For those that still retain the late Vin Blanden birds, here is an edited letter written to the late E A (Ted) Stevens (PRF President) in late 1974 to early 1975.

Vin writes to Ted. "Here is the origin of my strain. The pigeons mentioned hereinafter are those on which the original family was based.

(1)  Blue chequer cock "Bonnie" bred by A Rawson out of the famous "Wolari" and "Bona" pair. This pair was the parents of the great "Black Diamond" which founded the Kennett strain. "Bonnie" was given to my late brother out of the nest in 1917 (I was then 5 years old). Wolari was mainly Royal and Bona was a granddaughter of S M Evans "89", believed by many to be the best pigeon ever to come to Australia. "89" was a son of C26 x 176 bred by Mons Gits in 1889 from a son of the noted "C" Cock. 176 was by a Janssens Cock out of a Logan hen which was of the Mausta Mealy "Old 86" blood.

Wolari and Bona were very similarly bred to the original Harrison stock pair. The Dam of Bona was all Orchardson's 27 and 28 Bonami blood.

(2)  Blue Chequer hen "Royal", bred by A E Hall and was all the Royal blood of the birds presented to the City of Adelaide out of the Royal Lofts by the Grandfather of our Queen. (Queen Elizabeth II). At that time (1900) the Royals were mainly Duchateau, Jurion, Janssens, Vanderhaegen, Gits and Delmotte.

(3)  Mealy Cock Harrison/Jurion bred by Carl and Harry Bessen, importers of many fine birds from Europe. Now, a son of Bonnie was mated to the Royal hen to produce BCH which we will call "A". The mealy Harrison Jurion cock mated with the same Royal hen produced BCH which we will call "B".

A BCC Debue (Logan) was paired to "B" to produce a BBC "D". This cock then paired to "A" produced 684 BBC, the cock bird of our "Gawler Pair".

In 1928, a RCC 1393 SAA 23-4 (then 5 years old) strayed into my brothers loft. The particular ring was one that could be purchased out of a Rundle Street bird shop and of which no register was kept. Despite all our attempts to locate the owner, including S M Evans himself, who did not live far away from me at the time, we failed. 1393 was a magnificent bird and I brought him home from my brother's loft and decided to breed a pair from him.

I mated him with a BBH, which I called the "Bendigo" Hen. Her sire was 27, 28 Bonami Cock bred by Evans and her dam was a daughter of "Bonnie". I got a RCC, sire and grandsire etc of many fine winners and a RCH 1249 which was the hen of our "Gawler Pair". Thus 684 and 1249 became, in my opinion, the best producing pair ever in South Australia. They were paired for 13 years and failed to produce one dud. Every one of their youngsters produced winners. When my brother died in 1946 I mated a mealy cock, one of the best sons of 684 x 1249 to his BBH full sister. Both birds were then 13 years old and I got three youngsters 20007 BBH, 20013 MH, and 20014 BBC. These proved to be as good as their parents and others from 684 and 1249.

In the meantime, 1393 was used until he died at 19 years and my present family are inbred mainly from this "Old Red Stray" as he became known. For instance, "Kalgoorlie Girl" carries 42 crosses of 1393. This then was the principle base of the family.

Other additions included S M Evans Logan from the six imported Logans about 1900 made by I Taylor, the father of H A Taylor or Jurion fame. Jurion (The Whitfield blood) a Gurnay x Jurion hen and later still 896, which was a great producer. She was a Bricoux Janssen x Stassart. Getting back to the birds you procured from me, all are inbred to 1393, all carry the Gurnay x Jurion and the "Whitfield", some of the Bricoux Janssen x Stassart.

Now, BBC 20014 mated to 896 gave me 7320 BBC, 6086 BCH. (Dam of Henrietta) 7334 BBPH (Dam of Ray Nesbitt's (snr) 3485) and 7335 BCC. All are parents, grandparents, etc of hundreds of winners. At the last count, no fewer than 9 x 1st SAHPA winners are down from 7320 alone!

Historian Note 1980:  To this point (half way) is verbatim, word for word, and is where I must leave it. Among many others, Ted has 22456, son of 7320 and 10772 grandson of 7320, Bert Sampson's foundation cock 23725, in turn, is on both sides of Alf Gray's 1979 Newman winner 1050km timed 6.00pm on the 2nd day. On one side, at the same level, is 3485 and the Nesbitt Blanden. All good strains have something romantic about them and to close I go back to the letter:

I cannot tell you the bloodline of the main bird responsible for my strain (1393 the Old red Stray) because I could never trace him. That he was the main reason for clipping minutes off our flying times there was no doubt. Our family prior to him was good enough to keep us around the place, but as soon as he was introduced, they really started to race home.

Historian note written in 1980:  The mind boggles at the extent of the 684 x 1249 pairing that the remainder of the letter outlines in today's racing (1980) in South Australia and behind them the "Old Red Stray".