I think I am on pretty safe ground in saying that, without a doubt, Harry Lague would be the most successful fancier in Western Australia in the post war period up to the present day (December 1979). His record during that period is colossal and as the President of the Pigeon Racing Federation of Western Australia Mr E (Ted) A Stevens at the Amalgamated Homing Club 1977 Annual Social said, "Harry's record could be the best in Australia".
Harry commenced his career in Kalgoorlie in 1936 where he flew until joining the army in 1939. After the war he settled in Perth and recommenced with birds a fellow fancier looked after for him whilst Harry was absent on war service.
The basis of his loft was birds of the old Alf Low "Harrison" family through Mr Ernie Ludlow and a long-faced Harrison from Mr Ted (Cut-throat) Norton of Kalgoorlie. These were top quality pigeons and combine really well together. From these birds Mr Lague developed his Combine Derby family, Smokey Family and his Combine '100' Family. In fact the Combine Derby Family and the '100' Family came down off the same sire through two different hens.
In latter years an introduction of a bird from his friend of many years Mr Arthur Ellis of Mount Lawley proved successful. This bird was of the line which won the long distance race from Cocklebiddy for Arthur. If I remember correctly this line goes back to the old black soffle line of George Mears. One bred off this introduction mated back into Harry's is producing some excellent pigeons.
One pair of note of the Combine Derby Family were Blue Bar Cock 6475 W.A.D. 60 and Blue Bar Hen 6509 W.A.D.60. The dam of 6509 was of the old Low "Harrison" family. 6475 and 6509 were a wonderful pair of stock birds and bred winner after winner.
Harry's excellent performances can best be illustrated by quoting the Flyer of the Year Competition which was introduced in 1964. In the 16 years he was 1st six times and 2nd, 3rd and 4th in three other years. No doubt if one was to check the first ten positions each year they would find Harry Lague's name mentioned a few more times. In the season just finished he was 5th which is still excellent in a Federation that has approximately 180 members.
In order to give you some idea how consistent this flyer is in 1964 he won the Flyer of the Year Competition yet he only got a 4th (Fed Young Bird Derby) in Federation placing for the year. (Note: in W.A. members may only take one position in Federation races and in most club races).
In 1965 he took out 3rd, 6th, 2nd (Single Bird Championship) 4th, 3rd, and a 1st. The first was from Rawlinna 560 miles approximately and Harry timed in at approx. 8 a.m. on the second day. By 10.45 a.m. there were still only 5 birds home in the Federation - the position improved after that. The winning pigeon was another of the Combine Derby Family.
His Combine/Federation wins since 1947 to the end of 1979 season total ten (10) and he has been in the first four places a further twenty five times and again in the money another 16 times.
One of the races won was the City of Stirling Centenary race in 1971. This race was from Rawlinna 560 miles. Harry won this race with B.B.H. 10991 PRF 68. This hen went on to be a top breeder for Harry and she is dam of his 1977 Mt Newman winner. Mt Newman is 1030km.
The Club positions won by this flyer are too numerous to attempt to quote. However I would like to refer to his Club Winner from Caiguna 900km in 1978. This was won with a magnificent R.C.H bred in 1976. Her dam is from his Combine Derby family and the sire contains the Arthus Ellis "Mt Newman" blood. In the previous year this hen won a 5th, then was second from Cue 535km after escaping from the trap and she still took all pools.
The late Mr Alan Pearce, who as a friend and staunch fan of Harry Lague, when quoting Harry Lague's performance remarked "How do you beat him?" We agree with this tribute. Congratulations Harry on a job well done.
A. L. Sampson
143 Samson Street
Hilton W.A. 6163