An open farm day at Brian Hales' farm on Sunday will feature a range of exotic and historic sheep.

These sheep are diverse in their backgrounds, and equally diverse in the fibre they produce.

Hales says this fibre will be on display for people to see and perhaps select if they wish to engage in a craft.

Hales has supplied and supported many groups over the past year and says he is amazed with the talent that is demonstrated by crafters.


In outlining the history of his exotic sheep Hales says many of his breeds date back to pre-Industrial Revolution times when farming was just a cottage industry and when sheep were farmed to support the needs of the family.

"Amazing skills were developed and handed down through generations. While this was happening the animals were being increasingly well cared for as animal husbandry and stock management grew," Hales said.

"However, with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution and the need for mega lots of consistent fibre, the cottage crafters were forced from the land by the land barons who sought to mass produce wool to supply the wool producing factories."

Hales said many of these crafters emigrated to New Zealand. Here, they established large holdings from the virgin environment. Their skills of animal husbandry and stock management that they had retained were of great benefit.

"But the demand was for mass production. So out the back door went the cottage crafts and into the farm labour force went mum and the kids."

This was how Hales' farm, and many others in the Wimbledon district, were established.

Hales says he is very proud of the fibre production from his farm over the many years, however, he says there is something missing.

"It's the desire to see the uniqueness of many sheep fibres that has led to the establishment of my many exotic breeds. Creative crafts are increasing and I have seen some wonderful totally unique creations."


Hales says any individual, or members of any groups, clubs or organisations that would like to collect a samples of these wools can do so on the day.

"You may wish to exhibit your skills in the use of these fibre at my next Exotic Sheep Shearing Day which will be held on Labour weekend, Sunday, October 25."

Hales says he also hopes to hold a series of felting workshops in his woolshed during the winter, but he will have more information on that during the year.

In the meantime Hales says it is all happening on his farm on Sunday, which is part of Wellington Anniversary weekend.

"There will be lots and lots of unique fibre different in colours, lengths, microns and crimps."

These will all be available in his woolshed at 6472 Route 52, Herbertville, on Sunday from 11am to 2pm.

Tea and coffee will be available.