Hello I’m Adele Offley and my greatest passion is wool.
Did you know the Woolmark symbol is the second most highly recognised symbol after Coca Cola. No, well I am making it my life mission to ensure everyone values and appreciates the qualities of Australia’s fabulous wool and the Woolmark logo rolls Coca Cola for the number one spot.
I am lucky enough to have been born and raised and still live on the family property near Crookwell, Southern Tablelands of NSW.
Me and my Gran
I have always loved all livestock, particularly sheep and can remember having poddy lambs from an early age and calling them Matilda 1, Matilda 2, Matilda 3 (my favourite movie at the time). I always had a poddy lamb to look after throughout my childhood, and even today I still get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I see a lamb wiggling its tail when it is having a drink of warm milk!
When I was young I would spend all my spare time with my Dad helping out with whatever needed to be done on the farm. Once I hit school, I can recall racing home from school to go help Dad.
As I grew up, I got more involved; instead of watching sheep being shorn from the pram,
I was rouseabouting in the shearing shed. I can recall the many times when shearing was on I just so happened to have a ‘sickie’ from school so I could help out in the shed. The alternative was that my school absentee notes would say ‘I was required to help in the shearing shed’, Surprisingly a lot of teachers didn’t find it to be an acceptable excuse, but I sure did!!!
I can even remember in year 11 requesting my exams be moved forward so I could be in the shed at shearing time. I even missed a school excursion to the snow rather than miss a week in the shearing shed at home.
Sheep in the snow on the farm
There is nothing quite like a shearing shed; the smell of lanolin, the feel of wool and the atmosphere is amazing, and not to mention the yarns the shearers can tell.
As part of my HSC I undertook a Certificate II in Agriculture and a Certificate II in Animal Studies in order to further my agricultural knowledge. Once I had completed my HSC, and in between exams, I helped out on the farm in every way I could – jetting sheep, lamb marking, drenching sheep, you name it I did it… all bar the shearing! There is a lot of work involved with sheep but it’s very rewarding at the same time, and I’ve never stopped learning while I work with them.
I then attended TAFE where I undertook a Certificate IV in Wool Classing. It was a great experience to interact with all the other students who shared my passion for wool. The age range varied from mid-teens to later 50’s, signifying that a passion for wool can cross the generation gap. I thought it was fantastic to learn with a group who were so driven to learn more about the wool industry too!
Whilst studying at TAFE, I was lucky enough to help out with a Careers Day for the Goulburn district’s high school students. I was assisting with the shearing demonstration to try and encourage these kids to consider doing a wool classing course or shearing course, and to educate them about the skills shortage within the industry.
Whilst attending TAFE we got the opportunity to go on an excursion to Fletchers in Dubbo where I got to see the Wool combing plant, and WOW what an experience that was!
For someone who had grown seeing wool on a regular basis, e.g. on a sheep’s back, on the wool table, etc. it was remarkable to see this wool being turned into tops (see picture below – no, not an actual top…yet) and the processes it takes. Unfortunately it has since closed, which I think is devastating for the Australian wool industry as most of our wool is being processed offshore.
I also went on to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration and have just recently gained a Diploma of Agriculture. Whilst studying the diploma I was very disappointed to see the low numbers of students enrolled in the agriculture courses
I have had an exciting start to the year being recently named the Crookwell Showgirl for 2013. Having being born and growing up and now working in the area I was very honoured to represent my small country town.
Another added bonus of the showgirl experience was going to Dubbo for a Personal Development weekend, where I learnt so many new skills from public speaking, to good posture and met so many other young women with a passion for agriculture. It was just fantastic
Me presenting the Kevin Coves Memorial Trophy to Alan McCormack Jnr (Walwa Stud), the ram in this photo was the winner of this trophy at the Crookwell Show 2013 .
Whilst I didn’t make it past the zone final it has inspired me to tell other young girls to give it a go and whilst they at it why not purse a career in agriculture
Another highlight for 2013 was the opportunity to help set up the South East Queensland district exhibit for the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.
‘Why South East Queensland?’ you might say. Because they asked that’s why They put a message on social media asking for help and I jumped at the chance! I didn’t know much about the different produce grown in Queensland compared to Southern New South Wales e.g. sugar cane so it was a great opportunity to learn and have amazing experience!
I would like to encourage everyone, regardless of background, to seriously consider agriculture as a career option There is a huge diversity of roles and opportunities on offer in the agriculture sector.
Watch this great video by Adele here