John Kelly, patriarch of Australia's high-ranking Newhaven Park, died on Feb. 22 at age 86. A highly-respected figure in the Australian Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry, Kelly had been ill for several years.
Kelly founded the famous Newhaven Park Stud, Boorowa, in southern New South Wales in 1942. The family-owned property was previously restricted to sheep and cattle. Newhaven's influence has been maintained for many decades with a succession of high class stallions from Wilkes and his son Vain, and through Boucher, Luskin Star, Imperial Prince, Marauding and Zeditave. Newhaven Park's position as a state leader overcame geographical constraints as the nursery is located 700 miles from Australia's main breeding center in the Hunter Valley.
Newhaven Park was launched on the stock exchange as a public company in the 1980s. To enable the family to buy largely back the stud and set it up as a stallion station, the majority of its broodmares were sold for AUS$7.7million in 1996. One of Australia's biggest stud dispersal sales saw Newhaven consolidate its stud operations and allowed Kelly's sons, Richard and Fred, to expand the family's hotel interests into one of the most successful chains in the state. Newhaven is managed by his grandson, John Kelly Jr.