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Women Behind Wool

Women Behind Wool is a podcast about the women of the Australian Merino Wool Industry. Join your hosts Skye Manson and Lady Kate Knitwear's Penny Ashby as they introduce you to CEO's, researchers, TV hosts, shearers and shed hands alongside those who're cooking, cleaning, mustering, drenching and helping to bring up the next generation of wool growers in our country.

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Warning: This podcast has few episodes.

This means there isn't enough episodes to provide the most popular episodes. Here's the rankings of the current episodes anyway, we recommend you to revisit when there's more episodes!

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Pip Smith's wool and the farm to fabric cycle

Pip Smith and her husband Norm run a holistic fine merino operation near Wellington in NSW and they absolutely love the fibre they produce, they believe in their wool and are proud of how they manage their farm to get the best for their animals.These guys are holistic farmers, who don’t mules their sheep, the use SRS techniques and don’t mules their sheep and after many conversations, trips overseas, research and testing, Pip Smith has been able to not only sell their wool directly to a processor in China, but they also receive a portion of that processed wool back to their farm, which Pip then has turned into scarves, baby wraps, beanies and so on.The path to get to this point was long, and with many hurdles, but now that Pip has broken the back of the system, she’s happy to share her contacts, her learnings and to generally help anyone else who’s interested.


4 Jul 2021

Rank #1

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Australia's first professional wool classer Anne Cooper

Anne Cooper believes she was the first professional female wool classer to work in shearing sheds along the eastern seaboard of Australia. As she recounts her story with Skye, she recalls how disruptive it was to have a women in charge of the shearing shed in this time. Shearing contractors and farmers were so put out that Union meetings were called about the issue and in some cases Anne was asked to provided written reports on her wool classing (a requirement that was never required prior) Can you image what that would have been like?! Find out here today.


27 Jun 2021

Rank #2

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Kelly Dowling is a woman of all trades when it comes to wool

There isn't much in sheep and wool production that this woman can't do! Kelly Dowling runs a 30,000 head superfine merino wool operation in partnership with her Mum, Dad and Brother at Dalton near Gunning in the NSW southern tablelands. Not only is Kelly a classic no-fuss high achiever - she's is in charge of all the wool classing, all stages of sheep husbandry, genetics, general maintenance, book keeping, cooking, being a mother and a bit of advocacy when she can - but we also love that she's never been fussed about feminism and perhaps that's why she's achieved so much as a #womanbehindwool.Because Kelly has had a hand in so many facets of wool production – there is no better person – to answer your questions. Thank you to those of your who reached out on Instagram, Kelly will answer your questions in the second part of this podcast.


20 Jun 2021

Rank #3

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Jess Webb has done the numbers and wool's future looks brightest

Before buying her familys farm near Uralla, Jess and her husband crunched the numbers and found that wool had the most exciting and financially beneficial future. They did not get into wool for emotional reasons, but because its future was the most viable of any sutiable agricultural pursuit in their part of Australia.We love Jess Webb's story because it is reflective of so many everyday women working on wool farms, she's a mum to two young children, she makes business decisions and is a representitive on three Boards including the locally run Fleece to Fashion organisation.Ticket sales for Fleece to Fashion, 10 & 11 September 2021 go on sale in June. Find out more information here.


6 Jun 2021

Rank #4

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Joanne Howarth's innovative wool packaging for the food industry

In a former life, Joanne Howarth, the now CEO of Planet Protector Packaging used so much polystyrene packing she felt like she was single handedly destroying the planet. She set about finding an alternative for food packing in Australian, preferably one that was natural. After researching all sorts of fibres including cotton trash and coconut hemp, she was blown away by the thermal properties of wool. Now she’s on a mission to replace polystyrene with wool. We delight in Joanne’s story because she’s a city girl, who had no idea or emotional attachment to wool and is now its biggest convert. She has a dogged determination to tell the world about wool’s sustainability attributes, its incredible insulation capabilities not to mention its ability to be 100% biodegradable.If you are interested in Joanne's Ewe Beauty campaign - calling on all Australian's to get behind this push to bring wool processing back to Australian shores. You can find more information here.


30 May 2021

Rank #5

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Dr Meredith Sheil should be in the Wool Industry Hall of Fame

You may not know Paediatrician, Dr Meredith Sheil but she should be a household name in the Australian wool industry. Dr Sheil is the inventor of TriSolfen, the topical anaesthetic and antiseptic solution used on lambs at lamb marking in a huge number of Australian sheep farms. What this woman has achieved is perhaps the biggest animal health innovation in the wool industry ever and we think we should all know more about her story.


23 May 2021

Rank #6

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Catriona Rowntree is wool's best PR agent

Catriona Rowntree doesn’t have a background in the wool industry but has a genuine love for the fibre and her enthusiasm for wool is endless. So much so that after seeing a daggy TV story on the wool industry, she was compelled to call Australian Wool Innovation and offer her services to help promote wool. She's now been an ambassador for AWI for more than 10 years.


16 May 2021

Rank #7

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Three generations of women on one farm

Hidden away in the hills of southern New South Wales near Bookham, is a female farming operation to behold. At 'Kingslea' three generations of women from the Spittle family are working to keep the family's longstanding wool farming dream alive.Caroline Spittle is in charge, at the age of 87, alongside her daughter Rosie Mitchell, with the occasional helping hand from her grand-daughter, Atty Mitchell who is also an International catwalk model.


9 May 2021

Rank #8

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What is Women Behind Wool?

Welcome to Women Behind Wool an initiative shining a light on the female faces of the Australian Wool Industry.Hosted by Lady Kate Knitware's Penny Ashby and podcaster Skye Manson this podcast and short film series tells you the stories of women achieving great things in wool. You will meet women supporting the next generation of wool growers while also making their businesses more sustainable and innovative, as well as CEO's, models, TV hosts, ground breaking researchers and more.womenbehindwool.com.au


29 Apr 2021

Rank #9