By Pat Streefkerk, with assistance from Pam Newton

There appears to be some confusion amongst newer members in relation to the history and development of the various Donkey Societies within Australia.

The first Society was formed in 1972 as the Australian and New Zealand Donkey Breed Society.
People had started to seek donkeys as pets, and large numbers started to be trucked down from areas such as the Kimberleys. These were sold through dealers and horse markets. This Society was formed to cater for all the new donkey owners, and to prevent the cruelty that was occurring in the transporting of these donkeys. Finally Legislation was achieved in 1978 to prevent these huge road trains bringing donkeys down south under such inhumane conditions. By 1978 there were some 660 members Australia wide. There were over 2400 donkeys registered by 1981 and close to 100 studs.

By 1973 a Stud Book had started for these Australian donkeys, which over the years have developed into a distinctive type and size. As they were all of a similar type and size, there was no need for height or type categories, just colour. At this point, there had been no donkeys imported since about the 1930’s when trucks took over the role of the teams of
donkeys in the outback. Before that, there had been a number of imports of large and Mammoth jacks to keep the size up for the teams of donkeys and to breed mules.

By 1975, New Zealand had formed their own Society. As branches had formed in most Australian states by then, the name changed to the Australian Donkey Breed Society. Later the Australian States became independent, Incorporated bodies and formed the Affiliated Donkey Societies of Australia as it stands today, with the plan to cover Registration
and the magazine, Donkey Digest, on a national basis.

There are affiliated Societies in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia. Individuals from New South Wales and Tasmania are welcome to join the Donkey Society Of Victoria.

Each state branch organises its own activities and newsletter and there is a phone hook-up organised by the Administrator of the ADSA between the state branches every 2 years.

Around the mid 70’s there also started the import of English and Irish donkeys by people wishing to introduce these types, and particularly to achieve broken colour in donkeys. They were welcome in the established Stud Book, but in 1976 also formed the English/Irish Donkey Society and set up their own Stud Book for reference. Many people were members of both,
as they complemented each other and kept a record of these imported donkeys.

Early in the 2000’s there were also Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys now being imported and some people were dissatisfied with the ADSA registration system and the English/Irish Society became the Donkey All Breeds Society of Australia and set up a new registry to include all breeds. There were now Mammoths and part mammoths since the import of the first Mammoth Jack in 1999, the first for some 70 years. This is a completely separate group from the original Affiliated Donkey Societies of Australia.

This registry overlaps with the existing Affiliated Donkey Societies of Australia Registration system, which does now also allow for size and type in a computerised version, and this causes some confusion among new members.