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Kirkpatrick, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692 2007 , 'History', in JB Kirkpatrick and KL Bridle (eds.), People, Sheep and Nature Conservation: the Tasmanian Experience , CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, pp. 10-43.

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Sheep first nibbled the native grasses of Tasmania, at Risdon, in 1803. In the mid-nineteenth century a steep growth in their numbers ceased. The growth had been largely unaffected by thylacines, the Black War, poaching and other forms of early colonial larceny. However, with the attainment (or more) of carrying capacity, scab and fluke beset sheep, and rabbits beset the runs. Despite these challenges, graziers bred world-renowned Merinos fit for ecological and economic purposes and devised land management and stock strategies to maintain their pastures. A flirtation with the genes of the wrinkly Vermonts, the 1890s drought, and the introduction and take-off of the green blowfly on the mainland of Australia almost killed the Tasmanian sheep breeding industry. By the early twentieth century the largely native pastures were degraded, scattered with gorse and rippling with rabbits. In the mid-twentieth century a convergence
of technologies for land clearance, pasture improvement and pest control, with high prices for wool, led to a linked surge in wool production and the clearance of large areas of native ecosystems. Native animal and plant species responded variously to all these changes as did the incidence of fire in the runs.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Kirkpatrick, JB
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
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© Jamie Kirkpatrick and Kerry Bridle 2007

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