Australia's First Abyssinians

The first five Abyssinians to arrive in NSW came early in 1959. Finisterre Casim a male and FINISTERRE SHERADA a female, were from New Zealand. They were consigned to Mrs J Thurmer of South Australia, but due to some problem, were collected and held in Sydney for several weeks before continuing to Adelaide. At one time they were actually in Taronga Zoo on exhibition.

Despite their wanderings when they settled with Mrs Thurmer they proved to be a good breeding pair and produced the first registered Abyssinian litter in Australia (they were later sold to a Victorian breeder, and continued to produce prolifically).

The other three imports at that time were FINISTERRE THALIA, CHATWYN NIMROD and HARMONY TARA.

The owner of the Chatwyn prefix (U.K.) had emigrated to New Zealand taking one or two Abys continuing to breed for a short time only.

However the Chatwyn prefix was correct for Nimrod, who was imported into NSW to Mrs Valerie Tchan of Narara. HARMONY TARA, imported directly from the U.K. by Mrs Elsie Outram was a daughter of a Chatwyn cat, so there was an existing relationship with Nimrod. Thalia was also related to the other two.

Champion Finisterre Thalia to give her correct title, was shown consistently in this state, and mothered the first NSW kittens in 1960. She was a very good breeding female and her first litter to Nimrod was excellent. She was imported by Mrs Beatrice Donmall to her Mystic cattery in Camden from Mrs Curran of New Zealand. She had excellent ticking, fairly good colour. Her coat was extremely thick and short and she had no bars, stripes or necklace. Perhaps she could have had slightly larger ears and more length of body, but these slight shortcomings were offset in her kittens by Nimrod's assets.

Photo of the first litter born in 1960 in NSW.
Dam: Ch Finisterr Thalia (imp NZ)
Sire:  Ch Chatwyn Naimrod (imp NZ)

Photo suplied with thanks from
Mrs B.Donmall

CHAMPION CHATWYN NIMROD was always a beautiful Abyssinian, both in appearance and temperament. I would pitch him against any of his present-day descendents and believe he would beat them. He has fathered some very lovely kittens, many of the best unshown in NSW, but reaping fame and fortune in Victoria and U.S.A. Nimrod had fine length of body and head and rich colouring. His shape and size made him an excellent stud. He was not large or coarse in any way and he was a very quiet cat.

CHAMPION HARMONY TARA travelled from her English cattery by boat with her owner, Mrs Elsie Outram. She arrived in NSW in June 1959 and so was the last of the imports that year, but the first one to come direct from the United Kingdom. After two months at the quarantine station, she eventually took up residence in Chatswood, where she produced a litter of four kittens to Chatwyn Nimrod. Tara was the Abyssinian responsible for both the darker kittens we had in NSW and the richest in colouring.

She seemed to have always gone to the extreme a great deal of colour or not sufficient. She had a nervous temperament and was very restless at shows emitting blood curdling howls the entire journey to and from the venues. Her coat was dark with a distinct spine-line, but was also short and sleek, she was a dainty, typey Abyssinian.

Her son, KONGSI ABU HERMES, won the Shorthair Cat of the Year in 1962.

From Thalia's first litter to Nimrod, a male cat Champion Mystic arabi faud went to be mated to Tara and from that first litter to Nimrod, KONGSI ABU HAJI went to be mated to Thalia. From Thalia's first litter a female CHAMPION MYSTIC ARABI FAWZIA, took up residence with Mrs I Donahee of Bankstown, shortly to be mated to GRACEFUL ASHANTO, a very well coloured male Abyssinian which Mrs Donahee imported from the United Kingdom about 1961.

These first three imports together with Ashanto formed the backbone of the early Abyssinians in NSW.

E.Outram 1967. (updated Dec.1999 )



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