The Big Ewe Turn

Merino Sheep, Beamesfield Farm, Dunedoo, NSW

Merino Sheep, Beamesfield Farm, Dunedoo, NSW

Each year the CWA supports a boutique or struggling product/industry and this year we have chosen wool.

Australia is the biggest producer of wool in the world, producing 50% of the world’s merino wool.

NSW is the largest wool-producing state, with over 36% of the national flock, which equates to over 35 million sheep! Considering there are around 7 million people in NSW, that’s about 5 sheep for every man, woman and child! Quick quiz – how many dinners with Tom Cruise would that be?

Wool production is a major industry for Australia and NSW, however producers have been facing significant challenges over the last decade, which have resulted in a decline in the demand for wool, including:

  • Changes to wool marketing arrangements
  • Rising production costs
  • The high value of the Australian dollar
  • Economic upheaval in many countries traditionally considered to be large purchasers of Australian wool
  • Fashion trending away from wool products
  • Strong competition from other fibres like cotton and polyester both of which are less expensive to produce and  process than wool
  • The growing threat of wild dogs (There’s a topic for another day…)


A single merino fibre is finer and softer than a human hair and has other amazing properties that make it universally appropriate in clothing, house furnishings, upholstery and bedding.

Australian wool producers have made a concerted effort to reduce the “prickle factor” in wool – the itchy, scratchy feeling when wearing a wool garment.

Wool is:

  • Safe – wool has a naturally high UV protection, higher than most synthetics and cotton
  • Fire Retardant – as a fabric made entirely of wool doesn’t readily catch fire. Even if it does, it burns slowly and self-extinguishes when the source of the flame is removed
  • Biodegradable – when a natural Merino wool fibre is disposed of it takes only a few years to decompose increasing soil fertility
  • Breathable – Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour and sweat next to the skin making it extremely breathable keeping you warm in winter, yet cool in summer
  • Durable – A wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times without breaking and still have the power to recover and return to its natural shape so top quality wool products stay looking good for longer. The natural elasticity of wool fibre allows garments to stretch when being worn and then return to their original state, meaning less chance of garments sagging or losing their shape (unlike me!!)
  • Easy Care – Wool’s fibres have a natural protective layer which prevents stains from being absorbed, they also pick up less dust as they are static resistant
  • Anti-allergenic – making it ideal in bedding and carpets for asthma sufferers as it resists dust mites. Studies show that wool bedding can also aid sleep by up to 25% and is particularly beneficial in helping babies sleep better
  • A natural insulator – helping to drive down energy bills.


Or let us show you how to make them!!

wool ball blue

One thought on “The Big Ewe Turn

  1. good informative article, we might add that Prince George’s shawl is made from superfine Australian merino wool, designed by an Australian woman, ewe can take a bow……

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