Today’s guest blog comes from self confessed “townie” turned #youthinag wool lover Lucy Collingridge
This is Lucy’s story
“Picture this. You’re 15 years old. It’s the January school holidays and you’re visiting family on their farm in the Central West of NSW. It’s first thing in the morning, the sun is hot, it’s going to be a scorcher. You’re introduced to the shearing team and they explain what’s going to happen in the shed today. The shearers will skillfully and efficiently remove the wool from the sheep . It’s then the rousies job to pick up and throw the fleeces, before cleaning the board for the shearer to bring out the next sheep. You’ve been given the job of picking up the belly wool off the board and stacking it in the corner, as well as helping the rousies and penning up when you can. You are equal parts excited and nervous, but you can’t wait to give it a go.
CLICK. There go the overheads clicking into gear as the shearers pull their cords to start their day. It’s quick work but you are enjoying it, and learning all about wool and shearing.
Hi, my name is Lucy Collingridge and I am a self confessed wool lover. Originally from Cootamundra, I am currently working as a Biosecurity Officer for the Central West Local Land Services in Nyngan. Although I am working in pest animal management, my true passion in agriculture is in sheep in wool production.
The above recount is how my morning unfolded on the day that I fell in love with the Australian Wool Industry. Having not grown up on the land, my opportunities to be exposed to Australian agriculture were limited as a child. However, as a teenager I was lucky enough to visit family in the Central West who were keen to let me help out on the farm and learn about agriculture.
Visiting family every school holidays, I was exposed to many facets of farming. Sowing, harvesting, lamb marking, mustering, drafting, and shearing. I thrived on learning more and more about farming and I thoroughly enjoyed spending my holidays working. Why, you ask? Because there is no better feeling than being on the land, out in nature, and enjoying your surrounds while working hard and at the end of the day being able to look back on what you have achieved with pride. Whether it be drenching a couple of mobs or harvesting a couple of paddocks, it is a very rewarding feeling to look back on your productive day on the farm.
The sheep and wool industry has been a passion of mine from the early days. Although, my high school years were spent parading cattle with the school show team, I really enjoyed the sheep and fleece junior judging as it was an opportunity to extend my basic knowledge on the fibre. Studying agriculture for my HSC gave me an understanding of Australian agriculture and lead me to studying at university. Never did I think that a “town kid” would be heading to Armidale to study a Bachelor of Agriculture, with the plan of entering the sheep and wool industry. But that is exactly what happened! I couldn’t part from the industry that I had fallen in love with only 3 years earlier.
I have been truly lucky to have found the industry that I love. It has given me many opportunities to travel, study, and be involved with many agricultural shows, such as stewarding at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and being over-judge at the Cootamundra Show Young Judges Competition Group 9 Final. I have met many people from all walks of life, who have all welcomed me with open arms. I cannot recommend being involved with the sheep and wool industry highly enough.”