Jack McGee was born in 1911 at Far Meadow to Mary Ann McGee and William (Billy) Henry McGee. Jack’s father, Billy, was a legendary horseman, competing as a high jump rider but especially renowned as a gifted and patient horse educator. Jack grew up in Broughton Vale and had a love of agricultural shows from an early age.
In 1920, at age 10, he exhibited at both Berry and Nowra shows. A year later he won every jump event he entered at the Sydney Royal Show! Jack McGee was an outstanding rider and rode many horses, of his own and for various owners, with great success.
Jack played football in Berry and Bowral and helped his father with the young jumpers and trotters at the Berry Showground.
In 1934 Jack McGee met Mark Radium - a little black baldy faced pony gelding - and together they formed a unique partnership that lasted until Mark Radium’s death in 1955, he was 23. Bred in Taree by Alec Stewart and after showing early promise as a high jumper for owner George Bell, Mark Radium was sold to Fred Inglebert for 200 pounds. Fred later gifted Mark Radium to Jack.
Jack McGee and Mark Radium became the high jump champions of Australia, jumping 7’ 8” at Albury, 7’ 6” at Adelaide Royal and 7’ 3” at Melbourne shows. From 1947 to 1955 Jack and Mark Radium won every jump event they entered at the Sydney Royal Show, with the exception of 1949 when Mark Radium had pneumonia. He still came second! Jack had two other high jump horses called Victory and Don, and Jack often placed 1st 2nd and 3rd at the Royal shows.
After Jack returned from service in the Australian Army, he married Miss Norma Bennett in 1948 at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Berry. Norma was on the nursing staff of the David Berry Hospital. Jack and Norma had four children, Veronica, twins Jacqueline and Pamela and a son Mark.
Jack always regarded Berry as his home and Mark Radium was stabled in Berry behind his house at 54-56 Queen Street when not competing.
Mark Radium Park in Berry is dedicated to Jack McGee and Mark Radium.
After retiring from high jumping, Jack had success training and driving his trotting horses at Harold Park and other tracks. One of his standardbreds was called Muidarkram - Mark Radium backwards.
In 1960, Jack was selected to coach the Australian Equestrian Olympic Team, but was pipped at the post for this honour by Franz Mairinger, a past instructor of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
Later he joined the staff at the Berry AI centre and would jog to and from his home in Queen Street to work daily.
Jack’s fine horsemanship, honesty, Christian family values, kindness and patience with animals and humans will be remembered by his family, the Show community and the people of Berry.