Off the sheep’s back

A record Corriedale ram sheepskin on display in the wool section at the Dunedin Winter Show. —...
A record Corriedale ram sheepskin on display in the wool section at the Dunedin Winter Show. — Otago Witness, 10.6.1924
On the  opening day of the British Empire Exhibition, Sir J.A. Cooper contributed an article on Empire wool, in which he says that the predominant part played by the British dominions in providing wool for the commercial needs of England is only realised vaguely.

In the year 1800 the total imports amounted to 7,000,000 pounds. In the same year the total production of England and Wales was 94,000,000lb, so that at that date the total wool imported was only approximately 7 percent of the total required by Great Britain. From 1851 to 1923 supplies from Imperial sources increased from 11,800 bales to 1,903,000 bales, or from 12.10 percent to 84.28 percent of the whole. The foundations of the great Australian sheep farms were laid about the close of the eighteenth century. Wool development in New Zealand came later, but was also very extensive. Although in 1850 New Zealand had an exportable surplus of only 1502 bales, by 1890 this number had increased to 292,724.

The British Government, by the bold stroke of purchasing the entire Australian and New Zealand clips for the seasons 1916-17 to 1919-20, secured the double Imperial objects of ensuring the supplies vitally necessary for this country, and of putting the Australian and New Zealand growers on a firm financial basis instead of leaving them with their wool locked up until shipping became available. At the termination of the war the British Government had huge stocks of wool on hand, very largely in Australia and New Zealand. On December 31, 1920 there were over 2,600,000 bales remaining, and the British Australian Wool Realisation Association (BAWRA for short) was formed to realise this enormous stock concurrently with the new clips or "free wool" of the dominion growers.

To-day BAWRA’s work is practically done; but few bales remain to be sold. The fact that during the last three years the trade has been able to absorb not only the wool produced during that period, but also these huge war accumulations, is surely significant. It can be stated that since the war the world’s production of wool has decreased, and the consumption increased.  In Australia there would seem to be unlimited possibilities, but the outlook for an increase on a great scale is uncertain.

In New Zealand the last 20 years have been years of steady progress broken only by the great slump of 1920-21, from which it has now fully recovered. The satisfactory condition of its mutton and lamb trade with high prices of wool, will tend towards increased production.

Greyhound race with live hares


Once more the Dunedin Coursing Club has held a meeting, and this is what we read (ODT, June 7, 1923): "The dogs had all the best of the courses. 13 out of 22 hares being killed. Some of the hares were miserably weak. One hare was so weak that the dogs were not unleashed, and in several instances the courses were very short before the kill took place." Truly, we have some wonderful sportsmen in our midst! Two dogs hunt the one hare in coursing, but the club has "gone one better" in using "miserably weak hares," whose chances of escape were practically nil.

Not long ago some of the officials of the Coursing Club took great pains to apprise us of the alleged fact that only strong, healthy hares were used, and also of the alleged fact that there were very few kills.

I would like to ask how much longer the public is going to allow dust to be thrown in its eyes?

— I am, etc, Mrs W.R. Wilson, Seacliff, June 9

ODT, 11.6.1924  (Compiled by Peter Dowden)