A PILLAR of the Hunter’s horse industry has died just days after his 87th birthday.
Long-standing horse industry TAFE teacher Cliff Ellis, whose career as a horse breeder and breaker earned him the admiration of the horse industry, died on December 30.
Retiring to Scone in 2000, Mr Ellis retained his passion for all things equine after a lifetime working with horses in and around the Upper Hunter.
He was a regular in the Scone Horse Festival until 2011 and an inaugural committee man for the Hunter Valley Breeders Association.
He also served on the Scone Race Club committee and was recognised as Scone Horse Week VIP in 1999.
He also received a Hunter Valley Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association Service to Industry award in 1987.
Born in Denman, Mr Ellis undertook his high schooling by correspondence during World War II. His formal education was cut short due to his father’s inability to find help on the farm.
That need drew Mr Ellis, 14, closer to his eventual career working with horses.
He began in the industry after the family farm was sold in 1949, taking work at Holbrook as a horse breaker.
In 1953 he moved on to Oakleigh stud, where he bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, a horse that earned notoriety after swimming to safety in a major flood in the Hawkesbury.
Mr Ellis married his wife, Jenifer, in 1961 and the pair welcomed son Tim in 1966 during a stint working in Emu Vale.
During that period away from the region he bought Kingdon Farm before returning to the Hunter in 1971 as stud manager at Yarraman Park.
He eventually left that job to establish Kingdon Farm as a base for preparing yearlings for sale.
The property was also used for spelling and foaling, with stallions including Blazing Ruler and Sungazer standing at the property.
Mr Ellis’s funeral service will be held at 11am at St Luke’s Church in Scone on January 7.
HAPPY AT THE RACES: Ellis, who bred 1959 Scone Cup winner Johnno, at Scone.