By Leon Lam

Allen Goodger is a household name in Australian Pigeon racing.

He got his first birds at 16 … and when he died in 1984 at just 52 years of age he was recognised as one of the best breeders and flyers in the sport.

Goodger was considered a good flyer from short to middle distance until he was gifted a Blue Chequer Hen (SA 64 16016) by his good friend Colin Elliott which was to become the famous “Elliott Hen”

The Elliott Hen was clocked and placed two years in a row from Finke (1100kms) and this was when Goodger realized the little hen was worth breeding from.

The Elliott Hen made such an impact that Goodger was soon recognised as a true all-round pigeon flyer.

Infact more than 30 children off the Elliott Hen were producers of quality racing pigeons.

Through friendships with other influential flyers Goodger was able to infuse the Elliott Hen with birds from Vin Blanden, Henry Ford, Harold Webber, Arnold Smallacombe, Bruce Baulderstone and Bill Verco.

She was mainly Pape/Blanden Blood and helped Goodger write a huge chapter in Australian pigeon racing history

Infact her DNA has now been dominant in Australia Pigeon Racing for more than 50 years.

She was out of a top Vic Pape Cockbird bred by Victoria’s Fred Williams from a son of Pape’s top stock pair and an Alice Springs winning hen from Vin Blanden

The Elliott Hen’s most famous offspring included two of her grand-daughters (13716) bred in 1968 and placed second in the SAHPA from Oodnadatta (870 kilometres), and a 1971 bred hen (22703) that won Cook on the second day over a distance of 880kms kilometres.

Another outstanding granddaughter of the Elliott hen was Grant Paterson’s Reference-C (SA 76 9580) which bred many top producers.

Grant Paterson was Allen Goodger’s cousin.

This bird’s (SA 76 9580) best two daughters SA 82 12143 BCH and its nest mate SA 82 12144 BCPH went on to breed many top pigeons and are in the pedigrees of over 20 Association winners for Ron and Graham Eitzson, Dean Venables, Bob and Judy Billings, Bob Caird and Wayne Myers, Peter Burke and Leon Lam.

SA 82 12143 had the Elliott Hen 9 times in her pedigree and three of her sons and two daughters produced SAHPA winners.

She was a champion breeder for both Jon O’Donnell and Leon Lam.

One of 12143’s daughters was the key Red Chequer Hen (pictured below) that lived to 23 years of age and became a major foundation hen.

Her Sire, the mealy cockbird (SA 82 24780) – Shown below at 21 years of age- was an outstanding producer of champion birds for many flyers. He was a Son of Alan Brown’s (Old Dolly lines Gits original) Champion Red Pied Hen and Kevin Elliott’s Goodger Cock (Son of Ref B 13716 Allan Goodger Sale.

Leon lent several Goodger-based birds to another prominent flyer Max Taylor.

One of those, SA 01 18050, bred many good East Line and distance pigeons for Max and also helped him produce his four-winner hen and win the SAHPA aggregate points.

Two of 18050’s daughters produced great distance pigeons for Greg Hamilton.

One hen bred 3rd and 4th Association Wilcannia, landing with the winner.

Two of 18050’s sisters were highly successful for fellow SA flyer Allan Brown, one winning 14 races and the other 9, helping Allan finish in the top five SAHPA placings in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The ability of these birds to keep breeding quality pigeons in current racing is amazing

Allen Goodger dind’t mind close matings and both of the Elliott Hen’s champion granddaughters subesquently appeared together in the pedigrees of many of his birds.

The Oodnadatta placed (SA 68 13716) became the Breeding Jewel of the Goodger loft.

(* FROM Allen Goodger’s catalogue)

Pigeons from her or her prodgeny included –

* SA 74 44235 (Ace Breeding Hen for Bill Walford) dam to 34 SAHPA

placegetters, sired by SA 68 13718 champion son of the Elliott Hen.

*SAD 71 22703 1st Cook SAHPA.

* SA 75 43549 Ace Breeding Cock for Victoria’s John Van Beers. Sire of SA 76 51397

*SA 78 1593 Ace Breeding Hen Lot 60.

*SA 70 16063 1ST Tarcoola SAHPA

*SA 77 41299 1ST Nundroo – Ace Breeding hen.

*SA 81 494 Ace Breeding Hen Bill Walford.

*SA 68 13661 Great Grand Sire of the $1900 cock, and his grandson SA 77 17442 is a son of the Cook winner and Jack Metcalf’s Alice Springs winner.

*SA 79 84 Champion producer for Grant Paterson

*SA 91 40730 (Pictured above) — Inbred son of SA 79 84 and a top producing mate of super hen 12143.

PTL 84 1062 known as The Port Lincoln Cock.

* SA 07 24720 inbred grandson of the Port Lincoln Cock, a champion sire for Leon Lam, had 5 crosses of the Port Lincoln Cock in its pedigree, was the grandson of Grant Patterson’s Temora winner, and produced an SAHPA winner of its own, and several top placegetters.

*SA 76 51397 known as The Power of One hen

Another of the key breeding Goodger cockbirds (pictured below) was the $1900 cock (SA 76 9548) – Lot 51 at Allen Goodger’s Sale.

The brother to Grant Paterson’s reference-C brought top price at the sale and was a key to Allan Goodger’s long-term success.

His father SA 69 13279 was a grandson of the Elliott Hen and his mother, SA 71 22674, who finished 6th SAHPA Morundah, was a half sister to the champion cockbird 13661. The mother was also a daughter of the Elliott Hen.

In summary the $1900 cock was inbred to the Elliott Hen, which is why so many Goodger enthusiasts wanted the cockbird.

It was also the grandsire of John Pryor’s Number 1 cock SA 82 11829.

There are many others but these birds mentioned have been responsible for keeping Alllen Goodger’ s name alive.

The power of the Elliott Hen and her prepotent female descendants shows the value of Mitochondrial DNA that can only be passed on through the female line.

If you look at nature the Queen Bee is the producer in the bee hive.

In the Elliott Hen’s case she was the rarest of rare – a ‘Queen Pigeon”.

She carried a super mitochondria dna which enabled her to continue producing champions – and become the best breeding hen in South Australian racing pigeon history.

She carried the DNA of some of the best long distance lines and inherited the right qualities to produce quality birds, and was also a cousin to Vin Blanden’s Kalgoolie Girl – the first racing pigeon to fly from Kalgoolie to Adelaide (1600kms).

She and many of her progeny had great construction, muscles, feathering and the power and will to fly.

Charles Darwin talks about natural selection and about the survival of the fittest.

I believe that the science of breeding to the mitochondria DNA is the key to livestock development.

The Elliott Hen is responsible for more than 100 SAHPA winners and top-placed Alice Springs birds.

Allen Goodger had 8 Association Winners while club-mate John Pryor – who had many Goodger-based birds – had 18 association Winners.

Pryor’s famous prepotent cockbird SA 82 11829 was a son of Goodger’s lot 53 AND 60 -producing more than 30 SAHPA winners or placegetters, while Charlie Forbe’s Nocktunga and Inglewood winners SA 88 00582, and SA 93 28079 were also Goodgers.

Other flyers who had success with progeny from this Goodger line include Con Moukas (Champion breeding hen SA 86 24405)

Grant Patterson – Goodger’s cousin – (Champion Breeding Hen – the Power of One SA 76 51397 and Champion Cockbird PTL 84 1062)

The influence of Allen Goodger’s Elliott Hen is certainly going to carry on in years to come due the fact that many Australian flyers who have them fly well with them.

The family of Goodger-based birds are very reliable and small to medium size.

They have a strong resistance to diseases and thrive with solid training.

On an overcast windy day, or with tail winds you can count on a Goodger pigeons to pop up.

They are very strong in construction and have plenty of muscles.

Their will-power and heart are other key attributes that keep this family of pigeons in the winners circle.