It’s just like old times at the show

THE Royal Hobart Show has returned to the Showgrounds after a two-year Covid-mandated break.

On the main arena was Agriculture Through the Ages, a production commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania to mark 200 years of agricultural showing in Hobart.

It is a parade of people, animals, tractors, trucks and other heritage artifacts that tell the story of agriculture in Tasmania, set against an audio-visual background.

One of the exhibitors at the show was Brenton Heazlewood of Whitemore in the Meander Valley, who exhibited English Leicester sheep.

His great grandfather first exhibiting at the show in 1891.

Show feature breed English Leicester were popular in 1854 when his family first purchased the Whitemore property.

He says that now it could be classed as a rare breed.

Among his collection is a ribbon from 1948 for Champion English Leicester at the Royal Hobart Show.
“My family brought them every year until the 1960s, then my father came back in 1991 and won the same class they had won in 1891.”

Mr Heazlewood’s 265ha property is a mixed farming business that includes a sheep stud, established in 1871.

The property also grows peas, mixed crops, a variety of seed, and operates seed cleaning. The English Leicester was developed by Robert Bakewell in the mid-18th century to fill the need for a faster maturing meat breed of sheep.

It is one of only a few British breeds that is pure and was used to improve or develop many other breeds of sheep including the Australian Merino.

English Leicesters are a thickset, well-balanced breed of sheep that produce quality flesh and wool.

They are a sound-footed, quiet, easy-management breed that has little lambing trouble and are good mothers.

Their main use in Australia was to mate with the Merino ewe to produce a carcass lamb for export.

Their direct descendant, the Border Leicester superseded them in this role.

They produce a strong, long, heavy fleece with a well-defined crimp of stylish character.

The high lustre of the wool enables it to take dyes very well.

The first documented importation of English Leicesters into Australia was on October 24, 1825, when the Mountaineer arrived in Hobart with sheep brought by the Bryant brothers.

On Wednesday, the Heazelwood’s picked up the Champion award for the English Leicester class, as well as the Supreme Champion Long Wool class for 2021.

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