Rural Notebook | Acclamation for his wool industry innovation

HAY THERE: Semi-trailer-loads of meadow hay are a common sight in an unusually wet summer in parts of the Tablelands.
HAY THERE: Semi-trailer-loads of meadow hay are a common sight in an unusually wet summer in parts of the Tablelands.

THE death of one of the wool industry’s foremost sheep skin biologists has sent waves of sympathy through the progressive sector of the merino industry. 

Jim Watts, who was a CSIRO wool scientist, set up his private SRS Company in 1984 with new wool descriptions such as horseshoe crimps, elite fibre, cauliflower tip, drape and fibre bundles that interested and excited many wool producers when the industry was at a low point.

His many critics in the staid old stud industry didn’t approve of a scientist’s opinions, but many of them quietly used many of his ideas and methods in their studs.

I hope that someone who is passionate and capable will carry on the SRS tradition as skin biology is the key to much of the wool industry’s future.

Don’t delay

CENTRAL and western pastoral districts of Queensland have seen the full circle of our country’s droughts and flooding rains.

After about eight horrible drought years, they have now seen huge floods that came as the Townsville cyclone moved inland.

There are reported losses of around 300,000 cattle caused by drought conditions and exposure to exceptional rainfall and strong winds.

The mental stress on families, especially the kids who have helped to feed stock for years, must be hard to manage.

Surely this is a real national disaster and our over-borrowed governments will offer real financial assistance.

For once, arguments about climate change must be put aside and some real, apolitical decisions be made ASAP.


Austin’s power

FELICITY and Jim Seaman at “Wyagdon”, Peel are celebrating the safe arrival of a little son, Austin James.

The young bloke arrived on February 5 at exactly 6.39am and in a few years he’ll be expected to be on the shearing board by 7.15am, ready to pen up.

Congratulations to mum and dad and a big welcome to young Austin.

FAMILY MATTERS: Respected Bathurst Base Hospital nurse Brenden Stapleton with his daughter Jordan Stapleton on her first day at work at the hospital.

FAMILY MATTERS: Respected Bathurst Base Hospital nurse Brenden Stapleton with his daughter Jordan Stapleton on her first day at work at the hospital.

Home base

WELL-KNOWN Bathurst Base Hospital nurse Brenden Stapleton appreciated the arrival of his daughter Jordan Stapleton to commence her nursing career at the base.

Brenden is widely known for his long-time work in the Emergency Ward at the hospital, and his late dad was regarded as one of our district’s leading shearers; ultra reliable and never a bad word about any of us.

Familiar face 

PARENTS with long memories and a sense of fun may be interested in the performance of legendary country music singer Chad Morgan at the Burraga Hall on Friday, March 22 at 7pm for 7.30pm, with a typical Burraga barbecue from 6-7pm.

Support artists are The Muirs and tickets will be on sale at the door.

This will be a family fun show, with lots of music and songs, and probably a bit of genuine nonsense.

Meat market

RETIRED Bathurst butcher Edwin Ryan gave me an old photo of three former local men looking at The Forge (pot hole) on the Macquarie River at Bruinbun, the first time it was known to run dry in 1944.

The men in the photo were Art Aylin, Fred Campbell and Bertie Jenkinson. Unfortunately, the photo isn’t of newspaper quality.

Edwin also discussed the many private butcher shops that operated across Bathurst city, Kelso and Perthville in the years before Blayney Abattoir opened.

Most of these shops operated their own slaughter houses as stock were walked to them from the old Bathurst saleyards.

Of course, every town had its own butcher, and they were expert buyers of suitable livestock.

Big promises

AWAY in the distance I can hear the state election drums beating and they sounded a lot louder during the past week:

  • Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s offer of $25 million for a sports stadium in Orange (with strings attached) drew some offended comments from her own side.
  • Suggestions of yet another review in the Local Land Services system were supported by Labor and ignored by the minister. A government could legislate to make LLS democratic without the cost of a review – listen up, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
  • There may be as many votes for Labor along the banks of the Vale and Georges Plains creek as there probably are in Oberon Shire.

Special night

PERTHVILLE Neighbourhood Group will stage a Bush Poetry and Ballads Night at the Perthville Hall on Thursday, March 7 at 7pm as a group fundraiser.

Guest appearances by Harry Bestwick, Mark Ryan, Paul Chapman, Terry Jones, Dave Tonkin, Pat Alexander and Matt Williamson may cater for a lot of “tastes”.

Entry by donation.

Diary dates

  • Friday, March 1: Bathurst Merino Association Ewe Competition north of Bathurst city.
  • Thursday, March 7: Bush Poetry and Ballads Night at Perthville Hall at 7pm.
  • Friday, March 22: Chad Morgan Show at Burraga Hall. Barbecue 6pm, show 7pm.
  • Saturday, March 30: Wether trial shearing at 438 Cow Flat Road, Georges Plains.
  • May 3/4/5: Royal Bathurst Show.
  • Saturday, August 10: Bathurst Merino Association Ram Expo and Working Dog Auction.

Wool report

THE wool market had another good week with all micron categories gaining ground.

The 18 micron and finer wools saw rises of around 40 to 45c/kg and the medium to broad merino wools gained around 20c/kg.

The crossbred wools saw rises of around 20c/kg.

The Northern Market Indicator finished the week on 1995c/kg, up 17c/kg.

Next week will see 39,520 bales on offer nationwide.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh lines

GEORGE was feeling melancholy following a friend’s funeral.

“When I go, love,” he told his tired wife, “I’m going to leave everything to you.”

Agnes gently replied: “You already do, you lazy old buzzard.”


THE judge asked the prisoner if he wished to challenge any of the jury.

“Not really, your majesty,” Fred said, “but I reckon I could go a couple of rounds with the little fat bloke in the middle.”


I’M told that the very first detector was made from a rib of a man. The model hasn’t really been improved on during all those centuries.