Ross M. W. Bennetts


May 13th, 2009
Armidale Wool Expo 2009

Armidale Wool Expo 2009

On Sunday morning I wandered down the hill to the flood plain that is Armidale’s Creeklands where the New England Wool Expo 2009 was being held.I’d never been to a Wool Expo before and was not quite sure what to expect. It was quite interesting even though I’m not a sheep farmer nor a knitter, and I enjoyed taking these photographs.The New England Yard Dog Chamionships were being held while I was there. Amazingly well trained dogs. I don’t think my old hound could ride on the sheep’s back like that these days.There was also a dog jumping demonstration going on. It looks like this dog’s owner knows how to levitate. I wonder if that gives the dog an unfair advantage. ^^Many rural Australians live far from cities, towns and major population centres thus it is not practical nor technically possible to get xDSL or cable  internet in their location. To get online in those areas, a number of ISPs are offering satellite broadband. A few years ago when I was looking into satellite internet it was only available to consumers as a satellite downlink and you needed a dial-up modem and a phone line for the uplink. These days the satellite link is two way with speeds up to 1024kbps down/512kbps up from SkyMesh.Supposedly with active8me unleashed speeds of up to 4Mbps down can be achieved. I wonder how well an IP video conference would work via satellite? Do you use satellite broadband?Somebody called Mike from Guyra seemed to be offerring to connect people’s home computers to the Optus 3g HSPA network via Exetel. I never found Mike to ask him questions, but I grabbed his flyer. Apparently he can get 3.4Mbps and three bars of service up to 32km from a phone tower by using one of the above outdoor directional yagi antennae.I stumbled into the UNE Inter-College Shearing Challenge at one stage.Cleaning up the fleece.And packing it into a big bail. The team from Robb College won the challenge that I watched. Have you ever shorn a sheep?There was a big drop of vampire bait walking around, trying to lure people into donating blood for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Wool Expo cosplay!
In Australia you won’t get paid to donate blood like in some countries. It is purely voluntary. You do get a popper before and a milkshake and a biscuit when you are finished. I donate every ~10 weeks. Do you give blood?The Armidale and New England regions used to be prime finewool Merino country about 20 years ago. I don’t seem to see too many sheep around these days, perhaps it is not as profitable as it used to be.These cute little lambs had been born on the first night of the Expo and someone was running a competition to name them.The Alpaca has become more prominent in this area of late. I thought they were kind of cute from a distance, but up close they appeared a little grumpy. I’d probably be a bit grumpy too if I had been in a small pen for 3 days with packs of strange people all gawking at me.This little white fellow looks sleepy.My supervisor from work was there too, Dr. Lynda Creedy. She is a spinner.And this is her wheel.And some of the end product.Around the corner was an electric spinning wheel. I felt that it looked a little steampunk, but I might be pushing it a bit. Needs more brass. The Armidale Spinners & Weavers also had a hand-cranked wheel.And a little old lady making lace.Every farm needs a big red tractor.Can anyone tell me what on earth this machine does?I will leave you with some blurry shots I took of the gorgeous local models during The Australian Wool Fashion Awards parade that was held at noon. My poor little Sony CyberShot doesn’t seem to like low-light situations. Do you think a monopod would help?

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  • One Response to “ Armidale Wool Expo ”

    1. Edna Kuja says:

      Thanks for that news, coming back soon

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