Historical information

Originating in New Zealand, the Drysdale, represented by Bilby Bill, was developed in the 1930s at Massey University (Canterbury) by crossing a coarse haired Romney and the hardy Cheviot breed.

First imported to Australia in 1975, the Drysdale, due to a genetic abnormality, produces coarse, long staple fleece. This same gene also gives them their horns, something that generally does not occur in the parent breeds. Their fleece grows very fast, up to 25cm every six months; as such shearing is carried out twice a year. The coarse and hard wearing wool is mostly used for the manufacture of carpets.

The Drysdale is a medium to large stocky sheep, weighing approximately 55kg and produces about 6 to 8kg of fleece per animal annually, which is 35 to 45 microns in diameter.

The yarn used on the National Wool Museum’s Axminster Gripper Loom to make the Manor House Rug is spun from the wool of Drysdale sheep.

Physical description

Taxidermied male Drysdale sheep. Medium sized animal with white body coloration. Large horns protruding from the top of the skull.