Originally written by PRU SAIMOUN
SHEEPVENTION 2007 began on Monday in a shroud of misty rain, but as it lifted, the queues at the gates grew and by midday for the opening, it was hard to walk anywhere quickly.
Administrator Helen Christie said the crowd was fabulous, everything was to capacity, the fashion parade and presentations on Sunday night were a great success and the judging of various events was progressing well.
While the trademark gale force winds and torrential rain of Sheepvention were not part of the morning, the wind was still icy enough to keep people wrapped in coats and scarves.
Flocks of balloons, mud, straw, sheep manure, the smells of roasting meat, hot spuds, coffee, and the all-pervading scent of sheep, along with jostling crowds, yelling children, all punctuated with loud announcements over the PA system directing people from the office hub – was the canvas of Sheepvention.
According to this year’s opening guest speaker, Australian Wool Innovation chairman, Ian McLachlan, the event had come a long way since his first visit in the early 1980s.
He saw it now as one of the most important sheep conventions in the world.
In his opening speech he said Sheepvention had been the event for nearly three decades that showcased innovation in the sheep industry, whether it was changes to sheep and wool handling, genetic progress and pasture improvement, off-farm processing, manufacturing or fashion design.
“The real drawcard is there is something for everyone at Sheepvention,” he said.
In celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Australian wool trade, AWI acknowledged that the wool industry had come a long way.
“We’ve progressed because we innovate.”
He suggested the future of Australian wool would be driven by research, development, innovation and marketing, but was underpinned by good business, a good base wool price that made all the efforts of growers worthwhile – and rain.