Southern Aspects

Mrs Peg “Marrona” Stokes will be well known and remembered by many exhibitors, especially in the south, and below are 3 fascinating articles spanning many years.

The first is from the archives of The Chronicle (Adelaide,SA: 1895-1954)

Thursday 30 April 1931


South Australian fanciers apparently lost a good opportunity of acquiring good Irish Setter blood when they missed purchasing the brace imported by Miss E.M. Martino. She is taking the dog G D Ch Juniper back to England with her, sailing from Sydney on April 22. The bitch GD Stenton Pampita has been sold to Mrs Nigel Boulton wife of a doctor at Ryde, 15 miles from Sydney.

The brace have a good ring record, as the following record shows: — Adelaide Royal, September, 1930— Both won first prizes in open classes, scored in the brace, and Pampita went on to win the Osborne trophy for best in show. Judge, Mr. J. Maude. Adelaide Kennel Club, October, 1930— Firsts and challenges, open dog and bitch, and best sporting bitch. Judge, Mr. W. Goodenough. Granville Agricultural Show (N.S.W.), February, 1931— Firsts and challenges, open dog and bitch, with Juniper best Irish and best any variety Setter. Judge, Mr. Dwyer. General Dog Fanciers’ Club, Moore Park, Sydney, March, 1931— Firsts and challenges, open dog and bitch, with Juniper best Irish Setter. Judge, Mrs. Thornton (Eng.). Warringa Shire and Manley Agricultural Show, Brook vale (N.S.W.), March, 1931— First and challenges, open dog and bitch. Judge, Mr. Wilson. Sydney Royal, April, 1931 — First and challenge, open bitch and third open dog. Judge, Mr. Dickson (Queensland). Stenton Pampita remains unbeaten of her sex in her own breed In S.A. and N.S.W., and it is pleasing to learn that she at least will remain in Australia, Commenting on the Sydney Royal, Miss Martino has written to an Adelaide friend: — ‘Pampita beat, amongst others, tine two well-known imported bitches, Glenberry Maureen and Ch Cymwran Spruce (a relative of Juniper II.). Juniper came third in open dog — a class of about a dozen, and the hottest competitor seen for years, they say. Many people congratulated me on him, and said, ‘He ought to have won,’ but the Queensland judge preferred the two local dogs, Ch Wollondilly Duke (the recent Melbourne winner, I believe), and his brother, g d Ch Wollondilly King, the biggest winner here, so there was no disgrace in being beaten.’

The Following is an article compiled by Judy Russell from The Setter and Pointer Club Yearbook 1977 and reproduced with their kind permission.

Judy Russell Article

It appears that Mrs M E Stokes (Marrona) started her career in Irish in the Antipodes with a bitch of unknown breeding, but of probably Boyne stock. She won extensively in Australia before Mrs Stokes decided to import from England when making one of her three round trips between the wars. Unfortunately the Rheola puppy she took was killed shortly after arriving, so on another occasion a further puppy was purchased from Mrs Ingle Bepler, this time a sister to the great Ch. Norna and named Stenton Pampita being by Loc Garmain Barney out of Rheola Didona. Also making the journey was a dog purchased from Miss Terry. He was by Cymurran Juniper, and later registered in South Australia as Juniper II. They both became Australian Interstate Grand Champions, and mated together became ancestors of Rosebrook Irish Lucky Lass the Australian bitch imported into England in the early 1960’s by the Whittakers, and which will be found in many pedigrees today, largely through Wendover Humourist (dam of Racketeer) who is her granddaughter.
Back in England, Wendover Witchery was purchased in 1950, and by Watendlath Joao O’Pandy produced Marrona Milesian, a good but unlucky dog (I believe he was shot by a trigger-happy farmer), and he, mated with Flicka of Casamia (purchased from Mrs Flora Banks shortly before her death) became the dam of Sh. Ch. Marrona Merope, a lovely and most influential bitch from whom descend all the present day Marronas, as well as playing a strong part in the history of several other well-known kennels.

SEISC Southern Aspects

Finally the third article is from SEISC Southern Aspects magazine published in Autumn /Winter 1987
Irish Setters – early memories from Mrs. M. E. Stokes
A recent mention of the Irish Setter Wrestler (born 1889) and his Stamina and also, I believe, of his son Isinglass (1890’s) remind me of my own early experiences with the breed.
It is already known to a number of “setterites” that I had my first Irish when I went to South Australia with my family in the 1920’s. She was obtained quite by chance having been born in Ballarat, Victoria from parents which must have been exported before the 1914 war and all we were ever able to discover was that she came from the “Boyne” stock of Mr. J.A. Carbery, Drogheda.
We thought her perfection and indeed she was one of the most intelligent and lovely dogs in my life and, to us quite beautiful- though on our return to England we realized that she would not have won here, being somewhat broad in head and light in eye.
I had my own horse out there – a 13 year old ex- steeplechaser, 17.2 hands- and with her two sons and a daughter, in due course, we were out together in the early dawn, in the outer suburbs of Adelaide and the foothills, when there was so little motor traffic on such wide road verges that they could accompany me running freely – and I did feel proud, with a chestnut horse and four chestnut dogs! Though not so kind friends said I looked like a pimple on a pumpkin!
There were still horse troughs at intervals along the roads and the dogs knew all of these over distance of about five miles from our home.
My mother had always loved horses and driving and for short distance errands she enjoyed a smart little trap and a very nice little pony: and on one occasion we decided on the days picnic in the hills –a winding steep road, first through vines to a view point picnic place under the gum trees – the dogs came too, mother driving with picnic gear and I riding quietly ahead or behind.
Hardly a vehicle passed us on the 14 miles drive, starting early and going quietly, the dogs running freely from side to side and probably covering more than twice our road distance! And of course taking drinks at every trough – supplied by artesian wells and windmills, provided along all country roads at that time for the early days sheep and cattle droving.
Arriving we unbridled and tied the horse and pony in the shade, with their feed and, of course, bucket of water. The dogs flopped down and slept solidly for an hour or two and we sat on rugs and cushions against the trees, ate our picnic, read or dozed and then started gently back home again – all downhill -14 miles. HOW-ZAT? 28 miles plus ……
Well, that was my start in Setters and I’ve been obsessed ever since – I hate guns but love all gundogs.
Mrs Stokes also mentions that her Marrona prefix was registered at the Kennel Club in 1938 after her return to England and that she had been a member of the Irish Setter Association since 1928.

On her return to England several Marrona Show Champions were made up:
Sh Ch Marrona Merope dob 1 Sept 1958 Sire Marrona Milesian
ex Flicka of Casamia
Liiter sisters Sh Ch Marrona Marica and Sh Ch Marrona Marigold of Thurnbrook dob 27 Sept 1960 sire Sh Ch Norlan Paddy ex Sh Ch Marrona Merope
Sh Ch Marrona Monitor dob 27 Dec 1964 sire SH CH Wendover Vagabond ex Sh CH Marrona Merope
Sh Ch Marrona Meriel 26 April 1969 sire Sh Ch Scotswood Barabbas ex Marrona Marstock Witch
All these can be found in the SEISC Book of Show Champions 1947 -1982.

Link to Marrona Photo Gallery

Article by Yvonne Vaughan  in 1976.


The Standard – as seen by an Irish Setter owner.

Head      Long and lean, particularly adapted for poking cold wet nose into other people’s business.

Bite        The scissors or even bite his best demonstrated on new curtains, linoleum, upholstery and shoes etc

Eyes       Even when shut they somehow see you tiptoe from the room.

Ears       The long, low set ears are attuned only to can openers and to scraping dishes- they effectively filter out words like NO, COME, GET DOWN and SHUT UP

Body      Suffice it to say that the body takes up a hell of a lot of room in a bed yet becomes skin and bone when the show entry is mailed in!

Legs and Feet     The sturdy legs and arched toes are made to order for digging holes, omission of comment about nails is because the dog prefers it that way.

Tail         The portion of the anatomy the owner see the most of as the dog lunges ahead on the lead or goes in the opposite direction when called.

Coat       The long silky feathering is found on ears, legs, brisket, chest, tail, sofa, rug, car seat …..

Colour    Mahogany or rich chestnut red – shade varies according to colour of mud in locality.  Traces of black should be the removable kind – ink, chewable magic markers,  car grease.

Size There is no disqualification as to size which may vary from 12 inches as the dog slinks into the vet’s office to 5 feet or more as the dog greets you on its hind legs.

Gait   The dog runs as he stands, straight to the dinner table, straight out of the Obedience ring, straight to the guest who hates dogs, straight to the dog’s favourite chair (yours).

Balance  The correct specimen always exhibits balance even when the owner is tangled up in the lead, the dog should not call attention to itself by pawing you in the face or sitting in your lap.

The above puts in a few words what I take about 4 hours to tell each new owner of one of my pups.

Yvonne Vaughan.   Taken from ISC newsletter of Knoxville USA