Showing Across the Generations
The Sunday Mail, 'The Show at Home' by Rebecca Somerfield
Entering competitions at the Royal Adelaide Show is a tradition that dates back to the 1900s for the Follett family of Langhorne Creek.
In those early days, great-grandfather Arthur Follett would walk his Illawarra dairy cows over 15 kilometres to Strathalbyn and then put them on the train to the Royal Show. His Bremer View dairy won many prizes at the Show over the years, including a large pewter trophy awarded in 1914 for Champion Milking Shorthorn Cow.
In later years, Arthur’s son Len continued to fly the Follett flag at the Show, followed by Ken, who showed Illawarra’s until the early 1990s and served as a Councillor on the Dairy and Pig committee for over 33 years. After retiring from the committee two years ago, Ken was appointed an Honorary Councillor of the Society.
As their family business evolved from a dairy focus into wine production in the early 1990s, the Folletts maintained their connection with the Royal Adelaide Show, mainly through the Wine Show section.
Their winery, Lake Breeze, regularly enters its wines into the Show and Ken’s son, Greg, is Chair of the Royal Adelaide Wine Show Committee.
“We love the Show and it has been an important part of our life growing up,” Greg said. “My wife, Robyn, and I have instilled that love into our own two children.
“We have been entering our Lake Breeze wines into the Wine Show for many years and have won a swag of gold medals, plus 5 or 6 trophies, including two Best Red Wine of Show trophies.
“We really value the Wine Show process – winning a medal is a bonus but it’s also a great opportunity to benchmark your wine against the rest of the country.”
As Chair of the Wine Show Greg says the 2020 Royal Adelaide Wine Show will go ahead, though public and trade events have been cancelled.
“We were concerned that the number of entries would be down due to the challenges faced by the wine industry, including bushfires, drought and Covid, however wine producers obviously still want to benchmark their wines and entry numbers are actually up.”
Though wine is now the Follett family’s main focus, Greg’s son Thomas, an agricultural science student at the University of Adelaide, has rekindled the family’s association with Illawarra dairy cattle, establishing a small herd of heifers a few years ago and entering them into the Dairy competition at the Show ever since.
“Thomas has always wanted to be a dairy farmer from the time he could talk,” Greg said. “He loves the historical side of our farm and has been working to re-establish the Bremer View Illawarra herd.”
Thomas restarted the stud with a heifer calf, Glenbrook Belle 50, from dairy farmer Ian Mueller, from Glenbrook Illawarras in Murray Bridge. The calf was the direct descendant of the Bremer View Belle line, and from that calf Thomas bred his first heifer calf, Bremer View Belle 73.
“The Show is a special social occasion, for everyone to get together and make more memories,” Thomas said. “I’ve learnt so much about dairying and the breed from others since I started showing when I was ten years old. I plan to continue breeding Illawarras and increase my herd, but at this stage a dairy is a long way down the track.”
Though the Show is at home this year, the Folletts will be there in thought and are keen to return to the Showground in 2021.