The phone call declaring the superfine wool grown on Garry Meek’s farm in western Victoria to be the best in the world came out of the blue.
Spinning out: Garry Meek in the woolshed on his property Elanora in western Victoria. Picture: David Geraghty
All Mr Meek had done was to shear his flock of 3000 merino sheep last winter in his humble corrugated-iron shearing shed and sell the resulting 65 bales to the highest bidders, The Australian reports.
But the wool was found to be so good — and the suit fabric so fine when the wool was spun at one of the world’s most celebrated Italian weaving companies, Vitale Barberis Canonico — that the Meek family has been anointed 2016 winners of the global Wool Excellence Award.
Classing and pressing lambs’ wool into bales on his farm near Streatham, Mr Meek said he found it unbelievable his wool was now being used to produce $10,000 Armani and Zegna suits. “Vitale Barberis Canonico has bought some of our fleece wool off-and-on for many years because the style of our wool suits what they are looking for,” said Mr Meek, the third generation of superfine woolgrowers in his family.
“I select my sheep for a dense type of wool, which is bright and white and has a well-defined crimp, which bounces back after you compress it; it’s that high compression factor that Barberis really likes because it gives you a fabric that never crinkles or creases.”
Breeding fine-wool merinos is a family tradition; Elanora has been a specialist wool-growing property since it was first selected by Mr Meek’s grandfather in 1911.
Read more at The Australian
Flooded farmers along the Murray River have accused the national water management authority of making a natural disaster worse by delaying releases from the giant Hume Dam upstream of Albury-Wodonga, despite warnings of a looming deluge, The Australian reports.
Richard Sargood, chairman of the Murray River Action Group, said the Murray-Darling Basin Authority promised farmers downstream of the Hume Dam at an August 18 meeting that it would soon start gradual water releases from the vast dam once storage levels reached 83 per cent.
Rob Locke in a flooded livestock paddock on his property near Tocumwal. Picture: Aaron Francis
The promise of bigger releases came after Bureau of Meteorology predictions of a wet August and September ahead and sudden increases in water levels in Lake Hume of 10 per cent a week.
“But they didn’t,’’ Mr Sargood said. “Everyone knew it was going to be a very wet spring but they didn’t make any pre-releases in August to create the air space (in the dam) in case of big sudden inflows.
“So when we had our (first) big rains (September 14), the ground everywhere was sodden already, the dam was nearly full at 97 per cent and there was nowhere for the water to go except for the gates to be opened in a rush.
“They didn’t make room early enough; it’s no wonder you have talk of class actions and compensation from those who have been hit by these big floods downstream that didn’t have to have been as bad as they were; management could certainly be improved.”
The filled Hume Dam has been spilling water from massive concrete gates for most of the past month. Its biggest releases — 70,000-80,000 megalitres per day for six days from October 3 — caused a “wall of water” to swamp the downriver towns of Corowa and Tocumwal a few days later.