Taunton Vale History
Kent Johnston is a third-generation horseman at Taunton Vale in the south-west of Western Australia.
The Dardanup property was purchased by Kent’s grandfather Harold Johnston in the 1950s and covered 640 acres (258 ha). His sons Ian & Jock split the original block – Ian subdivided his land and Jock dairy-farmed his share from 1953 to 1978.
Jock, his wife Marion and their children Kent, Harley, Tracey and Cynda were also heavily involved in equestrian pursuits. He was part of a group that founded the Bunbury Horseman’s Club and was also a committeeman of the Bunbury Race Club. Both organizations would later make him a Life Member.
Jock’s horsemanship had him in demand all over the state judging at rural shows and pony clubs. Horses were a major focus and the family were involved in polo, polocrosse, hunting, judging, hacking, racing and breeding.
When Kent was 17, he travelled to the Eastern States and worked at Chatsworth House in Victoria, Lake Elphinstone Station in Queensland and Widden Stud in NSW.
It was at Widden that Kent developed his passion for thoroughbreds. At that time, it was home to champion stallions like Vain, Bletchingly & Lunchtime. The skills he learned while spending time with the Stud’s experienced and successful horsemen remains a part of him to the present day.
Like his father, Kent is heavily involved with the horse community at the Dardanup Equestrian Centre which is home to the Henty Riding Club, Dardanup Horse & Pony Club, Dardanup Campdraft Association, Australian Stockhorse Society (South-West Branch) and Commonwealth Clydesdales Society (WA Branch).
Kent and his wife Nina and their children Drew (9) & Anya (5) live in Taunton Vale’s historic homestead that was built in 1886. His eldest daughter Pia Steers is a fourth-generation Johnston working in the equestrian industry. She travels the country with her husband Dan and they return to Dardanup every year to share their skills as a part of the Double Dan Horsemanship Team.