ON July 20 – 22 the Prince of Wales Showgrounds in the regional city of Bendigo was well, and truly, alive with the sounds of sheep, goats, alpacas, dogs, people and squawking PA systems.
The Australian Sheep and Wool Show is in its 141st , yes (one hundred and forty-one), year.
It is a full showcase of everything sheep.
An epicenter of genetic excellence and complete showcase of the entire supply chain from the farm gate to the value added products to that lamb roast, chop, shank, rib or offal you will consume; at one time or another.
There is judging, in one shape or form – from the animal to fleece to how well, very, clever dogs can round the sheep up and pen them. With Sullivan’s trucking in over 700 sheep; just for the dog trials and judging.
3000 sheep were judged across a variety of categories – including the very sought after GRAND CHAMPION.
What was interesting was the schools (45 in all) participating.
Oh!! if only they had extended ag classes at my school. Ironically I lived in a very rural area – maybe they thought we already had a hankering to be a farmer.
Food – There was the Annual Breeders Dinner held at Fortuna Villa. Where the movers, shakers, breeders, politicians and just lucky people were treated to an 8 course degustation dinner. Munching and salivating their way through the lamb themed dishes whilst listening to the latest speakers outlining the future of Australian Wool and lamb industry.
At the showgrounds there was the usual suspects – food wise – baked potatoes, pizza, coffee, pulled lamb burgers, dim sims, etc. etc. etc.
The delightful and engaging Fred Johnson with his jars of chutneys, pickles, etc. and (as a mate reckons) the best BBQ spice rubs ever. Found at markets on the Mornington Peninsula; tell me you will not have his enthusiasm rub off on you. Or that laughter.
Then there was LAMBITION – a chance for diners to learn more in depth information about differences in weights, breeds, age, portion sizes to use, and eating qualities.
This was ably demonstrated by Meat and Livestock’s executive Chef Sam Burke, and CWA’s Mary Grant.
Of course with all of these type of events there is always extra specialized events such as The Australian Corriedale Association holding the World Corriedale Congress before the main show.
Or the Young Stud Masters Muster, with lots of awards handed out. I am guessing a few heavy heads the next day.
Fashion plays a part with the Women in Wool parades; daily.
This is in its 10th (tenth) year. Over 300 entries in total were judged.
Up and coming designers are encouraged to enter and display their handiwork.
Knitters and crotchet aficionados are well catered for with numerous stands selling the much sort after “golden” – fleece.
Cashmere, Alpaca, Merino, Possum, wool blends. SIGH SIGH SIGH
I was so happy to see the Great Ocean Road Woolen Mills, Wangaratta Woolen Mills and Cashmere Connection (where I buy my lovely alpaca fleece from), the nearby Bendigo Wool people and the best – BELLEVUE PARK WOOL at this show.
This company is based in COOMA, NSW. High in the Snowy Mountains their Saxon Merinos produce the finest ever, superfine and ultra-fine fleece. This wool has a high level of lanolin which repels any dust and dirt. Saxon Merinos’ are a great choice because this farm can get more wool per kilo from each sheep. It has environmental ‘golds stars’ (well – in my books) because this means less impact on the surrounding land.
And the owners are truly delightful people. Bill (or was it Jim?) had plenty of time to talk with me. And yes, I had a friend come back and buy some wool on Sunday.
Unlike a few other nearby sellers.
They were so darn helpful I am now planning a trip to the Cooma and surrounds.
NOTE: If you are going to be at these events then tell people about your product, or better yet DO NOT ask them to delete photos on their camera, of your product just because of some warped copyright thing going on in your head. (yes aviva kalagas and your pictures and the people selling the imported stuff).
There were stands selling the requisite farm supplies, products, technology, equipment and clothing.
The trendy RB SELLARS, THOMAS COOK, WRANGLER, and the makers of UGG were there. I salivated at all their stuff. They are still doing ok because there were many patrons wearing their clothes.
THANK YOU Big Guy upstairs that you made my bank account empty that weekend, otherwise.
Whew… what a long blog.
There is a slideshow of photographs over on Botany Girl so tap that link and check out my pics.
So here are a few links:
www.bellevuepark.com.au and on Facebook.