A deep affinity with the agricultural show movement saw his two sons, Ian and Bruce, also grow up to become key councillors of the Show, and are now recognised as Life Councillors. Both exhibited Shorthorn cattle and led them in the grand parade, while Bruce specifically has served as chairman of the sheep committee, a judge for cattle and sheep, and chief steward in the Poll Dorset section for 30 years.
The Starritt family’s unwavering commitment and remarkable achievements have left an indelible mark on the Melbourne Royal Show's history. Their passion for livestock and pursuit of excellence continue to inspire exhibitors and enthusiasts alike.
Hear a snippet from Bruce Starritt's Oral History interview below