Sad show of sheep and wool industry’s steady decline
WHILE it was great seeing the Chinchilla and the Miles communities celebrated at their respective shows recently, as these annual events are a showcase of a region’s agricultural sector the dwindling or complete absence of wool was a telling testament to the state of affairs for the local wool industry.
I’m not saying it wasn’t good to see Miles Show’s grain and wool pavilion utilised by the reintroduced poultry section, but as the descendant of merino farmers from way back before Ancestry.com knows when, I found it distressing to see rows and rows of shelves purpose-built for the display of fleeces occupied by perhaps six.
I grew up in the 90s, so while the fact of the slow, agonising death of the wool industry has been knowledge to me since the sound of my own name, to see this decline illustrated so starkly at the Chinchilla and Miles shows over the past week was heartbreaking.
However, Tara Show earlier in the year gave cause for hope. The sheep and wool section was full of exhibitors and competitors, who had come not just from across the Western Downs, but from across the Surat Basin to attend and show their products of hard toil and generations of carefully honed bloodlines.