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Phillips, Stanley Thomas (1912–1976)

by S. J. Routh

This article was published:

Stanley Thomas Phillips (1912-1976), studmaster, was born on 27 July 1912 at Greenview, near Wondai, Queensland, second of seven children of Queensland-born parents Joseph Phillips, farmer, and his wife Anne Catherine, née Jensen. Educated at Greenview State School, Stan worked on the family dairy farm. Joe established the Sunnyview (later Sunny View) stud of Illawarra Shorthorns which won awards (from the 1920s) at the Brisbane Royal National Exhibition. In December 1938 the family enterprise was named J. Phillips & Sons.

At St Johannes Evangelical Church, Mondure, on 23 January 1937 Stan Phillips had married Gertrude Adell Hansen with Lutheran forms. Late in 1948 the Phillipses sold the Greenview farm and bought land near Kingaroy. Their intention was that Joe would retire, and that Stan and his brother Cyril would grow peanuts and grain on the new property. Their desire to breed and show elite dairy cattle proved too strong. After buying back their stud name and part of the herd, they began to resurrect the stud. Stan showed their stock annually on a circuit that at times extended to Rockhampton. He also bred horses which he raced as trotters.

Stan Phillips was a committee-member (from 1952) of the Queensland branch of the Australian Illawarra Shorthorn Society, but he lived for his stud and the show-ring rather than the committee-room. Like his father, he judged at major shows, including the Royal Easter Show, Sydney (1954, 1957 and 1959). He was an excellent judge and 'managed the big classes with ease'. In 1961 he spent almost four months in hospital and underwent radiotherapy. That year Sunny View Little Princess 30 was champion A.I.S. cow at the Brisbane Royal National Exhibition. This rangy red cow was named Australian dairy 'Cow of the Year' nine times by the Livestock Bulletin, and her lifetime production record put her among the world's top ten living cows. Phillips energetically promoted the export of semen carrying her bloodlines in a programme to rejuvenate the American Milking Shorthorn breed.

The Phillips family owned or bred senior, reserve, or production champions in all but five Brisbane Royal National Exhibitions between 1929 and 1975. A genetic analysis of the A.I.S. breed of 1973 showed Sunny View as the most important stud in Australia. Sunny View and Tabbagong (Jamberoo, New South Wales) studs had more influence on the national herd than the next ten studs combined. After Cyril died in 1971, J. Phillips & Sons was dissolved. The dispersal sale on 2 October 1973 grossed $141,250 for 109 head of cattle. Stan helped his son Ray to establish Sunny View Droughtmaster stud; by 1975 its beef cattle were winning ribbons in Brisbane.

Rather stocky in appearance, Stan Phillips was held in affectionate respect by his family and fellow cattlemen. He had an unassuming manner which concealed a painstaking, intensely competitive concern for his stud. Survived by his wife and son, he died of myocardial infarction on 20 May 1976 at the Gympie showgrounds and was buried in Taabinga cemetery with Methodist forms.

Select Bibliography

  • Australian Illawarra Shorthorn Society: Golden Jubilee Souvenir (Kiama, 1980)
  • Kingaroy and District Historical Society, One Step of Progress (Kingaroy, 1985)
  • Queensland Country Life, 26 Oct 1950, 21 June 1956, 29 July 1971, 4 Oct 1973, 3 June 1976
  • Australian Dairy Journal, Sept, Nov 1973
  • Dairyman, June 1976
  • Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Nov 1977
  • private information.

Citation details

S. J. Routh, 'Phillips, Stanley Thomas (1912–1976)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/phillips-stanley-thomas-11388/text20347, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 27 May 2022.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

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