Polwarths….and Farewell

Last stop – the beautiful Tarndwarncoort, just outside the tiny village of Birregurra. My host, Wendy, picked me up at the train station, gave me a quick tour of the village and then we headed for Tarndwarncoort.
Here is where I stayed in the original homestead.

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From the information provided to me on arrival:
“Welcome to Tarndwarncoort”. The name derives from the local Gulidjan’s people’s term for the landscape surrounding the property. Looking from the north towards the homestead, you would see a series of low, sandy hills. The Gulidjan’s thought it resembled the pattern a bandicoot [small to medium-sized terrestrial marsupial omnivore – thanks Google Australia!] would make as it bounced along.”
The Dennis family have lived and farmed here since 1840. In 1880 Polwarth sheep were developed here and registered as Australia’s first breed of sheep. The Polwarth breed was created by crossing a Saxon Merino with a Lincoln to creat a Corriedale. Then, crossing that back to the Saxon Merino to create the Polwarth.

I loved staying in the homestead. look where I got to eat my breakfast and spend time knitting in the evenings.

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And what could be more perfect than to be located across from the Wool Room!

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Here’s a peek at the interior as well as the room where local knitters and spinners gather.

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Like on many farms before, I met great dogs ….. Jock

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And Saffa

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Observed the local wildlife and plantings…

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I chose my fleeces. Wendy let me “sample” and so I soon will have three beautiful shades of Polwarth headed my way.

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Wendy and Dave dropped me off for a visit to the National Wool Museum in Geelong…

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…but not before we had some lunch at the Black Sheep Cafe next door

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The museum deserves a blog post of its own, but here are a couple highlights:
…a Jacquard loom

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…a statue of a shearer shearing ( notice the belt supporting him – I saw one of these in an wool shed earlier in the trip)

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And in another gallery…

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…a machine set up with 1500 teasels (a plant with a spiny flower head) that brushed the finished woven blankets just enough to give them a finished, fuzzy look.

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On my last day, Dave took me out into the paddocks to see the sheep. They are divided into rams, ewes with lambs, weathers and weaners and the white and dark colored sheep are kept separate as it is important for the white wool to stay that way for commercial purposes. Here are some photos of these beautiful sheep…sometimes they stayed still enough for me to get a few shots!

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A last look at rural Australia and I am on my way home, having had the adventure of a lifetime.

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Thanks to all those, both here and at home, that made this possible. To my New Australian friends, I hope to return and meet you all again someday and see more of your beautiful sheep (and dogs!)

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Published in: on November 30, 2012 at 4:18 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What an incredible journey! I’m jealous.

  2. Jackie, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip. I look forward to seeing, smelling and hearing more! Linda

  3. What an adventure! It sounds like all your planning and all your “I hope this works” really did work! So happy for you. See you soon.

  4. A pleasure getting to meet and learn a bit from you, too! We hope to meet again.

  5. wow, fantastic shots and that strap that holds up the shearer – i have never seen one of those before, the shearers get such bad backs it is the bane of their lives.. beautiful sheep and so green, i forget that aussie can be green.. c

    • I have a shot somewhere of an actual strap set up with one of my new grower friends “modeling” how it is used. I cannot even imagine that much strain on my back. Luckily, we have a great shearer here! Enjoy your trip – I am sure you will! I will be following along!

      • I am lucky enough to have a shearer too, in fact on occasion he goes out to NZ to the competitions.. and he will drive miles out of his way to shear my FIVE sheep! c


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