Welcome to Malung Jack Russell Terriers
Erica Wilkens with Mahkoolma Jack Moschata "Skeeta" and her son Malung Murmar "Brad".
March 2015, Erica Wilkens left us to be reunited with all her lovely Jack
Russell Terriers at Rainbow Bridge. She will be greatly missed and never
forgotten by the Jack Russell Terrier breeders and lovers all over the
world. The legacy of the Malung Jack Russell Terriers will live on forever.
Thanks to friends we can have a chance to have a peak at her lovely dogs.
Thanks to Jane Fall for starting the website, Tara Collier for all her work and everyone who sent in information too.
For Dog News Australia Magazine by Denise Humphries
Erica was the grand old lady of Jack Russell Terriers.
Erica was a founding breeder of ANKC registered Jack Russell Terriers in Australia. Her involvement with the breed predates ANKC recognition and began in the early 1970s when she gave a Manx kitten to a farmer friend who bred JRT and who would not accept payment. In return he gave her a Jack Russell Terrier, a grandson of some of the early imports from UK to Victoria in the 1960s.
Erica was an early member of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia whose register was used as the development register for the ANKC stud book, and its main interest is still in working Jack Russell Terriers. Erica registered Malung Kennels with them in 1975.
Erica and her Jack Russell Terriers were active participants in fox drives with the Club in the Western District of Victoria and she never lost sight of the working characteristics of the breed.
It was natural that Erica would become a breeder of Jack Russells as she was a very successful breeder of horses and stud sheep. Ironically, Erica's maiden name was Russell - a sheep breeding family who took up vast tracts across the Western District and established Wurrook, one of Victoria’s largest and oldest merino studs.
It wasn’t long before a couple more JRT were obtained and the first Malung pups were born.
In 1988 she bred a litter that contained four JRT known as the Famous Four for their influence on the breed, Ch. Malung Orinoco, Ch. Malung Jim Beam, Ch. Malung Laird of Joyreve and the female of the litter Ch. Malung Niniane Swynford.
When Pam and Curly Sullivan (Baylock) married, Erica gave them a JRT as a wedding gift - Malung Jim Beam. The Sullivans had long involvement with ANKC breeds and they were active in gaining ANKC recognition for JRT. Ch. Malung Jim Beam was used as the blueprint for the breed standard.
ANKC recognition of the JRT coincided with the death of Erica's husband, Hank, and she threw herself into dog shows, travelling the State to show and promote the newly recognized breed.
Erica bred the first Jack Russell Terrier to become an Australian Champion and also the first Best in Show All Breeds' winner among her dozens of champions, specialty and Royal winners, and willingly shared her bloodlines with those she thought would 'do the right thing' by the breed .Malung dogs can be found behind most of the JRT in Australia and she exported dogs throughout the world. To the end, Erica had an encyclopaedic memory of JRT and pedigrees.
Outside the dog world, Erica led a remarkable life.
She was an accomplished horsewoman, being placed 3 times in Australia's premiere Turnout event for female riders - The Garryowen. However, the win that gave Erica the most pride was the Esquire at the Melbourne Royal as in that event, although judged on the same criteria as the Garryowen, contestants have to ride their own horse. She also trained for the 1956 Olympics.
Her husband Hank was a dressage rider and together they instructed and competed. With Hank and later her son, Andrew, she bred Ryeland stud sheep and although in recent years she no longer lived on her property she retained an interest in her sheep until the end, attending the Geelong Show each year.
Erica was gracious, but like her chosen breed she was workman-like, bold, friendly, confident, but also fiercely competitive, independent and somewhat rebellious.
After finishing school she went jillarooing in the Northern Territory much to the displeasure of her family as, at that time, girls with her privileged upbringing just did not do that!
In 1949, aged 23, she and a 'horse' friend purchased a truck, loaded 9 horses and drove across the Nullabor, in those days an unmade road, to compete at Perth Royal -successfully.
Erica was awarded life membership of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Victoria in recognition of the role she played in the development of the breed.