Canning Downs was established in 1840 and is the oldest homestead in Queensland. It was a home to thoroughbred stallions from 1842 until 1989 when it’s broodmares and foals became the focus of the stud.

The property was purchased by J.H.S. Barnes in 1917 and has remained in the family’s hands. Part of the appeal of Canning Downs to J.H.S. Barnes was its long association with thoroughbreds and the reputation of the Darling Downs as excellent breeding country.

From his second crop, J.H.S. Barnes produced Rivoli, winner of the 1922 AJC Derby. His son, “Ceb” Barnes assumed control of the Stud in 1946 after returning from service in the Air Force.

Ceb too enjoyed early success by producing Basha Felika, the winner of the 1951 Caulfield Cup. Ceb stood a number of stallions at Canning Downs, including Dalray, purchased after winning the 1952 Melbourne Cup.  Ceb’s mating to Dalray of his mare Dolled Up produced Tails, Australia’s second highest stakes winner of the time (after Tulloch). His wins included the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, The Metropolitan (twice) and the Doomben Cup. Ceb died in 1998 aged 96.


The property is now under the guidance of Ceb’s son John (Mytt) Barnes and his wife Joy Mackay.

“A Refusal To Compromise”

The breeding and raising of thoroughbreds has changed significantly since Canning Downs was established 180 years ago however the high quality country continues to be the foundation on which our stock are raised.

This particularly benefits young stock in their early developmental stages and in the health of our broodmares.

We always aim to to raise the best horses we possibly can and although we are a nursery producing around 15 foals per year, we work hard to produce a horse that has enjoyed the best of what nature and nurture can provide.

By limiting our numbers, we feel we are able to produce a “hand-made” product. Our very capable Stud Manager is assisted by an experienced and dedicated team who really do not leave any stone unturned to provide what’s best for our mares and their progeny.