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Australian agricultural and rural life



...the Climate of New South Wales [is] peculiarly adapted to the increase of fine woolled sheep... - John Macarthur, 1803

In 1797, John Macarthur imported a small flock of merino sheep (3 rams and 5 ewes) from the Cape of Good Hope with the intention of producing fine fleeced sheep at 'Elizabeth Farm', his property in Parramatta. On Macarthur's return to England in 1801, he took with him samples of the fine woollen fleece shorn from the flocks he had cross bred from these first merinos. Showing the wool samples to key figures in the English wool industry caused much excitement, leading to the publishing of the statement given by Macarthur to Lord Hobart outlining the progress of his sheep breeding enterprise in NSW.

John Macarthur
View of Elizabeth Farm showing the exact spot where the first sheep were shorn in Australia, 1894 / E. Camper


This story has been developed with the support of the State Library of NSW Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

Supported by Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation