Don't miss Wool Weekend at Flagstaff Hill

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Known for its fun and interactive school holiday activities, Flagstaff Hill has something special planned for the middle weekend of the holidays.

On “Wool Weekend” from July 6-7, attendees will be able to discover the rich history of wool, from its origins to modern day uses.

Flagstaff Hill Village Activations Coordinator Kate Wake said that everything from shearing to knitting and everything in between would be highlighted.

“Over the weekend we will be showing demonstrations of traditional blade shearing with some local blade shearers from Orford,” she said.

“Then we will have somebody here preparing the fleece doing some carding and combing and demonstrating the difference between those two techniques.

“Then spinning the wool into yarn… using the yard to do knitting, crochet and felting. We’ll also have some demonstrations of dyeing and needlepoint felting.”

Wool Weekend is also part of the Warrnambool Storytelling Festival, with yarns to be spun in every sense of the word.

“We’ll have some storytelling going on – some kids’ woolly sheep stories and some really fascinating historical stories about the origins of felting and knitting sweaters all over the world,” Ms Wake said.

“We’ve got the cannon firing on Saturday, we also have some nice winter warming specials up in the tea rooms for the whole school holidays, but over wool weekend we’ll have shepherd’s pie.”

Father and son shearers Terry and Luke Rowbottom will demonstrate the traditional technique of shearing sheep with blade shears.

“I’ve been doing blade shearing demos for over 25 years now,” said Luke.

“I just took it up as an interest, as a trade that was disappearing, you never saw it very much.

“Keep the history alive.”

Luke then taught the blade shearing technique to his father. As it turned out, Terry had a real knack for it.

“I’m a machine shearer. I took on blade shearing when I was over 60. I learnt it from Luke,” said Terry.

“On my second year of blade shearing I won a Victorian title.”

The pair said that while you couldn’t shear as many sheep in a day with blades compared to machine shearing, there were advantages, with many sheep appreciated the “number four” haircut from a blade shear compared to a “number one” hair cut with a machine.

The wool also begins to regrow quicker after a blade shear.

“With the blades, it’s a clean cut. With a machine, because of the vibrations of it… it leaves a different texture,” Luke said.

He encouraged everyone to come to Flagstaff Hill on the weekend, where they will be performing live blade shearing demonstration, with activities for kids too.

“Everyone come down and enjoy the weekend. I’ve got some timber cut outs that are made for kids and some hand-pieces… spray them up with shaving cream and the kids can go for their life.”

All demonstrations and activities are included in the regular Flagstaff Hill ticket price. Many of the craftspeople will also have their own woollen goods for sale.

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