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Beyond the Bale : Aug 07 - Sep 07
This year the Australian wool industry is celebrating 200 years of successful international wool trade: in 1807 the first bale of Australian wool was sent to Britain for commercial sale. The Australian wool industry has come a long way since then, and since 1788, when the first sheep arrived on the First Fleet. From that humble beginning, Australia has become one of the world's premier suppliers of fine apparel wool, generating close to half a billion kilograms of fleece wool each year. Away from their native Spain, Merinos thrived in cultural and commercial fabric. The story of Australian wool is not limited to what happens on the farm and in the woolshed -- it spans the world. Some of the most significant designers in history, through to today's contemporary fashion houses, have held the spotlight on wool, draping consumers around the world in the softness and quality of Merino. Like any industry, the Australian wool industry continues to modernise and adapt to the changing global market, implement safer and more efficient production practices, and create new technologies and innovative textiles that have resulted in even finer and softer woollen apparel. Events to commemorate this historic milestone for the industry include: ú Fashion from Fleece: 200 Years of Australian Wool in Fashion exhibition -- at the Powerhouse Museum from 25 July to 22 August, then travelling to London as did the first bale (see page 13); ú an industry commemorative event at Parliament House in August; ú a rural and regional photographic competition supported by Rural Press (see page 14); and ú a commemorative book -- the classic book The Australian Merino is being updated by noted author Charles Massy, and will be available later this year to AWI shareholders at cost price. ú Nation-building Merino embedded in history Since the first bale of Australian wool was exported to Britain 200 years ago, wool has been part of the nation's life and culture 9 MERINO 200 BEYOND THE BALE Australian conditions and the breed was soon noted for its adaptability, magnificent fleece and high-quality fibre. As soon as 1830 the Australian sheep population had grown to two million. Britain's demand for the world's highest-quality natural fibre -- Australian Merino wool -- was met by ever-expanding flocks. For the best part of 200 years, wool and the Merino have been deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds of many Australians. Wool manifests itself prominently in Australian art, humour, language and literature. From woolsheds and homesteads, sheepdogs and drovers, shearers and cockies to fashion and manufacturing -- wool is an overt part of Australia's TYRRELL PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION, POWERHOUSE MUSEUM 1821 The first auction of Australian wool in London took place at Garraway's Coffee House in Change Alley. 1808 At William Thompson's mill in Yorkshire, Marsden's wool was woven into a piece of cloth from which a black suit was tailored. Marsden wore it proudly when he was introduced to King George III. 1813 The largest shipment of Australian wool so far sent to England left Sydney in the ship Minstrel in July. Most of the wool came from the Macarthur and Riley families. 1815 The potential demand for Australian wool had increased as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. Australia had established a foothold in the English market when the long war ended in 1815. 1807 In November the Reverend Samuel Marsden, owner of the third-largest flock in Australia, arrived in England with a barrel of his Australian wool. The same year, John Macarthur sent his first load of Australian wool to England on the HMS Buffalo with intention for commercial sale. Celebrating 200 years The Merino 200 timeline Trace the proud history of Australian wool over the past 200 years using the timeline spread over the eight pages of this 'Merino 200' special feature in Beyond the Bale. A more detailed timeline with many more images is available at a new commemorative website www.merino200.com. It may be commemorating historic events in Australia's wool industry, but the website established especially for Merino 200 is cutting edge. With striking black and white graphics, users can let their cursor play with the wool that crosses the screen while viewing the latest news on the Merino 200 celebrations. Managed by AWI, the website will be updated regularly as events are held.
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement