The aim of this park was to establish captive breeding programs for some of the threatened Australian and exotic parrots and cockatoos. Prior to establishing the bird park, I was a breeder of Australian black cockatoos. During this time, I was credited with the 1st breeding in captivity of the White-tail Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus funerus latirostris. At the bird park in 1974, I was credited with the 1st breeding in captivity of the Red-browed Fig Parrot, Psittaculirostris diopthalma; this was one of Australia’s rarest parrots.
In 1978 our family sold the bird park and returned to NSW. In 1986 I was asked by Lord Alistair McAlpine of London to put together a collection of Australian and exotic birds for his new Zoo that he was establishing in Broome, Western Australia. This task became a real challenge that involved organising and shipping birds to this remote part of Australia. It was not long before I was asked to meet Lord McAlpine at his hotel in Sydney, and at this meeting I was asked to take up the position of curator of birds at the zoo in Broome. I was given 24 hours to make up my mind and was also told that I would be expected to take up that position within two weeks. After frantic discussions with my wife and family we packed up, sold our home and moved to Broome, Western Australia.
The first three years in Broome were difficult, to say the least. Once I had set up the bird keeping staff to the way I wanted things done and the construction crew had finished all 300 aviaries, it was time to start setting up our breeding programs. From 1986 to 1990, many species of birds and animals arrived at the zoo. Lord McAlpine was very involved in captive breeding and species management programs and a number of species were bred for the first time. One of these was the Australian Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi. In 1988 I was made Director of the Zoo and was responsible for 39 staff, 1500 birds and 150 mammals. In 1993 my family and I moved back to NSW to concentrate on the captive breeding of Eclectus Parrots.
My son David and I developed the Aviculture breeding and research centre at Bonville, NSW from 1993 to 2000. Here we bred many parrot and cockatoo species for the aviculture industry. Species housed at Bonville were New Guinea Eclectus, Vosmaer’s Eclectus, Grand Eclectus, Australian Eclectus, Red Lory, Chattering Lory, Janday Conure, Sun Conure, Peach-fronted Conure, Nanday Conure, Monk Parrot, Blue & Gold Macaw, Golden-shouldered Parrot, Hooded Parrot, Northern Rosella, Naretha Blue Bonnet, Plumheaded Parrot, Derbyan Parrot, Slatyhead Parrot, Alexandrine Parrot, Red-browed Fig Parrot, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, and the Kimberley Red Collared Lorikeet. In 2000 the family decided to retire from business so the bird collection and business was sold.
In October 2000 I decided to write a book on a species of parrot that has been an important part of my life. This, of course, was the Eclectus Parrot. In 2003, the book entitled, “Eclectus Parrots An Experience” was published and sold around the world. The 2014 second edition is now aviallable for download !