Saw what? Who are you replying to? Whoever it is, their email didn't show up in 
my inbox.
This is weird. On another list we are currently having a discussion about sheep 
with a retired New Zealand sheep farmer. *Below are the emails:
Peter Frederick wrote:
> I saw that.  Probably not merino though, too nice and white -- Merino  
> sheep make TONS of lanolin, and the wool isn't white when they are  
> sheared, it's tan and VERY greasy (and in the case of a male sheep,  
> rancid, too).
> I'd guess Perendale, nice white and coarse.
> At any rate, poor sheepie is much better off!
> Peter

*A prized yarn from Australia
A lost merino recalls fatter years when Australia’s wealth was in wool

NOT since Australia founded a wool industry almost 200 years ago had the 
country seen a sheep quite like Chris. When a hiker spotted him in the wild 
this week near Canberra, the capital, the merino was weighed down with so 
much wool that he could barely walk. The RSPCA, an animal-welfare charity, 
adopted and named him, and reckoned him to be aged five or six. He had 
probably never been shorn. With help from four colleagues Ian Elkins, a 
champion shearer, relieved Chris of 40kg, an unofficial world record for 
fleece taken from a single sheep.

Chris’s plight accompanied news from Canberra that Australia’s economy grew 
by just 0.2% between April and June, making for an annual growth rate of 2%, 
lower than earlier forecasts. So the story of the merino—who, it is thought, 
strayed from a farmer’s flock—inspired reflections on a bygone era when 
Australia “rode on the sheep’s back”, and wool underpinned the country’s 

The first sheep arrived on the convict ships to Sydney with which Britain 
settled Australia in 1788. John Macarthur, an enterprising grandee, 
initiated the country’s fine-wool industry soon afterwards. He bred an 
Australian merino by crossing Spanish merinos from South Africa with local 
flocks. Macarthur was also a co-leader of the rebellion that overthrew 
William Bligh as governor of New South Wales in 1808. But it is his portrait 
as a wool pioneer, not a rebel, that featured on Australia’s two-dollar 
note, from its introduction in 1966 until its replacement by a coin 22 years 

The wool industry helped to settle Australia’s wide, open spaces. Britain 
bought Australia’s entire clip during the second world war. During the 
Korean war of 1950-51, America’s demand for wool to clothe its troops sent 
prices soaring. Families with outback merino flocks became Australia’s 
richest people. Since then the country’s sheep flocks are thought to have 
halved in number. Today, its biggest customer for wool is China—though iron 
ore has overtaken it as Australia’s largest export commodity.

Australians continue to flock to agricultural jamborees to watch shearers 
compete for the fastest shearing times. Clipping an average fleece of 5kg 
from a sheep shorn once a year usually takes three minutes, says Mr Elkins. 
His team took 45 minutes to clip Chris’s. Shearing enthusiasts will have had 
another record in mind: until Chris lumbered into view, a stray New Zealand 
merino was reported to hold the title for heaviest fleece, at 27kg when it 
was shorn 11 years ago.
John (retired sheep farmer) wrote:
A sheep like that is called a  Hermit Sheep. Most sheep have a strong flock 
instinct and that is used to mob them up during mustering. A hermit sheep 
doesn't have that impulse and is happy on his own. Hermits evade mustering 
and in wild country they can go for a long time without human hand touching 
them. Usually they accumulate 'dags' (lumps of fecal matter attached to the 
wool around the backside). This attracts flies that lay their maggots in the 
skin and the animal dies a horrid death. Also most sheep do not do well with 
a lot of wool. They are healthier and more mobile with a short fleece.

When we bought our sheep property the owner was unable to muster his hermits 
out for counting. Later when we brought them in ourselves we called them 
Free Sheep because they had not been counted in the stock purchase figures.

The previous record fleece was held by Shrek, a merino from the South Island 
High Country. Shrek got a lot of publicity and, amazingly, after he was 
shorn he tamed down very quickly and visited schools and fund raisers, 
getting much media coverage.

When NZ was first settled members of the upper class could get free land 
provided they could stock it. Many sheep were imported from Australia to 
meet the demand and the price of sheep set the Aussie landholders up for 
prosperity. Sheep continued to be the mainstay of the NZ economy until 
recent times when the wool price dropped due to competition from manmade 



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