Jeff Gooding with Bukarra Janie
our first registered Cocker, c. 1955

The beginning of Yunbeai

In 1954 Jean and her then husband Des decided to purchase a cocker spaniel for their first child, Jeffery. Jean had previously had a cocker as a child in the 1930s. They purchased an orange roan female called Bukarra Janie (see above) and they were soon bitten with the showing bug. A quick glance at Janie will show that we have not only come a long way, but that she was never going to achieve great things in the show ring! As a long time showing doyen at the time put it, as Jean was combing Janie’s one feather “Don’t add insult to injury dear”!. Never ones to give up in the face of competition in no time at all they had purchased a pair of black cockers from Merlyn and Noel French of Nolyn kennels. 

The English Connection

Late in the 1950s Graham Head from Victoria was judging in Perth and he volunteered to assist local gundog breeders in finding stock to help them improve type in Western Australia. Later Des and Jean decided to avail themselves of his kind offer and wrote to him at his home in Victoria. They were disappointed not to receive a reply. Many months later they received a brief postcard from him. The card said that their letter had followed him to South Africa where he was judging and finally to England where he received it. He suggested that it would be a good opportunity for him to look for a dog there. Later they received a postcard from him to say “I have seen the dog. He’s not a great dog but I think he could do you a lot of good”. The dog was Ch Colinwood Red Beret who won Best in Show (All Breeds) at his first four shows in Australia and became the foundation of our solid lines, still being seen in current pedigrees. Graham Head left it up to Des and Jean to contact Alf Collins of Colinwood which they did. This was the beginning of a relationship that lasted many years. In those days they waited anxiously for letters from Mr. Collins with answers to their many queries on how to trim this bit or that bit. Over the years he sent them Ch. Colinwood Arapaho, Ch. Colinwood Seamist, Ch. Colinwood Sherry, as well as Ch. Colinwood Red Beret. Mr. Collins was a great mentor and advisor to the Goodings, giving freely his advice on any topic that they wished to ask about.

Gabe with Ch Barooga Lariette (Imp in Dam) and
Ch Colinwood Arapaho (Imp UK) c. 1963

The Wittersham Connection

It was through Ch. Colinwood Red Beret that we met and formed a lifelong friendship with Eugene Phoa who at that time was living in Singapore. Eugene had been very disappointed in a dog which he had purchased from someone in Perth which was sired by Red Beret. Apparently the dog was not a good specimen and also was not entire. Eugene wrote an indignant letter to the Canine Association saying, amongst other things, “if this is the best that Colinwood Red Beret can produce he would have been better left in the UK”! The letter was passed along to us and we were anxious to make amends for this disaster. At the time we had two champion sons from a litter from Ch. Colinwood Sherry and we offered to sell him one. He was very suspicious as to why we would let one of these dogs go, so in the end we offered to send him to him on approval – if he liked the dog he could pay us £50, if he didn’t he could place him in a pet home. We heard later that half of the Singapore Kennel Club was at the airport to meet, examine and pass judgment on the dog! Eugene liked him and kept him until he died at a good age. Along the way he became the first Australian dog to gain a Singapore and Malaysian title and was the foundation of Wittersham. We have maintained a strong friendship with Eugene ever since. He has sent us dogs from Canada where he now lives (including Can. Ch. Wittersham’s Davey Crockett) and we have sent stock to him (notable Aust. Ch. Yunbeai Nite Lite). Eugene was also instrumental in some lovely dogs coming our way including the New Zealand imports Ch. Maragown Mountebank and Ch. Maragown Meteor.

Aust. Sing. & Mal. Ch Yunbeai Sea Captain of Wittersham (Imp UK)

Imports at Yunbeai

The association with Collinwood started a long tradition at Yunbeai of seeking out the best available bloodlines and importing them to Perth. Over the years we have imported some 18 dogs, from the UK, North America, New Zealand and the Netherlands. We have also bought or been given some lovely dogs by other kennels in Australia including Glenbriar, Royoni, Kenbey, Glenayden, Brightleaf, and Dandaul to name a few. These have all contributed to the tapestry of breeding that is behind our current stock.

Ch. Colinwood Sherry was a notable import as she had quite an adventure on the way. In those days (the 1960s) dogs had to come to Australia via ship, a journey that took 5 weeks. Sherry was held at Colinwood until she came into season, was mated, and then sent on the first available ship to Australia. The crew grew to be very fond of Sherry and she roamed the ship quite freely. Three days out of Fremantle port Sherry jumped overboard! Luckily she was seen by a crewman and the massive cargo ship was halted, turned around and went back to pick Sherry up out of the Indian Ocean. She couldn’t quite make it to land though and she started to whelp on the ship while it was outside the port. An urgent call was sent out and Jean was ferried to the ship by tugboat to supervise the whelping. Because the puppies were born in international waters they were given the suffix (imp UK) becoming the only Yunbeais to be imported from England! It was a famous litter with 3 gaining their titles and one Aust, Sing & Mal Ch. Yunbeai Sea Captain of Wittersham going to Singapore and then Canada with Mr Eugene Phoa where he played a part in the development of Wittershams Kennels.

Most recently we have welcomed the arrival of the red bitch Redglitter’s Vixen from the Netherlands (in whelp to Multi Ch. Perrytree a Fine Romance) and Bitcon Wish Me Well, a dark blue dog sired by Sh.Ch. Shanaz Scunner. Vixen’s progeny and grand children have made their mark in the ring with her grand-daughter Yunbeai Flight ov Dreams winning bitch CC under Tamas Jakkel from Hungay from Minor class.

Notable achievements

Grand Ch Glenbriar Shaded Silver after winning
Top Dog All Breeds in 1999
Photo by Van Zelst

Ch Yunbeai Classical Jazz after winning
BIS Cocker National 1994
Judge : Ed Simpson (Coltrim UK)
Photo by Picot

After so long in the breed it is impossible to list all the achievements, but amongst the highlights would be:

  • 87 champions

  • the first cocker from Western Australia to win a National Championship 
    (Ch. Yunbeai Classical Jazz under Ed Simpson of Coltrim kennels in the UK)

  • 4 time winners Best Dog at Perth Royal Show 
    (Ch. Yunbeai Leading Light twice, Ch Maragown Mountebank and Ch Yunbeai Supersonic)

  • top dog all breeds in Western Australia 1999 (Grand Ch Glenbriar Shaded Silver)

  • top cocker in Australia 1999 (Grand Ch Glenbriar Shaded Silver)

  • first Australian cocker exported to the UK (Yunbeai Star Performance at Bitcon Kennels)

  • first cocker and first bitch to win Western Australian Gundog Gala
    (Ch. Yunbeai Im Special Too in 2003)

Some of the great dogs which we have had the honour of sharing our lives with can be found at the dogs of the past link.

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This page was last edited :  26 January 2005

Kaylene Osborn and Kimberly Smith
Paralowie, Adelaide, Australia
Phone +61 08 82813882