WIN­TER WARMERS

THEY SAY AUS­TRALIA WAS BUILT ON THE SHEEP’S BACK AND TO­DAY LO­CAL FARM­ERS, DE­SIGN­ERS AND AR­TI­SANS CON­TINUE TO MAKE MAGIC WITH WOOL.

Country Style - - CONTENTS - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MARK ROPER STYLING TA­MARA MAYNES

In­spired by the warmth, tex­ture and ver­sa­til­ity of wool, this month’s dec­o­rat­ing fea­ture was shot at one of Vic­to­ria’s old­est merino farms, Wur­rook.

This month’s spe­cial dec­o­rat­ing fea­ture was shot at Wur­rook merino farm, where the north­ern rim of Vic­to­ria’s western plains meets the foothills of the Great Di­vid­ing Range. Set­tled in the late 1850s near Roke­wood, Wur­rook is one of Vic­to­ria’s old­est merino studs. Roy and Irene Wal­ton bought the 2800-hectare prop­erty in 1954 and to­day their grand­son, Paul, a third-gen­er­a­tion wool­grower, lives in the orig­i­nal blue­stone home­stead with his wife Kylie and their three chil­dren, So­phie, 18, Lach­lan, 16, and Jordy, 14. The Wal­tons cur­rently run about 20,000 sheep — at shear­ing time cut­ting 550 bales of su­perfine wool in the hand­some old 1860s blue­stone shed. “You can make the best qual­ity suits out of this wool,” says Paul who, ac­cord­ing to Kylie, “lives and breathes woolgrowing”. As a boy Paul loved to help his fa­ther Bruce with the sheep. “I al­ways helped and would have my own flock of later born lambs that I helped feed so they could catch up with the rest of the flock,” he says. To­day, Wur­rook holds its an­nual ram sales in Oc­to­ber and ewes and gen­eral flock sheep are auc­tioned in Jan­uary. The Wal­tons are also reg­u­lar ex­hibitors at ma­jor sheep shows and Wur­rook is a con­sis­tent award win­ner, hav­ing taken out the Supreme Merino Ex­hibit at the Aus­tralian Sheep and Wool Show two years run­ning. If you ask Paul, though, show­ing is not about the awards. “I just en­joy tak­ing the sheep out where peo­ple can see them and as­sess them for them­selves,” he says. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit wur­rook­su­perfineprime.com.au

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