Australian Sheep and Wool Show

Heritage Sheep Feature at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, 14 to 16 July 2017

This year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, from 14 to 16 July, will feature the 10 heritage breeds of sheep in Australia: Southdown, Dorset Horn, Hampshire Down; Cheviot, Lincoln, Ryeland, Romney, Dorset Down, Shropshire and English Leicester.

All ten of the heritage breeds arrived in Australia before 1945, with some arriving in the late 1800s, and all originated in the UK.

Since then the heritage breeds have had quite an impact:

  • Ryeland and Corriedale have been crossed with Dorset Horn to produce the Poll Dorset
  • Lincoln has been crossed with Merino to produce Corriedale
  • Lincoln has been crossed with Merino to produce Polwath
  • Southdown has been crossed with Texel to produce Aussiedown
  • Romney has been crossed with Cheviot to produce Perendale
  • Romney has been crossed with Cheviot to also produce Drysdale
  • Southdown has been crossed with Suffolk to produce South Suffolk
  • Dorset Down has been crossed with Southdown to produce the South Dorset Down


The heritage breeds have also been important in their own right as dominant sheep in the early days of the Australian sheep industry and still retain an important place. Importantly, they provide an ongoing source of diversity


It is pleasing, therefore, that one of key judges at this year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show is from the UK: Mr N J (James) Bond is a breeder of heritage sheep and is an accomplished judge of various of the breeds which will feature at this year’s show. He has Dorset Down and Wiltshire Horn sheep – an old English breed which contributed to the development, in the early 1800s – in Cornwall. He participates in the Signet Breeding program, which is similar to Lambplan in Australia


He will judge several of the Heritage sheep breeds at Bendigo on Friday 14 July and will one of the judges for the interbred championships on Sunday 16 July.

In addition to sheep judging at this year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show there will be a display, after the judging has been completed, of the champion ewe or ram of each of the 10 heritage breeds. This display will be accompanied by details of each of the breeds, a display of the wool and garments made from the wool of each breed, and other interesting and useful information about meat quality and about the genetics of sheep breeding and selection.  

We strongly encourage you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity to highlight the diversity and importance of the sheep breeds which have contributed in various ways to the formation and ongoing development of agriculture in Australia and New Zealand.

The time has passed for you the enter sheep in this year's show - entries closed 14 June 2017 - unless you are prepared to pay a late-entry fee. For further details see

You can still participate:

  • Come to the show (keep in mind that overnight stay in Bendigo will be heavily booked at the time of the show)
  • Contact the breed society of your heritage sheep to see if you be of assistance with display material 
  • Let Heritage Sheep Australia know - 0417 052 383 - of anyone you know who has heritage sheep but is unlikely to be aware that this year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show is featuring heritage sheep
  • Suggest sponsors for the event:  Heritage Sheep Australia would greatly welcome financial support for the development of new posters and for the provision of prize money.

For details about judging times for the Heritage sheep breeds at this year's show - see