Author(s): Timothy Lee
If Australia's economy was said to ride on the sheep's back, it was mostly the broad back of the robust Peppin merino. From the inhospitable plains of southern Australia emerged a wool-producing merino that would change the face of world agriculture and commerce. Wanganella (pronounced Won-ga-nella) is the epic story of how an English emigrant sheep-breeding family staked everything on a conviction: that they could develop an animal capable of withstanding the harsh climate and vast plains of Australia's inland. Despite much heartbreak, they succeeded spectacularly. Wool from the Peppin merino to which the family gave its name helped make Australia a modern industrialised nation. With its long, dense wool the Peppin transformed Europe's textile industry, helped changed world fashion and forged new pastoral frontiers in a dozen countries. To this day it remains the world's most influential ovine bloodline, and its story has become entwined with some of the most momentous events in Australian history.