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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
4 OFF-FARM June 2014 BEYOND THE BALE FAST FACTS l The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a special visit to the Sheep and Wool Pavilion at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show. l The royal couple showed a genuine interest in the Australian wool industry, paying particular attention to the shearing demonstrations. l Wool4Skool® winner Sophie Aylward presented the dress she designed for The Duchess as part of the 2013 competition. It was a royal affair at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed both fleece and fabric inside the Sheep and Wool Pavilion. And what better way to greet the royal couple than with a royal bow from AWI ambassador Fred the Merino ram! Trained by AWI Shearing Industry Training Development Coordinator Jim Murray, Fred performed his duties perfectly and in doing so gained not only the attention of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge but a large portion of the travelling domestic and international media as well. It was a fitting gesture given the ram, along with sheep from more than 200 Australian properties, had donated part of their wool towards a special suit given to HRH The Duke of Cambridge on the occasion of his marriage almost three years ago as part of the AWI's "Fit for a Prince" campaign. The gesture was to recognise and thank the royal family for its support of the global Campaign for Wool of which HRH The Prince of Wales is patron. Aside from being wowed by the cute factor of Fred, Mr Murray said the royal couple was genuinely interested in the Australian wool industry. "We spoke about the industry in general, about Fred's role in promoting the industry around the country and how he was trained to bow by receiving apples as a reward," Mr Murray said. "The Duke and Duchess even fed Fred some apples out of their hands. "Conversation also included a discussion about the suit which was given to Prince William as a wedding present from Australian woolgrowers and how some of Fred's wool was actually in the suit. "I also thanked them for their support for our industry. It would be easy to imagine sitting down with them and having a coffee and a chat or a beer at a barbecue -- they really are genuine people that are very personable and have a passion for agriculture and the wool industry." The Duke and Duchess also took time to examine the skilful process of machine and blade shearing. Surprisingly, this was the first time HRH The Duke of Cambridge had seen a shearing demonstration in real life. Royals at the Royal The Duchess of Cambridge meets AWI ambassador Fred the Merino ram at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watching the shearing demonstration, performed by AWI shearer trainers, at the Royal Easter Show. PHOTO: Wolter Peeters/Fairfax Media