Teen takes on family’s heritage enterprise

ONE young Tasmanian sheep enthusiast is continuing on his family’s long-time breeding tradition.

George Willows inherited the family’s Nant English Leicester stud when he was just eight years old.

The stud was established in 1945 by George’s grandfather Ian Campbell on the Nant property near Bothwell.

George, who is now 13 years old, inherited the stud after his grandfather passed away.

At the time George was living in Singapore with his family, so the sheep went to the Hogarth family’s property until the family returned to Tasmania couple of years later.

“I’d always been interested in the farm and I’ve always liked sheep,” George said.

In his first year running the stud, George had 25 ewes which produced 35 lambs. Since then, he has continued to grow the stud numbers.

George said the stud operation had also been focusing on improving the carcass and fleece qualities across the flock.

“They’re a dual-purpose breed so they have good carcasses and good wool,” George said.

One of Australia’s most recognisable heritage breeds, English Leicester sheep are known for their long-crimped fleeces.

Microns across the Nant flock average between 36 and 38 and the sheep cut about 7kg to 8kg of wool.

George said the sheep also had unique personalities.

“Most of the time they’re pretty quiet, but they can be a bit naughty and go through fences,” he said.

Some of the wool from the Nant flock is often supplied directly to craft enthusiasts who like using it for wool spinning.

As well as running the stud, George is also a regular competitor in the show ring with his sheep.

This week he is one of a number of Tasmanian sheep breeders competing at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo in Victoria.

George does all the pre-show preparation with the sheep and said he really enjoyed it.

“I get to hear what the different judges say and see the good things about them,” he said.

“It’s a good way to learn what things you need to improve on too.

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