Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation helps out grieving family with Western Wool Centre bale donation

By Mal Gill
March 30 2022 - 4:00am
Wool buyer and WA director of the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation, Steve Noa.

WOOL industry help for the family of a five-year-old girl who died earlier this year from an aggressive brain tumour, sparked a bale of wool donation which raised $2504 at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) last week.

Kalgan wool trader Colin Hunt, who trades as Country Wool Marketing, and wife Lyn heard of the plight of Indi and her family at nearby Wellstead and the financial help provided by the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation (MMWIF).

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After reading a heartfelt post by friend and MMWIF WA director Steve Noa on Facebook earlier this month after Indi's death, the Hunts decided to support the foundation by donating a bale of 19.7 micron Merino fleece wool.

Westcoast Wool & Livestock donated its services to put the Hunts' bale up for auction as part of its catalogue at the WWC last week.

Mr Noa, who buys for national trader Endeavour Wools at the WWC, outbid other buyers for the bale, with the proceeds of the sale - $2504 - going to the MMWIF.

"Col's been a part of the wool industry for a long time (he was New South Wales manager for Western Wool Marketing and NSW wool portfolio manager for Elders before moving to WA) and I've known him since we worked together at Queensland Cotton," Mr Noa said this week.

"He and Lyn were very moved by what they read about a very private family near them at Wellstead and their little girl Indi," he said.

"The WA Kids Cancer Support Group had earlier contacted me about this family on a small farm down there to see if the foundation could do something for them.

"Indi was one of four children and she had been diagnosed with an extremely aggressive brain tumour that was very difficult to treat.

"The family had an extremely stressful time, both emotionally and financially where they had sunk all of their available funds into maintaining Indi's quality of life for the time she had left.

"Unfortunately Indi passed away before we could help, but the foundation did take some short-term financial pressure off the family to allow them to grieve Indi's sudden departure.

"I thank Col and Lyn for their generosity and Westcoast Wool & Livestock for donating its services and I hope their donation prompts others in the wool industry to consider donating a bale," Mr Noa said.

The Hunts' donated bale sold on the better of the two trading days at the WWC last week.

Soft demand and sliding prices across the board on the first trading day had continued over from the previous week, as had buyer rejection of lots with higher vegetable matter (VM).

The Western Market Indicator (WMI) shed 29 cents, with fleece micron price guide losses of between 27c (19.5 micron to 1496c per kilogram clean) and 40c (19 micron to 1637c/kg), according to Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX).

A total of 701 bales or 21.2 per cent of the fleece offering was passed in.

Against the odds, the market settled on the second trading day and clawed back some lost ground, with the (WMI) recovering 7c to finish the week at 1424c/kg.

The fleece micron price guides all added rises of between 4c (18 micron to 2094c/kg) and 9c (20 micron to 1367c/kg), but the Merino cardings price guide continued to slide, shedding a further 3c to finish at 940c/kg, down 27c for the week.

According to buyers, the market has held up "surprising well" given global headwinds.

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These include the situation with Russia's attack on Ukraine and its potential to impact global trade, outbreaks again of COVID-19 in some of China's provinces and the potential for lock downs there, as well as a strengthening Australian dollar making exported wool - which is most of it - more expensive because it is paid for in US dollars.

A likely continuation of higher VM rates through autumn shearing is also of concern as Chinese processors look to keep power usage and costs to a minimum - higher VM percentages mean more processing using more power at higher cost to remove it, buyers pointed out, on top of paying shipping costs for wool waste reported last week in Farm Weekly.

This week the WWC will continue with larger offerings, with an extra 1901 bales taking the offering to 10,621.

AWEX projects the national offering will jump almost 3000 bales to 48,123.

Boost for final total

A bale of donated wool was also sold last week at live auctions in Melbourne, increasing the amount raised for the MMWIF on both sides of the country to $6350.

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The foundation is named after Michael 'The Legg' Manion, a larger-than-life, gregarious wool buyer who died aged 61 after a short battle with cancer in 2014.

Mr Noa knew Mr Manion personally when they both worked as wool buyers in Melbourne.

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