Obituary – Eric Dixon (1928 to 2016)
(Our sympathies go out to the Dixon family and we thank them for supplying the Eulogy from his funeral, delivered by his daughter Lois, from which much of this information has been sourced)
Eric Dixon was born on 31st March 1928 to Clarrie & Elsie Dixon at Dubbo. He died on March 10 in a single-vehicle accident on the Collie Road while returning home to ‘Ashlee’ and was about 500 metres from the mailbox and driveway to his property when the crash occurred.
He was described as a knowledgeable and community minded man; a real gentleman; a quiet man who never made a fuss; and a true ‘old stud man’ whose contribution to his community spanned decades.
Eric had one older brother, Noel, and as children they were great mates. His mother was from the pioneering Roberts family. Both boys attended Terramungamine Primary School, but the school closed down when the teacher left to go to war, so Eric’s schooling was completed through correspondence by his mother.
His parents purchased the home property of ‘Ashlee’ in 1933 when Eric was 5 years old and he lived the rest of his life there.
In his youth he pursued different sports, but tennis, table tennis and athletics (running) were his most successful pursuits. His running successes caught the eyes of a sprinting coach and close to competing at Stawell, but as his father had lost a hand in a farming accident and needed help on the farm, he refused the offer.
Tennis introduced him to his wife of 62 years; he and Joyce Campion were married on June 13th 1953 in the same church as his funeral service was held. Eric and Joyce had 5 children; Wayne, Lois, Daryl, Karen and Andrew, who have produced 8 grandchildren.
Eric’s community focus led him to hold the positions of President of the Coalbaggie Tennis Club, the Eumungerie area Small Schools Sports Association, the Coalbaggie Public School P&C Association; the Dubbo area Australian Society of British Sheep, and the Dubbo Region Poll Dorset Association at various stages.
The family went on to purchase 6 farming properties, or portions thereof, where they continue to grow crops, run prime lambs, cattle and breed stud sheep. The stud sheep were Eric’s pride and joy; he lived and breathed them!
The Ashbank Dorset Horn stud was founded in 1957 and the Poll Dorsets in 1969. Showing of the Ashbank sheep was undertaken at Dubbo and other small towns in the area, later progressing to the major eastern states shows at Sydney, Albury and Melbourne. Eric and family commenced competing at these major shows at Albury in 1978. Melbourne became part of the Ashbank showing circuit in 1979, and Sydney followed soon after. Later, shows such as Cowra, Hamilton, Canberra and Bendigo became an important part of the promotional showing program.
The family has countless trophies and ribbons from these efforts. The highlights that stand above the others include the following at Melbourne Royal, the biggest sheep show in Australia at the time –
- 2 champion rams and 2 reserve champion rams with Poll Dorsets.
- 4 champion rams, 4 champion ewes, 2 reserve champion rams & 2 reserve champion ewes with Dorset Horns.
- Won champion ram and ewe in both breeds at the 1992 combined feature breeds showing – a real highlight.
- Won the reserve interbreed champion ram and reserve interbreed ewe awards, plus supreme interbreed group with Dorset Horns in 1991 – a rarity for Dorset Horns by this time.
- In sales at Melbourne sold 2 rams over $20,000 – $21,000 in 1989 to Allendale, Kurralea, Renrut & Yasloc studs; & $24,000 in 2003 to the Barwon stud.
Eric was also a respected judge at many of these shows, and was chief steward at the Dubbo show for numerous years. The successful Ashbank on-property ram sale was commenced in 1983 and has been held every year since.
He willingly shared his knowledge with all ages and will be will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Eric Dixon was always a ‘glass half full’ person, no matter what was going on. During dry periods and droughts he always saw each day as one day closer to rain!