In 1797, the first Merino sheep, derived from the famed Royal Merino Flocks of Spain, were introduced into Australia. Although these sheep had already evolved a fine fibre, further selective breeding by Australian farmers soon produced the authentic Australian Merino with its even finer wool. This wool was unlike any other, being built for extremes: breathable in summer, insulating in winter, yet exceptionally soft and lightweight.

During the 18th century, the British navy halted merino-wool imports from Saxony and Spain, hence allowing Australia to rise and fill the gap. The original stock had been introduced via the Second Fleet, and crossbred to reach a current population of around 70 million, with some 70% descended from that original foundling flock.

In 1839, one of the most amazing movements of stock in the fledgling colony Australia was undertaken. In a journey of approximately 750 miles (1,210 Kms) and taking six months, Alexander Buchanan, newly arrived from Canada, led a venture to overland a mob of approximately 18,000 sheep from south eastern NSW to Adelaide. This is approximately the distance from London to Prague.

Once they left the trade route between Sydney and Melbourne at the Murrumbidgee River, Alexander and his men really were in hostile and unknown territory. Alexander’s diary recounts of how they slept with pistols under their pillows "as there were bush rangers about".

At a point now known as Mount Dispersion a principal supporter of the venture, Frederick Dutton took possession of 5,000 sheep and laid the foundation of the Anlaby flock that exists today.

The sheep station flourished and Frederick was soon the owner of one of the largest flocks in South Australia of 60,000 sheep. The genetics of the flock were honed and improved with the importation of merino rams from Spain throughout the mid-1800s. With the first bale of wool from South Australia sold is London by Anlaby.

The best of the old and the new continue at Anlaby. The genetic improvement continues refining the comfort, softness and fineness of the wool, while the sheep continue to graze on the rolling hills and to take shelter under the same eucalyptus trees that provided comfort for the original flock.

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