The state's livestock industry has lost a great stockman with the sudden passing of Mid North Poll Merino and kelpie breeder David Kellock, Farrell Flat, last month.
The 74-year-old is being remembered as a man of great integrity who had a love of the land, especially the red dirt and bluebush country.
He was also open to new ideas, from breeding Poll Merinos when they were still considered a 'freak of nature' to in 1999 adopting Jim Watts' Soft Rolling Skins breeding principles.
The SRS influence has seen the Kelvale stud well-positioned in the industry, with many of its clients ceasing mulesing more than a decade ago and most also shearing twice a year.
David was raised at Thistlebeds Station, east of Burra, as one of four children.
In 1966 he married Bev Atkins, the start of a 53-year union.
The same year, David established the Kelvale Poll Merino stud with his elder brother Graham, founded on Collinsville and Mount View ewes with a Pollville ram.
The following year David and Bev bought Kelvale on the Barrier Highway at Farrell Flat.
On debut at the 1975 Royal Adelaide Show, Kelvale won grand champion ewe - the first of many broadribbons, but the most special came in 1986 when they won supreme champion of the show.
Earlier in the year the ram won grand champion at the Clare Autumn Sheep Show and gained notoriety in the Farrell Flat Hotel when David dropped in for a celebratory drink on the way home.
"The publican enquired what made a good ram - so the ute was backed up to the front door and unloaded with a photo to be taken with said ram on the bar with Dad," his son Stephen recalls.
At its peak in the mid-1980s, the stud was selling more than 700 rams a year, renowned for breeding big-bodied, heavy-cutting sheep.
The brothers continued the stud together until 2000 when David and his family took it over.
The family bought Emu Flat at Keith in 2005, fulfilling David's long-held ambition to own a property in the SE.
In 2011, the SE became the stud's permanent home, with Stephen and his wife Peta taking over the stud, while his brother Greg and his wife Jane continued the cropping and sheep enterprise in the Mid North.
Stephen said their father laid some "fantastic foundations" for them both as a family and business.
"The relationships he built with loyal clients from the Eyre Peninsula and through the Mid North was fantastic, which saw them stick with us with changes we made with SRS and other traits," he said.
David was also was a long-time member of the SA Stud Merino Sheep Breeders Association, serving as president for two years and the recipient of a service award for his dedication to the organisation.
He was part of the group that instigated the SA Sheep Industry Fund and ovine johnes disease testing in SA.
David's other great passion was breeding working dogs.
After attending a livestock handling workshop with Neil McDonald, Keith, in 1999 he got into the world of yard dog trialling with his kelpies.
SA Yard Dog Association president Lyndon Cooper says David will be sorely missed as both a great competitor and committee person.
He was instrumental in starting trials at Farrell Flat, Clare, Burra and Melrose.
"He was dedicated to whatever he wanted to do, whether it was the sheep job or competing in trials."
Mr Cooper says David, who was made a life member of the association in 2019, was well-respected in the yard dog fraternity.
A lot of people appreciated his honest and direct manner - if someone had played up he certainly told them so.
Many a conversation was had with other competitors around the campfire with a red wine in hand.
David was also a great mentor for young people and always willing to give them advice.
He believed it was important that they finished the course regardless.
"A lot of people appreciated his honest and direct manner - if someone had played up he certainly told them so," Mr Cooper said.
It is fitting that David was recently awarded the SA Breeder of the Year title, with Kelvale prefix dogs scoring the most points at trials during the 2019-20 season.
He was a life member of the Burra Booborowie Hallett Football Club- active in the club's amalgamation, and also the Mintaro Bowling Club.
He is survived by Bev, children Greg, Stephen and Sharon, as well as eight grandchildren.
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