Born in Katyil in Western Victoria he grew up with his six sisters on a cropping farm at Natimuk. At aged 19 he enlisted and served in Darwin with the 19th Machine Gun Battalion who engaged in combat with the Japanese air force.
In 1944 he returned home to the family farm, met and married Gwen and lived at Wyn Wyn.
After a long wait they finally received a settlement block at Drung where they farmed for 42 years, dairy farming and raised their family. Here Frank became a self taught vet called on many times by other farmers to assist with animal husbandry. In 1960 they formed the Arawyn Jersy Stud which was active until 1997.
Frank was president of the Milk Society in 1976 where he one a huge fight to save the dairy industry in the area after the Minister for Agriculture wanted to close dairying at Drung.
He was president of Wimmera Legacy, the Laurel Club and the 19th Machine Gunners Darwin Defenders Association. He was a member of Horsham Agricultural Siciety, the Jersey Society, the Aviculture Society as well as Patron of our own club.
All through the years he was dedicated to breeding good Koolies and had a great reputation for producing great working dogs. His lines will continue with family keeping the dogs after Frank and Gwen retired into town and continuing on his breeding.
Frank Kelm bred Koolies and from Koolie bloodlines dating back over eighty years.
In 2005 the Koolie club of Australia was fortunate to have Frank Kelm graciously accept the position of Patron and add his personal thoughts on Koolies in our video interview for our historical records.
Here is his story.
Frank was a dairy farmer for 42 years.
As a child living in Japarit in Victorias North West, Frank first saw Koolie pups when his uncle gave one to his father which turned out to be not a bad little dog.
Over the years Frank was to get quite a lot of good Koolies from over Japarit way.
Frank got a male from Hopetoun which sired many a good litter.
Bowser sired the renowned Nelsons Bluey, a famous Koolie Australia wide.
All his Koolies were bred from the McGenniskens bloodlines.
Frank always bred for working Koolies with strong blue merle colours, one blue eye, pricked ears and a short coat.
It was Franks practice that if he had a dog that was giving you the results you were after you pretty much used him until he was a grandfather.
Frank also understood the need to occasionally introduce other bloodlines, “It’s no good sticking to one line all the time you have to branch out or white pups become a problem.”
No one ever questioned a dogs linage or background, their only interest was if the dog worked and if it did then they would breed on with it.
In his time of breeding Frank feels that the Koolies in the area have bred true to type and have not changed overly much since his first sighting as a child. Breeders in the area followed Franks lead and bred from good Koolie types and good working dogs only.
Frank’s Koolies are much in demand and sort after for every type of work situation, from trucks to stations, he has sent his pups all over Australia, – to Tasmania and across to New Zealand.
Franks Red male sired his only full blue Merle litter.
In July 2006 the committee of the Koolie Club of Australia was delighted to spend a day with Frank and his family at his home at Horsham in Western Victoria. It was our pleasure to present to him a certificate of our appreciation naming him has Patron of The Koolie Club of Australia. The day was a great success with the Barbecue stoked up and a few hours of good koolie fellowship to celebrate a great Koolie breed.