Family farewells iconic Strath-Haddon

30 Mar, 2014 01:00 AM
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Mitchell Crosby (left), Landmark stud stock, Strath-Haddon stud principal Peter Dewar, Broomehill, Nathan King and Russell McKay, Elders stud stock, at Strath-Haddon last week preparing for the stud's dispersal sale.
Mitchell Crosby (left), Landmark stud stock, Strath-Haddon stud principal Peter Dewar, Broomehill, Nathan King and Russell McKay, Elders stud stock, at Strath-Haddon last week preparing for the stud's dispersal sale.

ONE of WA's iconic Merino studs, Strath-Haddon is dispersing.

The Dewar family will conduct a complete stud dispersal on-property at Broomehill on Thursday, April 10, commencing at 12 noon.

The stud dispersal will involve about 1100 mixed age stud Merino ewes, 400 2013-drop Merino ram lambs and a selection of stud sires.

While the sale will end an era for the Strath-Haddon brand, it provides a rare opportunity to acquire some of WA's leading Merino genetics.

Since the Dewar family purchased the renowned Haddon Rig's WA stud in 1991, there have been significant changes to the Strath-Haddon sheep.

The sheep have developed into faster maturing, bigger, plainer Merino with extremely long, soft stapled and very defined crimping wools that hold their quality throughout their lives under very diverse commercial conditions and environments.

Strath-Haddon stud principal Peter Dewar took over managing the stud in 1992 and said he had the privilege of working with numerous sheep classers namely Ken Littlejohn, Gordon McMaster, Evan Creswell, Bill Johnston, Jim Watts and Jeff Brown.

"All of the classers were extremely good in their own right but I would have to say Dr Watts was the most influential at the stud," Mr Dewar said.

Dr Watts was employed from 1996 to 2001 and his influence was paramount in changing the skin structure and wool quality on the Strath-Haddon sheep.

"I believe Dr Watts also evolved at that time with us, learning that you must put a correct frame under the sheep," Mr Dewar said.

Every Strath-Haddon sheep from this time on has been individually weighed and scrutinised from the feet upwards and were classed into specials, frames and wools.

Mr Dewar has continued the concept since 2002 when he took over arranging the joinings from Dr Watts.

Strath-Haddon was the first level one registered SRS stud in WA and the evolved Strath-Haddon Merino is more suited to WA conditions and its clients' demands.

Clients' Merino flocks are known for their fertility and the ease in selling surplus sheep – often for a premium.

There are not many wool sales throughout the year that Strath-Haddon's clients aren't among the top prices and volumes sold.

Mr Dewar said the Strath-Haddon sheep were the best true medium to fine wool sheep in Australia and the sale offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure genetics of this quality.

The Dewar family held its first ram sale in 1991, where 120 rams were offered, and they achieved excellent sale results throughout the subsequent 22 years.

A total of 3491 Strath-Haddon rams have been sold at its on-property auction, mostly to WA and occasionally interstate buyers.

The Strath-Haddon on-property ram sales were highlighted at the 2004 ram sale where 199 rams sold for an average of $1194.

Following the on-property ram sale, Strath-Haddon sold rams privately to clients throughout the State.

The largest order ever received at the stud was for 200 rams that sold to Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest's Anaconda station, Leonora.

The stud sold more than 600 rams that year.

It did well at the Katanning two-tooth and four-tooth rams sales, highlighted with the sale of sire Strath-Haddon HB 9.33 to the Kolindale and Brickhouse studs for $26,000 in 2001.

Some $50,000 worth of the ram's semen was also sold throughout the State.

Since Strath-Haddon was directly derived from the historic Haddon Rig stud, its genetic pedigree dates back to the late 19th century.

The Haddon Rig stud was established in 1882 at Warren, New South Wales, and it is one of the key parent studs of Australian Merinos.

It remains among Australia's biggest Merino studs.

The Haddon Rig stud expanded its operations into WA in 1963.

In 1991 Gavin Dewar and family, Broomehill, purchased the WA stud, which comprised 3857 sheep, in its entirety.

The new Strath-Haddon name was fashioned from the name of the property where Haddon Rig WA was located at Strathaven and the stud's original name Haddon Rig.

The Haddon Rig Merino is renowned for its wool quality and predictability of breeding due to its pedigree.

The purity of genetics has been paramount to Strath-Haddon, and only on occasions have outside bloodlines been introduced.

During 1982 a Collinsville ram was purchased and the Centenary family formed.

In the later years some Charinga and Nerstane sires were introduced.

For further information contact Peter Dewar on 0428 241 344, Landmark's Mitchell Crosby 0438 918 992 and Tom Bowen 0428 612 914, Elders Russell McKay 0428 214 129 and Nathan King 0488 582 455.

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