Future of Santa breed in good hands

Georgia is a (Mc)Master youth ambassador for Santa Gertrudis


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Aspiring veterinarian and Santa Gertrudis enthusiast, Georgia McMaster, Dundee Santas, Inglewood, was hard at work at the Ekka as the breed’s youth ambassador.

“You can do all the junior judging in the world but talking to people like Mr Greenup and so on means everything.”

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Georgie McMaster, bottom right, with opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, and Yarrawonga handler, Kylen Malycha, played an active role in the judging ring.

Georgie McMaster, bottom right, with opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, and Yarrawonga handler, Kylen Malycha, played an active role in the judging ring.

Those were the words of aspiring veterinarian and Santa Gertrudis enthusiast, Georgia McMaster, Dundee Santas, Inglewood, who was at work at the Ekka as the breed’s youth ambassador.

Installed in the role at the youth camp at the start of the year, it’s been Georgia’s job to attend shows and develop connections between young and old for the benefit of the breed.

She said that while the younger members of a family’s show enterprise might get a lot of experience in the leading and feeding side, they were sometimes left out of intricacies such as classifying, which she was trying to bridge.

“I know a lot of young people who are ambitious and have ideas, so this is a good way for each to help the other,” she said.

One of the ways that Georgia has been broadening her own knowledge has been working further north, for the Pearson family at Terrick Terrick, west of Blackall.

“Even though it was so dry, I loved my time there,” she said. “I hadn’t worked with cattle for a while because of uni, so I just loved being back on a horse behind a mob.”

The experience gave her a new appreciation for the good things Santa Gertrudis represent, she said, such as their heat tolerance and ability to put on weight even when there’s not much feed around.

“How they reproduce in those conditions amazes me,” she said.

Georgia’s time at Blackall closed a circle begun by past generations of her family: her great-grandfather, Felix Schmidt, who was the first president of the Santa Gertrudis Society, had a close friendship with the Pearson family in north west Queensland, while her grandfather, Lester Schmidt, worked at Terrick when it was one of Australia’s great sheep stations.

Her dad, Duncan McMaster, also spent time in the sheep industry at Blackall and her great-uncle Gordon McMaster was a well-known sheep classer, and so the Santa Gertrudis devotee has expanded her repertoire, working at Haddon Rig and Egelabra sheep studs in NSW, and in New Zealand’s South Island.

“I dreamed of the whole north Australia cattle thing when I left school, but for my experience as a vet, it was best to get to know sheep,” she said.

It’s all contributed to an expanding knowledge of the commercial side of breeding, which is what Georgia wants to focus on.

“It’s commercial cattle that breed the meat, and I like to promote that,” she said. “They are all stud animals here in the ring but they’re being judged on beef traits, so I want to share the knowledge of the attributes Santa Gertrudis can bring to the industry more.”

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