Wool specimen, stud ram 'Blucher', bred by Albert Augustus Dangar, Gostwyck, Uralla, New South Wales, Australia, 1904
The wool collection held by the Powerhouse Museum contains thousands of wool samples collected between 1804 and 2003. These samples provide a record of wool growing in Australia. The different fleeces reflect the breeding programs and environmental conditions under which the fleeces were grown and, as such, they provide a valuable history of the areas of Australia in which sheep were grazed.
Sheep were introduced into Australia in 1788 from Cape Town in South Africa. Since then sheep from other countries, including the Spanish Merino were imported into Australia and selectively crossbred. Careful crossbreeding, paying particular attention to the impact of the environment on both animal and fleece, led to the evolution of the Australian Merino. It is an excellent example of the engineering, through selective breeding, of a domestic animal. Wool went on to become the mainstay of the Australian Economy from 1807 to 1960.
This particular wool sample comes from a sheep bred at Gostwyck station in the New England area of New South Wales. The stud was established in 1854 by Henry Dangar, on rams from A. A. Cox's flock. Dangar went on to select 28 rams from the Gadegast stud in Germany to add to his flock. He also used Steiger rams, and Gostwyck became well known as a 'new German flock'. In 1878 Gostwyck added Tasmanian blood lines, and by concentrating on selectively breeding sheep for their large body size and a combing type wool the station had some of the most productive Tasmanian blood stock in the country. There sheep were perfectly suited top the colder and wetter climates of New England region.
Charles Massy. 'The Australian Merino', Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Victoria, 1990.
Assistant Curator, February 2008.
The wool was produced in 1904 by Albert Augustus Dangar in Gostwyck, New South Wales, Australia.
Originally donated by Albert Augustus Dangar, Gostwyck, Uralla, New South Wales, 1904.
Sire, 'Waterloo' by 'President'. Dam a Gostywck stud ewe.
Weight of fleece 32lbs.
This wool specimen is part of the Bill Montgomery Wool Collection which consists of approximately 7000 samples. In the older part of the collection there are 5000 samples from Australian sheep fleeces grown between 1856 and 1906. The samples were collected by the Museum at a time when scientific research was prominent in the Museum's activities. In 1979, when the Museum's focus changed, most of its wool collection was transferred to the teaching collection of Mr Bill Montgomery, a wool classing teacher at Newcastle Technical College. When Bill retired from the College, the collection was again in danger of being thrown away. He took the entire collection home and stored it in his garage for 15 years. His Collection also contains approximately 1500 wool samples grown between 1950 and 2000 and collected by Bill himself. It includes 147 examples of faults and stains occurring in Australian flocks, 20 pigmented wools and 33 rare and extinct breeds from around the world. The Museum purchased the entire collection in 2003. Bill Montgomery died on 7th July, 2007.