Key South Australian breeder

Eighty-four year old Alan Thede is a highly successful old-school Adelaide pigeon breeder and flyer.

He lived through the Golden years of pigeon racing when the South and Australian Pigeon Association had almost 400 members, competing against some of the biggest names in the sport including Vin Blanden, Allen Goodger, John Pryor and Bill Walford

He was a an SAHPA Committeman for six years in the sixties.

Thede  is a cousin of Allen Goodger, but ironically only met him after taking up pigeon racing

He got his first racing pigeon as a lad when a  stray landed in his mother’s front yard with a broken wing.

Thede took the bird home and kept it in a canary cage for a few days before reporting it and handing back to the owner.

But when it homed back to his canary cage he bought a mate for it from an Adelaide pet store and his interest developed from there into a lifetime with pigeons.

Thede’s success gathered even more pace after he was gifted a loft by the widow of Ossie Benger who lived at the back of his Sister’s house in Prospect.

He bred and raced pigeons from that relocated loft at his mother’s house for two years in the West Suburban club, before buying another loft and setting it up in the backyard of his home in Adelaide’s North East.

Thede and his wife, Dorothy married in 1959, and have a daughter Leanne, and son David.

He started in the sport in1960 scoring an Association win from Glendambo in 2011. (Silver Shadow Dam was from Willi Thiele).

(Picture – Great grand-daughter of Thede’s Glendambo Winner)

His birds have also produced winners for other flyers from Alice Springs (twice), an Adelaide 10 thousand, a South SAHPA Derby and a SAHPA Holbrook.

Thede also sent birds to his nephew David Thomas in Victoria, gaining 2ndand 4th in an all Fed race  from Carrieton back to Victoria with only eight birds home on the second day.

Mid career he flew with the (now disbanded) North East Club –  which had 30 members at its peak…  He now flies with Vitesse

The retired insurance broker has spent several generations linebreeding and inbreeding his family – introducing successful outcrosses at strategic times … and getting incredible satisfaction and enjoyment from it.

One of the first key birds for Thede was a winning Ozzie Benger Cockbird – off Tiny Charlton in the North Suburban Club) out of a Ron Eitzen hen, that finished second from Parachilna with only a dozen birds home on raceday.

He also struck gold when Fred Delsar, from North Suburban took an interest in him,  and he was talked into joining to the all- powerful Hampstead club.

When Delsar – a headmaster – was transferred to Port Lincoln he told Thede he had a lot of young birds he wouldn’t be able to race.

Delsar gave him a youngster of the Cooke winner and Wilf Schumann’s Benalla winner, a pair of  Freddy Walsh’s birds, and  a third pair from Vin Blanden’s Alice Springs bloodlines.

He further improved his blood  with birds he purchased from  the sale of Peterhead Club flyer Ron Claese, who died suddenly in has backyard aged  just 39.

The birds included a Wilf Schumann cock – a brother to Schumman’s famous  Plum Hen and a Gits bonhomie Royale hen form Bill Lobb in the Payneham Club.

Thede introduced  his Cousin Grant Patterson to Allen Goodger and within a short time Patterson shifted from Tea Tree Gully  to Hampstead, not frar from where Goodger lived.

When Allen Goodger took ill  and paired up his birds for what said might  be his last year in the sport, he loaned Thede two pigeons that he hadn’t paired up – a full sister to Goodger’s 2ndBooraban and Lot 60, and another off his 2ndOodnadatta.

Thede mixed these birds with his Delsar/Claese blood and had even more success.

When Grant Pstterson had his sale a year after Goodger’s  three birds that weren’t in the loft when his catalogue was put together were gifted to Thede.

They were two brothers to Goodger’s key breeder  51397, and a  brother to Patterson’s 3rd Temora.

And again they added even more vigor to the loft when infused with Thede’s Delsar/Claese birds.

Thede was also lucky to get a bird from the famous hamper of cockbirds  Ray Rowe sent for culling, Thede got the last bird  (a dark chequer with a tic eye) a son of lot 53 and Lot 60 and a brother to John Pryor’s number 1 cockbird  (SA 82 11829).

When Colin Nelson – who’d previously given Thede a number of birds – saw Thede’s bird from the culling basket he described it as the best cockbird bird he’d ever seen and handled.

He borrowed it for three years and bred some outstanding progeny, before it joined Thede’s breeding program and brought more success.

Another prepotent pigeon brought into the loft  by Thede was a Bob Marchant cockbird, down from one of Henry Ford’s top cocks.

The Marchant pigeon had bred  2 birds that finished  2nd and 3rdBenalla, and 2ndTamworth for Boysie Pitt and his Brother.

Other pigeons that have influenced Thede’s success include the blood of  Laurie Maine,, Willie Thiele, Brian Hall, Lindsay Pattinson  and David Cunningham  (Goodger/Pryor, Metcalf /Walford/O’Donnell) via John Kolcheck.

Thede says he has enjoyed the friendships and comraderie he has experienced in his 6 decades in the sport – including Sunday drinks, sandwiches and nibbles with all the Hampstead flyers at Bob Blyth’s place every weekend in the 70’s and 80’s after a race

Thede’s wife Dorothy has been his right hand in the sport, including clocking the birds when he was playing football in his younger days.

He also flew for nine years in partnership with his Ron Heuchan  – his wife’s late father – in the 80’s.

However he admits with advancing years, the time required and rising costs it’s getting harder each year to continue in the sport.

He says he’s greatly indebted to Rob Bevan and Peter Pollard who are helping him with his driving requirements including getting to the club or SAHPA hall, and transporting his birds for training or racing, particularly at night.

FOOTNOTE: Success for Alan Thede’s helpers … Rob Bevan won the 2021 SAHPA Lyndhurst Derby.

And Peter Pollard finished 4th SAHPA in the Glendambo Open.