South Australia’s oldest Merino stud is undoubtedly steeped in history. From humble beginnings starting with one man’s vision, to the fully fledged wool-growing property that it is today, Anlaby’s owners have developed a supply chain which produces premium Merino wool product from the very fleece grown on the farm.
It was back in 1839 that Merino sheep pioneer Frederick Dutton employed a man to walk more than 1000 kilometres with a flock of Merino sheep, from the woolgrowing region of Goulburn in New South Wales to South Australia, where ‘Anlaby’ is today. The trip, which took 9 months, involved travelling into the unknown: there was no established trade route or road, and so ‘Anlaby’ grew from very humble beginnings.
“Now the stud’s been here for 176 years and is very significant in terms of the history of South Australia,” explains Andrew Morphett, who along with Peter Hayward are co-owners of the property. “Anlaby acts as a pocket of untouched history.”
Moving to ‘Anlaby’ allowed Morphett’s life to come almost full circle. Born and raised on a dairy farm in Victoria he then spent 25 years living in the city and working in the finance industry, before wanting a tree change and moving back to the country. Hayward has a similar story and is now still working in the finance industry, but does so from the farm instead of the city.
“We didn't stumble into it; we were dragged into it by the sheep and the fantastic woollen product,” says Hayward.
Instead of selling all the fleece produced on ‘Anlaby’, the owners have gone a step further, setting up a shop to sell stunning Merino wool throws, blankets and scarves, made from the wool produced on the farm.
“It’s not just about us,” says Morphett. “It’s the lady who’s the neighbour who’s a beautiful seamstress and sews the edges on, the other people who do the manufacturing, the scouring and the spinning and making it into tops. It’s not just about us anymore it’s about the ripple effect within the community.”