Husband and wife Ron and Dianne Condon have made significant contributions to the Melbourne Royal Show and the alpaca industry.
They were founding members of the Australian Alpaca Association (AAA) in 1991 and played vital roles in establishing the alpaca competition at the Melbourne Royal Show. Dianne served as the AAA secretary, organising seminars and workshops, and promoting the alpaca industry. In its first year, she and Ron convinced 17 pioneer alpaca owners to participate in the Show, showcasing 37 alpaca exhibits.
The pair’s dedication to alpacas and the industry was remarkable. Despite facing challenges, such as a devastating fire and the need to rebuild their herd, Ron and Dianne's dedication to breeding top-quality alpacas led to the success of Shanbrooke Alpaca Stud. The stud gained early worldwide recognition, and they won the Melbourne Royal Supreme Championship eight times. Dianne's commitment to the industry led her to become a highly sought-after national and international show judge, receiving a AAA Life Membership for her service.
Tragically, Dianne passed away in January 2012, but her legacy lives on. The Dianne Condon Memorial Perpetual Cup for Best White Huacaya Female in Show at the Melbourne Royal was named in her honor, recognising the vital contribution of high-quality female alpacas to the breeding process. Ron recalls that she was the ‘driving force’ behind the Royal Melbourne Alpaca Show in the early years and that she would have been ‘very proud’ to see just how far it’s come.
Meanwhile, Ron's involvement as an exhibitor, volunteer, steward, judge chaperone, and behind-the-scenes promoter has been ongoing, as the only alpaca exhibitor at the first Melbourne Royal Show who is still exhibiting alpacas today.
Ron's commitment to the show and his involvement in securing acclaimed international judges demonstrates his continued passion for alpacas and the Melbourne Royal Alpaca Competition. Additionally, his recognition with the Speed The Plough Medal in 2022 acknowledges his exceptional service and dedication to elevating the competition. Ron's long-term commitment and achievements make him a proud and influential figure within the Melbourne Royal Show community.