Australian Wool Industry

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Australia is the world’s largest wool producing country, and has been for decades. The fine quality of wool from the result of fine breeding has definitely help contribute to the high demand of the wool industry. Much of Australia’s wool has been exported to other countries such as China, Italy, Taiwan, Republic of Korea and France. However, Australia’s wool production has been decreasing for the last 10 years and the demand has been declining because of the other, easier to manage, synthetic fibers and materials that have been introduced to the market. This following report is regarding the changes and effects the wool industry had on Australia in the 19th century, the reasons for the successful development of the wool industry, and also Australia’s current position in wool production.


The first sheep to arrive in Australia, Botany Bay was in 1788 on the First Fleet, brought by Governor Phillip. The sheep that were brought over were only to be used for food and not for wool production for the new settlement in the newly found country. They had thick, hairy fleeces and small groups of them were brought frequently, however only a few survived the journey and the few that survived were not use to the climatic changes and died soon after.

Governor Philip later realised Australia’s soil and climate were better suited for livestock grazing than any farming. So after setting up many farms in 1792 Governor Philip headed back to England and left a temporary governor, Major Francis Grose to replace him until 1794. This was when the significant changes occurred, free settlers were allowed in Australia and officers and officials were given grants of land.
John Macarthur, an officer in the New South Wales Corps took advantage of the grants of land, he was the most productive of the officers. He and two of his friends brought several pure blood Spanish Merino sheep to Australia, he then started breeding them some of his mixed breeds. He continued with this practice until he was certain that the result was that the quality of the wool was alike to the wools from Spain and Germany. John Macarthur’s success in fine-wool production gave Australia great wealth.


Australia produces the world’s best woollen fibre, Australian Merino wool, which is also the main sheep breed in this country (75% are Merino’s ...

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...l to profitable levels. The price of broad micron wool has increased and in some cases is equal in amount paid for fine wool.

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