Fred, his pigeons and a prestigious honour

Fred Frendo with his award-winning pigeon. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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A recent win at the Sydney Royal Easter Show has proven Orchard Hills local Fred Frendo to be Australia’s best in pigeon showing, taking out Champion Fancy Pigeon with a breed he’s never shown before.

Frendo has been interested in pigeons from a young age, having had them now for 43 years.

“I was young, and I’d seen these pigeons being let out to fly around, and I thought, ‘Gee, they’re pretty smart birds. You let them out, and then they come back!’,” he said.

Frendo said there was a particular influential figure in his life who first encouraged him to join a club and take the industry seriously.

“I caught a pigeon that belonged to somebody, and I found out who owned it, and he got me into showing,” he said.

This set him off to create an empire, with over 100 pigeons now at his home. He says he’s the best in Australia, and has a few major career highlights to prove it.

“We had a 100th year show that I went to, and there were 1700 pigeons there, and I got the best bird of the show. To win best bird of the show out of 1700 pigeons, I thought that was quite an achievement,” he said.

“I’ve also judged overseas. In England, one of their biggest shows had 2400 pigeons, so I thought that was a huge highlight!”

Fred Frendo with his award-winning pigeon. Photo: Melinda Jane.

As for what it takes to become one of the best, taking out both minor and major awards year-round, Frendo said there are a few factors.

“My birds, because I’ve developed them over the years, they’re very close to the standard, and I do very well,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things that you’ve got to look at – the feather quality, the cleanliness of the bird, there’s got to be no lice on them. They have to be prepared for show!”

One of the shows he regularly competes at is the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The Pigeon section of the Poultry competition disappeared after 2016 and reappeared in 2022, with Fred being one of the most successful exhibitors since its return.

Frendo said he was thrilled to have taken out a few major prizes this year, including Champion Fancy Pigeon with his Australian Showpen Homer Pigeon, which was a shock to him, given it was the first time he’d shown this specific breed.

“It was really good to win that, because it was the very first time I ever showed that breed, and to win best bird of the show was great,” he said.

“I expected maybe to win with my other breed, but not with this breed!”

As for what’s next for Frendo, he said he has a few exciting things lined up for the rest of 2024 – including getting even more Penrith locals involved in the sphere.

“I’m president of a club called the Pigeon Fanciers Society of NSW (PFSNSW). We used to show at Fairfield, but we’ve come local now to the Penrith area in Luddenham. I think a highlight will be starting all over again, because we have to move,” he said.

“I’m also really looking forward to going to the national in Melbourne in July, where we have a big national show with about 2000 pigeons.”

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