Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo – 17th-19th July, 2015
This year was the 138th year of the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and the forth that the Mount Monmot Perendales show team has attended.
Let me quote a part of history relating to this long significant presence of the Australian Sheep and Wool Show as quoted from the ASWS website tab of history –
The Australian Sheep and Wool Show’s ancestors were the country’s first organised ‘Sheep Shows’ held at Darlington, (and Skipton) Victoria in the early 1850’s.
Today’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show, (previously known as the Melbourne Sheep and Woolcraft Show), had its origins in a meeting held at Scotts Hotel, Melbourne on August 28, 1877.The meeting was held in order to establish the Australian Sheep Breeders’ Association with “the prime purpose of conducting an exhibition of sheep in Melbourne in August every year”.The show was first held at the Wool Stores of Goldsborough Mort and Co (1878-1938), followed by a period at Dalgety and Co (1939-1956) before relocating to the Melbourne Showgrounds in 1957.The Victorian regional centre of Bendigo, a geographical mid-point for farmers across the main sheep producing areas, has been the home of the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (The Sheep Show) since 1999.
It is always a great show to attend and the throughput of people, both the small and larger acreage farmers as well as non-farmers enjoy attending and viewing the offerings at this exhibition of various sheep and trade displays.The Mount Monmot Perendales show team of 11 sheep travelled from Skipton and settled in well to their surrounds at the Bendigo Showgrounds for a total of four days.
The judge had travelled from NSW and our steward Maureen Nissen from near Mansfield. Being the sole exhibitor, we ensured the various classes that were entered had competition from our own stud, for the judge to view, analyse and critique to place accordingly. It is always great to hear the views of people and their explanation of reasons for their placing. There were no suprises in the show ring and the many compliments were gratefully received.
In recognising the contribution to the Perendale breed, it is appropriate to acknowledge receiving the Dick Clayton Perpetual Trophy and the Flora Richardson Trophy. The past recipients include Pergunyah Perendales, Grayoaks and Graceburn, along with Mount Monmot Perendales. The silver tray and trophy take pride of place in our home.
Hamilton SheepVention – 3rd-4th August, 2015
An early morning saw the Mount Monmot Perendale show team head 160km west to Hamilton to the highlight of our annual showing…the Hamilton SheepVention. This year was extra special with the arrival of our New Zealand business partners, founders and Directors of the Newhaven Perendale Stud from the South Island near Oamaru. It was from the Newhaven stud that we sourced our original line of ewes when we imported them in 2011.
David and Robyn Ruddenklau timed their arrival into Australia to be a part of the Hamilton SheepVention. They are very familiar with the etiquette, process and preparation of showing, having being a part of it for many years. David is also a highly sort after judge over many years throughout the New Zealand sheep industry. He enjoyed seeing ‘how we do it here’. The thought for the NZers of leading Perendales to be judged had to be seen to be believed. They were truly amazed!
Obviously, there are some other variations between our great countries. At Hamilton, the main item of interest was with the presentation of the sashes. David was quick to ask in his thickish New Zealand accent, ‘why does the judge present the second ribbon before the first?’ Upon discussion, we found the New Zealanders (and UK) first place ribbon is red and of course in Australia, first place is blue.
The 11 sheep again performed well when leading, with some slight improvement on their behaviour from Bendigo. It is always lovely to return home after a big few days with the crew all fit and healthy and pleased to get home to their familiar environment.
Royal Melbourne Show – 19th-21st September, 2015
The next expedition was to the Royal Melbourne Show held at the Showgrounds at Flemington for the first four days of the term three school holidays in September. This was great to have Edward (13) and Marty (10), join Mal (Dad) and myself. Our accommodation is part of the fun – we stay in what they call ‘lockers’ in one end of the Horse Pavilion (next to the Sheep Pavilion). We can lay out two swags onto the bitumen floor in our ‘room’ and that is the floor space gone. It does the job, is all I can say! With lights not being turned off until after 11pm, horsey and sheep people partying until later, smoke alarms tweeting every 15 minutes with a flat battery…it was a real highlight, especially for the kids, who loved the experience. I guess that is one of the reasons we attend shows – for the life experience!
Entertainment was at the forefront of the Melbourne Show agenda. It was action packed from Sheep judging, horses working out, cows being blow dried, to the Crusty Demons risking their lives on their motorbikes, to illusionists and life threatening rollers coasters and more. Even tackling the show-bag pavilion is interesting! The Saturday evening became an event in itself after the fireworks. Our ‘lockers’ were evacuated with fire alarms blaring, fire trucks entering and mild confusion amongst everyone. Thankfully, it was found to be a false alarm in our Horse Pavilion, and due to the fire-works smoke, the alarms inadvertently activated. There was a surreal thought of the stable fire that claimed the life of the successful show horse Garryowen and his owner Violet Murrell (29 years) and her husband Bill (two days later) in Mentone in 1934. Violet was considered one of the top show riders of her day and Garryowen was a horse who won numerous prizes and titles including many of the big show titles at the Royal Melbourne Show. Hence, the Royal Melbourne Show now conducts, arguably, the most prestigious annual horse event in honour of this incident.
Sunday evening saw many of the sheep breeders come together in the set of ‘Masterchef’ building within the Showgrounds. Myself, along with many others were fascinated by the thought of being in the actual set of the popular television series. Of course delicious lamb was on the menu (I’m not sure what breed) and this along with dessert was prepared by renowned Chef Adriano Zumbo. The sweet especially was visually spectacular. A great night was had by all who attended.
The Royal Melbourne Show is not one that attracts many country folk to see the sheep. It is more of the city dwellers that amble through the pavilion and may reach out to touch a sheep for the first time if encouraged. Edward and Marty (and friend Declan) enjoyed their role in leading a sheep each to the entrance of the pavilion, allowing people to pat them and of course have many photos taken of children and their families up close to the sheep. This was just something small, but gratefully received by many to have the opportunity to touch a sheep, feel and smell its fleece. We laughed later with the children about the comments from the public that included ‘don’t go behind the sheep, it might kick’ and ‘be careful, it will bite’!
Royal Geelong Show 15th-18th October, 2015
The soaring Spring temperatures that were more like a mid-Summer heat, greeted us in transporting our show team to the Royal Geelong Show for the first time. Everyone was feeling the 34’C day, but thankfully the misting fans were blowing our way as well as a good breeze through a nearby large door.
With approximately 375 sheep attending this year’s Geelong Show, we were pleased to be a part of it. The show was very well organised, very relaxed and everyone was made to feel very welcome. The parking, unloading, the friendliness and atmosphere was fantastic. I guess this comes with the adaptability that grows with each show and the familiarity and friendships of those around us.
The children also had their moment in this show. The fancy dress saw Edward and his ram dress up as a ‘Stockman’ and Marty teamed up with his sheep to show his support for ‘The Hawks’. He was very brave to do this in the city of Geelong!
This show sees us return home to all the other farming duties that await us. The show team will be shorn by the end of October to surely enjoy some ‘normal’ sheep time grazing the dying grass and lounging around under the trees. One has been hoping for some good rains for September and October, to no avail. Our Summer appears to have come very early unfortunately, which may mean a longer period of time of supplementary feeding which is costly in labour and feed purchases.
Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (A.S.S.B.A.) of which the Australian Perendale Association (A.P.A) are members of, have recently developed a FACEBOOK page that shares information amongst members relating to special events, points of interest and show participation. It is well worth having a look to have this as another way of keeping in touch with this organisation.