Tracing Merino

Above: Corringle's Merino sheep.

We hit the road and headed up to Rugby in New South Wales, where we met Rodger and Elizabeth Kelly of Corringle, who supply us with some of the premium Australian Merino wool used in our new collection.

Photography by Will Braden.

Above: Rodger and Elizabeth Kelly.

A new project for Country Road, the Australian Traceable Merino collection allows us to trace each and every fibre to a small number of Australian farms.

Above: And old Southern Cross windmill.

One such farm belongs to Rodger and Elizabeth Kelly. Corringle, which is found in Rugby, New South Wales, has always been Rodger’s home. His father purchased the land of a Scottish man by the name of Alexander, who built the beautiful house Rodger resides in way back in 1908.

Above: Rodger Kelly.

Surrounded by family, the Kelly name dominates the agricultural country that surrounds Corringle. The rock studded country houses flocks of sheep that roam through the seemingly never-ending paddocks. "You need a lot of country to run the numbers," explains Elizabeth.

Above: Susie and Woofie quickly became the stars of the tour.

Come August and it’s shearing time at Corringle – usually a two week process but always dependant on the weather. The Kelly’s shearing shed is one of the biggest in the area with ten shearing stations and the capacity to house 2,500 sheep.

Above: the Merino sheep out the front of Corringle's great shearing shed.

"A good shearer would get through around 140 sheep a day, depending on the size," says Rodger. Once the sheep is shorn, the wool is passed through the skirting table, where the fleece is trimmed of less desirable pieces (such as those parts shorter, dusty or full of burrs). Once skirted, the wool is graded by an expert and placed in the relevant area to be pressed, weighed and made into bales and sent off to sale.

Above: bales of Corringle Merino wool post grading and compressing.

Australian Merino wool is considered a luxurious yarn across the globe. An ideal fabric year-round, the soft-to-touch fibres have a natural ability to keep you warm, regulate body temperature through it's breathability and soak up moisture to keep you dry.

Above: Rodger Kelly looks out over his flock.