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Beyond the Bale : Jun 07 - Jul 07
Australian Merino wool has been there for all the great fashion moments -- the Speedo wool swimsuit in the 1920s, the Chanel wool tweed suit in the 1960s and the Zegna men's wool suit in the 1980s -- and, to commemorate 200 years since Australia began exporting Merino wool to the world, those fashion milestones will feature in a major exhibition at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum. Managed by AWI's manager of fashion communications Melissa Grace and curated by leading fashion authority Jane de Teliga, the exhibition will showcase the developments of wool over the past two centuries, celebrating the contribution made by Australian, British, French, Japanese and Italian designers, and how the fibre led a worldwide fashion revolution. It was in 1807 that the first bale of Australian wool was sent to Britain to be sold, thus establishing the Australian wool trade.Today, Australia still stands firm as the world's leading producer of fine Merino wool, generating 420 million kilograms of fleece a year. AWI, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has established a themed series of local and international activities and events, such as the exhibition, to mark the 200th anniversary. Open to the public from July 25 to August 22 at the Switch House Gallery in the Powerhouse Museum, the exhibition will then move offshore, with a London showing from September 24 to October 8 at County Hall, Southbank. Included in the display will be Samuel Marsden's first wool samples sent to King George III in 1804, a wool convict jacket from 1855, a swatch book from Parramatta in 1886 and the Speedo wool swimsuit from 1920. Centre stage in the exhibition will be two 25-metre-long catwalks featuring 30 mannequins displaying wool garments that have defined fashion over the past 200 years. Among the vintage items will be garments from Vionnet, Lanvin, Chanel, Christian Dior, Courreges,Vivienne Westwood, Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna. Contemporary designers have been asked to submit some of their latest designs to showcase the future of Merino wool in fashion. Photographic panels will run along each side and follow the history of wool, from the shipping of the first bale in 1807 to the latest innovations in Merino wool. The Powerhouse Museum is near Darling Harbour, in Harris Street, Ultimo, and the exhibition is open to the public from 25 July to 22 August. More information: www.woolinnovation.com.au; www.merino200.com Woolmark and AWS to merge AWI chairman Ian McLachlan has welcomed the decision by Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran and the Australian Government to suppor t the integration of AWI with Australian Wool Ser vices (AWS). Mr McLachlan says the announcement paves the way for the integration to proceed, after two years of preparation with suppor t from peak industr y bodies and now the Australian Government. He says integration by 30 June 2007 is possible, following the minister's decision to suppor t the integration with funding of $15 million. "The process now includes the negotiation of contracts and a period of due diligence," Mr McLachlan says. "This $15 million allows AWI to secure key assets held by AWS, including the Woolmark brand.The funding provided by the government will be spent only on securing key wool industry assets that are owned by AWS; it will not be used to fund other AWI activities. "As one of the most impor tant announcements in the history of the wool industry, we need to be very clear about what the integration means. It means that vital assets, in which woolgrowers have invested over decades, can be reinvigorated and put to use to build demand for Australian Merino wool. We ask the industry to suppor t both companies through this process. It will provide clarity for our international customers, keep key industry assets in the hands of Australian woolgrowers and achieve what the industry has desired for more than two years." 3 AWI NEWS BEYOND THE BALE Model Penny Pardey in Pierre Cardin, photographed by Henry Talbot, Paris, 1967. MERINO WOOL TURNS 200 A series of AWI and Meat and Livestock Australia workshops have helped develop management mechanisms for drought recovery.With support from Elders, Landmark, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the Victorian DPI and Primary Industries and Resources SA, the workshops -- in Jamestown (SA), Corowa and Parkes (NSW), and Ararat (Victoria) -- covered the business and human sides of drought recovery. Lu Hogan, AWI's manager for sustainable production systems, says although speakers talked about cashflow, reproductive performance and nurturing pastures back to life at the events, the greatest impact was from speakers discussing the need to look after people during drought. "One of the motivating factors for holding the forums was to give producers tools to recover from the drought, but that cannot happen if they are not feeling motivated or energetic about their industry," she says. Greg Meaker, NSW DPI livestock officer at Goulburn, who also manages the implementation of the StockPlan® program, spoke at the Corowa forum about getting cashflow back on track. He presented a number of recovery strategies, such as breeding-up stock numbers, buying-in stock or cropping land not required for stock. Interestingly, the economics of each strategy varied little, with the end result being at least two years before profits returned. "Planning for your recovery is going to be even more difficult than planning for drought," he told the forum. "If you plan for drought, please plan for recovery: it's absolutely critical. If you don't have a plan, you can't recover." Mr Meaker says producers must understand that the key risk factors in a grazing enterprise -- pastures, livestock, water, fodder and people -- have all been heavily affected by the drought. "Therefore focus on recovering these aspects and on how you are going to utilise them to restore cashflow." One of the tools presented was Lifetime Wool, an AWI-funded project to optimise Merino ewe nutrition and lambing performance. James Whale, a sheep and wool livestock officer with the Victorian DPI who coordinates three Bestwool/ Bestlamb producer groups and represents the Lifetime Wool program, says healthy ewes will contribute significantly to drought recovery by increasing lambing rates and producing offspring that go on to be productive wool Victorian Department of Primary Industries sheep and wool livestock officer James Whale, left, with Burrumbuttock woolgrower Lyle Burns of 'Yaralla'. PHOTO: KELLIE PENFOLD producers themselves. He suggests woolgrowers need to condition-score ewes to develop appropriate management strategies leading up to lambing. Ewe condition during pregnancy has implications for productivity, through lamb survival rates, ewe mortality and lifetime impacts on the woolgrowing potential of progeny.The actual condition score of ewes at lambing is the most critical condition score target to meet.To achieve this target, the first step is to determine what condition score the ewes are in now. Mr Whale says that managing ewes to maintain condition, instead of losing half a condition score prior to lambing, has been shown to lift twin survival by 22 per cent and single lamb survival by 14 per cent, based on Victorian data. "The cost to the enterprise in missing the ewe condition score target 3.0, at lambing, has been estimated at between $9 and $10 per ewe condition score, with any subsequent increase in ewe mortality being additional to this figure. So if producers can maintain ewe condition during pregnancy for less than the associated costs incurred by losing condition, the benefits will outweigh the costs." He says the difference between maintaining the condition of a 50-kilogram ewe, compared with allowing her to lose 4kg in the last 70 days of pregnancy, is about 2.25MJ of energy per day: "Even under the worse-case scenario, where grain's at $300 a tonne, and she needs to be fed right up to lambing, you can make it pay." Information was also presented at each forum on nurturing pastures back to life, reducing risk, and wool through to market. -- KELLIE PENFOLD More information: www.lifetimewool.com.au; speaker notes from the forums are at www.wool.com.au/events PEOPLE AND PASTURES LEAD RECOVERY PHOTO: HENRY TALBOT, COLLECTION OF THE POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, SYDNEY
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement
Apr 07 - May 07