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Beyond the Bale : Aug 07 - Sep 07
10 MERINO 200 BEYOND THE BALE Woolgrower Adam Stobart, from Carrick in northern Tasmania, believes the 200- year anniversary is an ideal opportunity to focus on the relationship between the fibre he grows and the finished product. "I would love to see this as a closer relationship than currently exists," Mr Stobart says. "Ideally, I would like to be able to walk into a shop and proudly say: 'My wool is in that garment'. "If I could see someone wearing my wool, that I've grown in the paddock, under an Australian label, that would be even better." For Mr Stobart, there is a close link between what happens on his farm and in the fashion industry: "When people ask me what I do for a living, I often say I am in the textile industry. What happens in the fashion houses of Milan and London affects what happens on my farm. Fashion trends are set at least two years ahead, so as woolgrowers we have to pay attention to fashion and fashion trends. "Taking an interest in the fashion industry gives you the ability to change on-farm. It is a little like steering a large ship. It takes a lot to change direction, but if you know where you are headed, you can make those changes and adapt to them with more ease." Mr Stobart's family has been in the wool industry since Richard Willis arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1823 and, in 1824, founded a stud called 'Wanstead' at Campbell Town, based on sheep selected from King George III's flock in Kew, England. But notwithstanding the industry's rich history, growers such as Andrew McFarland, from 'Oxley Station' in the Riverina of southern NSW, also have their sights fixed firmly on the future. Mr McFarland describes the vision for his business as ambitious, but one that he is working hard to achieve through his involvement with the breeding group Multi- Purpose Merinos (MPM). "We are working to breed what we believe is a new Wool's future seekers standing type of Merino," Mr McFarland says. "We have been applying the same breeding principles for four years, and working with the MPM breeding group for two. "The new breed is a 'wrinkle'-free Merino, which requires minimal or -- in the more advanced flocks -- no mulesing, and will have faster-growing wool. Our long- term goal would be to be able to shear the breed every six months." Another focus for the McFarland family is organic accreditation: "We are listening to consumers; they don't like chemicals and we don't like using them, so we are applying this to our business. I see huge potential leveraging from a 'clean and green' image. The wool industry is proud of its history, but the new generation is passionate about creating a future industry just as illustrious. Seven members of our wool industry have their say "The world's leading designers and fashion houses recognise that wool is a wonderful fibre" -- Liz Foster MATTHEW CAWOOD Woolgrower and TAFWA organiser Liz Foster from New England, NSW. 1830 The Australian sheep population, close to two million, was multiplying with speed. In the previous decade an inflow of Merinos increased the quality of the wool in many flocks. 1838 Within 50 years of British settlement the sheep had moved into every colony, the annual wool clip was more than two million kilograms, and Australia was challenging Spain and Germany as the main suppliers of wool to England. 1843 Thomas Mort set up the first regular wool auctions in Sydney. Hitherto nearly all Australian wool had been shipped to England for sale in auction rooms or by private deals. 1848 The first wool auction in Melbourne was conducted by Richard Goldsbrough. 1829 One of Marsden's Saxon rams yielded a fleece that was acclaimed by London wool buyers as "the softest and finest fleece of wool we have seen".
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement