• Plain, But Not Ordinary

    Making good decisions for your wardrobe, doesn’t start and end at the cash register. For Victorian woolgrower, Ben Duxson it starts a lot earlier than that – right at the source. Six generations of Ben’s family have grown wool and while they have a proud family history, as the years have passed, their farming practices and merino flock has undoubtedly evolved. Ben has kept his practices and merinos up with the times through careful genetic selection, measurement and keeping on top of what the rest of the world is demanding of wool. ‘We run 6000 Multi Purpose Merinos (MPM) and have always measured for carcass through Australian Sheep Breeding Values…

  • The Makers: Di & Sandy Martin

    Ever wondered what goes on before my favourite merino wool products from Shleep are ready for sale? In this series, The Makers, we offer a unique first-hand insight into Australia’s best Merino wool-growing properties, in partnership with Shleep. Sandy and Di Martin have Merino wool in their blood. Their ancestory is rich in wool-growing and fibre production, dating back to the 13th Century – a passion that has been carried down the family tree to their own Merino wool-growing property, ‘Coolatoo’, in South Australia. For this Australian wool-growing family, Merino wool is not just a business, but a way to proudly carry on their family legacy in an industry they…

  • THE CULT OF VEGANISM

    I have a vegan in my family. For years we have been accommodating her beliefs and lifestyle. We have supported her, gone without and adjusted our diets just to be in her presence. We have catered to her without a thought for our own life choices. The more I advocate for wool, the more I am learning about the cult of veganism. I see vegans from a place of understanding. To be so passionate about animals that you would change your entire lifestyle, invest so much time into researching and changing your diet and risk offending others just to be a part of a cause you believe in, is a…

  • Access Granted – Madura Plains

    For 29 days I documented the day to day at Madura Plains during their shearing. Nothing about this trip across the Nullabor was going to be ordinary for me. I was putting big fat ticks on my bucket list next to the Nullabor, halfway across Australia and the Great Australian Bight. I was taking my 11 month old babe, Travis, right into the thick of isolation, further than I had ever taken him before. The craziest part about it though, was that if this property wasn’t up to scratch with happy, healthy sheep living there, it would be the end of my career in the wool industry. I would leave…

  • ASH FLINTOFT

    DUCKS ON THE POND! Back in the day, you would hear this ring through the woolshed, to announce the impending arrival of women. Usually carrying over smoko, the swearing would stop and the men would be on their best behavior. Meet Ash Flintoft. She’s not just a little duck on some pond, she’s a woman of the downtube. Ash wasn’t born into a shearing family. In fact, she didn’t have anything to do with the wool industry until she took up work on a sheep station in her late teens. While the station work was all fine and dandy, it was shearing that she fell in love with at first…

  • West Cloven Hills Woolshed

    There are many legends of the shearing industry, past and present. Some receive accolades and some just quietly putt along on their course. They come, they go, but there are some that just aren’t going anywhere – the mighty woolshed. They are built tough, to stand the test of time. Some have had a rough life and stand only as shells of their former glory. Then, there are some that still stand proudly, holding Australia’s history within their walls.   Just a few kilometres out of Camperdown, Victoria sits the West Cloven Hills woolshed. Nestled among the rolling green hillsides, it houses over a century of local history. It tells…

  • Crutching Trailers

      Crutching trailers are well known across Australia for making a repetitive and laborious job, just that little bit easier. A mobile plant that has been used in the far reaches of rural Australia, it goes wherever sheep need to be crutched. Parked near a set of yards, the sheep are first brought in from their paddocks and wait to be moved up the line for their turn on the trailer. Helped along by a penner-up-er and their trusty sidekicks, it is a full action, non stop job. Front of the line brings them to the trailer, up the ramp and to the catching pens across from the crutchers. From…

  • Aaaand We’re Back

    Do you remember when I attempted to travel right across Australia on a (largely) self funded road trip for my Truth About Wool campaign? I could never forget. It was some of the most fulfilling, challenging and liberating days of my personal and professional life. I miss it. When I first started out on my cross country campaign I was incredibly ambitious in the thought that I could cover the entire wool industry and tell it’s full story in around six months. Financial strain took it’s toll after three (staggered) moths of being on the road with no income and I hesitantly and sadly pulled the reins on touring to…

  • It’s Not You, It’s Me

    Eventually, something would have to give. Over the last decade in the wool industry I have slowly watched my home soil perish. The dirt underneath my feet is cracked and thirsty. Paddocks that were once littered with sheep, are now bare. It’s hard to remember a time during my woolclassing career when the drought wasn’t part of the small talk that I make with farmers. A time when we would worry if we would be able to get out that black soil driveway without getting bogged. Those times of laying in the shearers quarters at night listening to the rain on the tin roof. Hearing those two words that were…

  • Jack the Immortal

    For most of the properties that I have worked at during my woolclassing career, there would be a 12 month stint between visits. While most of the woolgrowers are exceptional and a large chunk of them I now fondly call friends, it’s their working dogs that get me excitedly holding my breath in anticipation for work to start Monday morning, hoping that they’ve still kicked on for another year. There are a few dogs that have a special place in my heart, Bullet from Dunwinnie, Wooly from Tarwoona, Tripod from Avon Downs. Old Jack though, he’s one very special old mate of mine. Jack is 14 years young. His front…

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