Sad show of sheep and wool in­dus­try’s steady de­cline

Chinchilla News - - NEWS - Alana Calvert Alana.Calvert@ chin­chillanews.com.au

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.

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