Welcome to the official website of the Australian Highland Cattle Society Inc.
Our mission is to preserve heritage, protect integrity and advance Highland Cattle in Australia through herd registration, education, promotion and fellowship.
This site is provided for members of the Australian Highland Cattle Society as well as for members of the public who have an interest in the breed or perhaps have considered joining the society.
Stay up to date with latest AHCS news and events below, or hit Discover to peruse our gallery of resources, event reports and stories.
Our mission is to preserve heritage, protect integrity and advance Highland Cattle in Australia through herd registration, education, promotion and fellowship. We offer a range of memberships that support this mission and Highland Cattle breeders and enthusiasts in Australia.
Highland cattle have a strong and vast history in Australia, dating back to 1829 when the first Highland cattle were imported into Australia by various Scottish migrants. Scroll through our timeline that features the significant events in our Australian history and has led the breed to where it is today.
They came onboard the Sovereign in 1829, imported by Lieutenant Surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson RN, namesake of the town of Braidwood in New South Wales.
Samuel Amess, who made a fortune in the Victorian goldfields and became Mayor of Melbourne in 1869, kept a small fold of black Highland cattle on Churchill Island. It is believed that other cattle were imported into Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania, but as no new blood was introduced, the breed died out.
It is reported that there were Highlanders in the Melbourne Zoo from the 1940’s and two heifers in Cudlee Creek Wildlife Park, South Australia, in 1966.
Many good specimens of Highland cattle remain from the original 1950’s imports (known as the “old cattle”), thanks to the dedication of those early breeders.
Artificial breeding has been the major tool in the development of Highland cattle in this country. No fewer than 20,000 straws of semen from outstanding sires have been collected overseas for use in Australia, and this practice continues today with a few dedicated breeders around the country ensuring new bloodlines are continually being injected into the Herdbook.
In 1975 Mr. and Mrs. John Reid (Trelissick) of Christchurch, New Zealand, imported three cows and one bull into New Zealand.
During the 1980's interest in Highland Cattle blossomed. On 7th of May 1988 some 60 people gathered at a public meeting in Melbourne organised by Allister and Davina Stewart to form the Australian Highland Cattle Society. The Society became an incorporated body in 1990 and by 1994 membership numbers had risen to 204 with approximately 2,000 registrations of Highland cattle of various degrees of purity.
In 2017, thanks to the efforts of AHCS breeders through history, the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia announced that Highland cattle had been removed from its At Risk Watch List and reclassified as a Recovering Breed. Today, there are over 250 members across Australia and nearly 10,000 animals have been registered in the Herdbook since 1975.