Each year the Woolcraft section organises displays of the feature breed. This exercise has proven to be advantageous for both the breeder and the spinner. It helps the breeders display to the public what can be done with the wool they grow and it also puts their name at the forefront, potentially attracting sales of fleece which are of top quality. It allows the spinner to try these top quality fleeces and learn how the fleece handles, what type of garment and spinning it lends itself to and how it accepts dye, etc. A sample project can then be displayed as part of the feature breed exhibit at the Show. Others make a point of using the feature breed in the Woolcraft competition.
The encouragement of the breeding and improvement of the British and other breeds of sheep in Australia and the maintenance of the purity and type of each of such breeds.
British Longwools: Lincoln, Border Leicester, Cheviot, English Leicester, Romney, Perendale
British Shortwools: Southdown, Suffolk, Ryeland, Dorset Down, South Suffok, Shropshire, Dorset Horn, Hampshire Down, Wiltshire Horn
Australian: Aussiedown, Wiltipoll
Imported: East Friesian, Finnsheep
Should be even, soft and lustrous. White wool with good even staple length and lock. Crimp well defined and even from staple base to tip. There should be no kemp (short frosty fibres) or gare (stronger modulated fibre i.e. carpet wool fibre) through the fleece. Fleece should extend well up the neck to the ears. (20-28 microns)
Quality wool within the 32-38 micron range is acceptable for adult sheep; lambs and hoggets produce finer wools down to 28 microns. Staple long and regular over entire fleece. Crimp well defined and even from butt to tip. Colour an attractive chalky-white fleece, showing virtually no luster. Handle soft and bulky, with good density. Free of black fibres, rust, kemp and hair.
It is a desirable feature of the Romney that the wool can range from 44s to 50s (30-40 microns) for individual strains of sheep. Each has its environmental place, its markets, and should be grown to suit specific manufacturing needs. The fleece should be dense, but free opening and the staple well defined, full and oval shaped, not flat. In addition to being semi lustrous and soft, it should have the necessary bulk and handle well. Uniformity of covering is essential, and quality should be maintained from the shoulder to the extremities. Weak or wasty back wool is not typical of the breed and is not acceptable.
Moderately short, close, fine fibre, without tendency to mat or felt together, and well defined, i.e., not shading off into dark wool or hair. Suggested wool count 58s-60s (24 microns).
The importance of preserving the unique genetic qualities of the old breeds of sheep led a group of concerned sheep breeders in Victoria to establish Heritage Sheep in Australia in 2002.
Most of the Heritage sheep breeds have enjoyed past popularity but today, with only a small number of studs in many of the breeds, they face extinction in Australia without ongoing support. Heritage Sheep Australia believes that the genetic heritage of these sheep is to be treasured.
Longwools: English Leicester, Lincoln, Cheviot
Shortwools: Southdown, Shropshire, Dorset Horn, Ryeland, Hampshire Down, Dorset Down