Tribute to Jan Hall

A tribute to Jan Hall given at her funeral on Tuesday 26 February 2008 by Greg Stuart, President of the Galloway Cattle and Beef Marketing Association.

I was and am pleased to have been asked to give a short talk about Jan and some of her life especially that with her Belties.

Jan was one of those people that many people knew but few really knew.

I probably first heard Jan before I actually met her, Jan had a turn of phrase that could have taught an old bullocky a thing or two but like an old bullocky none of it was malicious, it was just Jan although Jan did not tolerate most fools lightly.

The first time I can actually remember Jan was at Royal Sydney Show many years ago when I was one of those fools. She was looking at an animal of mine that had just done well and was to go into the Interbreed. The words were something like “Why on earth did you clip that animal like that”. I was a bit taken aback and must have looked a bit crest fallen. Eventually I got out “Well how should I have clipped it” For this I earned that Jan cocked eyebrow while she considered was I a fool or was I asking for help. After a bit of a pause she said “do you want to take it out to Eve’s clipping frame and we’ll see what we can do with it”. So I had a brief lesson and then she had me tidy up the animal while she continued to give advice and assistance. Last year at Royal Melbourne Show we were sitting in some chairs in the aisle of the cattle shed behind my cattle. She looked at my bull and said “Did you clip that” My stomach dropped a bit and I said “yes Jan”, she then looked at me and said “well you did alright then”. That’s the spirit and willingness to help if you asked for help that I remember fondly of Jan.

That spirit was shown last year at Murrumbateman Field Days, one of our newer members was having trouble with a young cow, Jan commented along the line of who trained that cow. She got an answer and was asked for help. Jan sat down with the cow’s owner and went through ways to get the cow to behave better. In return the cow’s owner had a laptop computer and sat down with Jan and went through how to use a computer including how to get the best out of the Galloway Cattle and Beef Marketing Association website as Jan had just registered all her cattle with the association but was not very computer literate. Jan had a great weekend and was the happiest that I had most likely seen her, a view she endorsed, saying she had such a good time she didn’t want to go home.

Jan loved her Belties more than almost anything. She had breed or owned a number of champions. One of her female Belties was a Champion at last weekend’s Royal Canberra Show I’m sure she was barracking for it and helped it along. Her bulls had interesting names and even more interesting Royal Show wins. The Keep Bert the Flirt was Grand Champion Bull and Best Belted Galloway Exhibit Royal Sydney Show 2007 and Reserve Champion Bull Royal Canberra Show 2007, The Keep Yippi-Yi-Yo was Best Belted Galloway exhibit at Royal Canberra 2005 and Royal Sydney 2006, Champion Belted Galloway Bull Royal Brisbane 2004 and 2005, Champion Senior Belted Galloway Bull Royal Melbourne 2006. There were many more I could talk about but it would take a long time. She was particularly pleased to have some of Yippi’s semen requested for export to UK.

Jan loved showing her Belties and one of her last requests to us when we visited her almost two weeks ago was to come to Canberra Show, it was obvious she would not be able to make it. She was however delighted to have Patrick Keast the Cattle Chairmen at Royal Sydney Show call her and offer to do what he could if she could get to Royal Sydney as she was the Shows longest continuous exhibitor, over 50 years starting at the age of 15. She actually missed 1 year during that time while she was assisting Prince Phillip. Wearing those iconic checked shorts with the belt hanging out and boots she seemed an unlikely person to share our mutual experiences and views of the Royal Family with.

Her exhibiting consisted of being a Champion at Show Jumping, a Champion at Dressage, a Champion at Carriage Racing a sport in which she teamed up with Prince Phillip and where she got to know some of the Royal family. This was followed by Champion Belties.

Jan’s other major love was country music, she made the trek to the Tamworth country music festival for many years but alas couldn’t get there this year, an indication of how ill she was.

Jan needed some help during her last months and I was pleased to be able to help her, my reward was to be told I was gorgeous and be given a sloppy kiss. I can tell you that those words and sloppy kiss meant a lot more than gold. It was pleasing to see so many coming to visit Jan during her final months, I’m sure she derived a lot of pleasure from that. Thank you to all who visited and a special thank you to Mike and Elaine Bloomfield who I feel made an extra special effort. Likewise thanks to Lisa you gave Jan great comfort.

So bye Jan, we miss you. I hope you are up there comparing Beltie notes with Eve.