About Berenice - brief biography

Berenice often said "I can't imagine life without dingoes."

17 February 1928 – 4th April 2002


The first word she spoke as a toddler was 'doggy' and her childhood revolved around animals but, particularly, horses and dogs. A visit to the zoo only meant one thing - Dingoes. She was fascinated by them. In high school when required to do an essay about any topic she chose the subject of her passion - the Dingo. She soon discovered when researching her subject there was nothing available. Forty years later she stated "and there's still nothing."

After she married in 1951 the couple moved to Bargo and became leading breeders of Australian Cattle dogs, a breed with Dingo infusion. They successfully competed in conformation shows as well as obedience and agility competitions but Berenice never lost her love of Australia's native dog.

It was about 1969 when she first started to find out more about trying to get permission to keep a Dingo. She was faced with the fact that the Dingo was declared a noxious animal that had to be eradicated - keeping a Dingo was illegal.

She believed that the Dingo could be trained in not only obedience but also agility and as a working dog. Gathering likeminded people, she formed the Australian Native Dog Training Society who successfully trained several Dingoes. However, there were other battles to fight on behalf of the Dingo.

As Berenice came to know and understand the Dingo better she began campaigning on its behalf. She fought and cajoled government authorities over the use of traps and poison in the cruel war aimed at its eradication; to have it acknowledged as a native of Australia and accepted as the national dog and to allow Dingoes to be kept under a restricted permit scheme so the general public could be educated about the Dingo.

As the focus of the society became one of conservation and understanding, it was renamed the Australian Native Dog Conservation Society. Berenice convinced then Premier, Neville Wran as well as Senators Tony Mulvihill and Neville Bonner to become the society's patrons.

Having gained government recognition and acknowledgement for the society Berenice transformed her property from a cattle dog kennel into a Dingo sanctuary where the general public were allowed to visit and meet over 30 Dingoes there. They also maintained a breeding program of purebred Dingo for zoos and participated in DNA research to enable the development of a method of easily identifying purebred Dingoes.

Berenice successfully published three books about the Dingo and presented evidence to the Azaria Chamberlain enquiry.