BIG DEAL IN SHEEP.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MERINOS.
ONE THOUSAND HEAD FOB
It was in 1841 that Mr. John Mur- ray, founder of the well-known Murray strain of merinos, established his stud, and since that time it has been the proud boast of those who have carried on the work that no fresh blood has, been imported to assist the progeny of the original stock. Tho result has been a masterpiece in the line of breeding, and had the initial efforts of the parent studmaster been in less experienced hands the result must have been dis- astrous. At the time of his death, however, the-stud was divided among four competent sons-John, of Rhine Park ; Alick, of Mount Crawford ; Tom Hope, of Mount Beevor; and Willie, of Cappeedee. Mr. Alick Murray is the only one of the brothers who survives. Mount Beevor passed into the hands of Mr. Norman Brice after the death of Mr. Tom Hope Murray. Rhine Park is still carried on by the sons of Mr. John Murray, and one of his family manages Cappeedee.
(Nearly Three-quarters of a Century's
It is 71 years since the foundations of the present Murray stud were laid, and South Australian sheep are known by tho type that they have established (says the "Register"). Year after year they set the fashion in the State by the production of big-framed sheep absolutely devoid of wrinkles-"plain bodied" is the correct term-and at the same time they crowded a fleece on that enormous carcase, which was noted for boldness in tho texture of its fibre and the exceptional depth of its staple. The crinkly types, which are the curse of the shearers, came into fashion and went out again, but the Murray strain has held its own over this long period. Another feature which the father and sons never lost sight of was the consti- tution-an important factor when the variations of climate in the Common- wealth are taken into consideration. That to-day is going to prove one of the main attractions to interstate
buyers of ewes for breeding purposes. Throughout the 71 years the Murrays have been handling their sheep they
have never resorted to artificial treatment. Their stud and flocks have had to stand the brunt of all climatic changes, other- wise they would never have attained the constitution among their sheep which is being sought for all the world over. They have created a type which has been copied by other South Aus- tralian breeders, and through their initiative tho attention of others has been directed to tho State.
A World-wide Reputation. Nowhere else in the Commonwealth is the same typo of sheep to be found, and there is always great competition among the wool buyers of America and Europe, for the coarse-haired, bold- character wools grown in South Aus- tralia. That fact has recently influ- enced tho growers of South Africa to turn their attention to that State for their supplies of rams, and for a con- siderable time the squatters of West Australia have recognised that the con- stitution of the South Australian sheep aro best suited to tho varying climates, of their north-western coastal districts. A few stud sheep have occasionally found their way to the eastern States but it is not until the last few days that anything like a big deal has been made by buyers from that direction.
A Bright Future.
During tho last three shows it has been indicated by the succession of suc- cesses which have been attained by local studmasters what superb results may bo secured by the use of certain strains of eastern blood on the big plain-bodied sheep of South Australia, and shrewd judges havo been attracted by the re- sults occasioned by such an infusion of blood. Moro than one of the ad-
judicators recently engaged by the Royal Agricultural Society spoke in terms of warm approbation of the qual- ity of the prizewinners at the show last week, but it rested with Mr. D. M. Aitkin, tho judge in the sections for English breeds of sheep, to advance a practical opinion of his confidence in tho future of South Australian-bred merinos. After the show he spent sev- eral days travelling around the various studs of the State, and before he left by the Melbourne express on Tuesday he announced that he had completed arrangements for tho purchase of 1000 high-grade merino ewes for delivery in Victoria. Five hundred of them are Murray-bred sheep, and the balance will be drawn from other flocks of prominence. The deal did not rest there. Mr. Aitkin is ono of the best- known sheep men in tho Common- wealth, and he does not buy a pig in a poke. He has weighed the pros and cons carwfully, and as further evidence of his confidence in South Australia as tho suppliers of mothers for the flocks of the Commonwealth he has made ar- rangements for on option over another 2000 ewes from the State for next year's delivery. This is undoubtedly tho biggest compliment yet paid to South Australian breeders, and the order coming from such a source, is all tho more satisfactory.