Olde English Babydoll Southdown
Sheep Association of Australia Inc.
Our Statement of Purpose
1. To protect the heritage and preserve the future of the Original Babydoll Southdown sheep in Australia
2. To encourage and promote the ownership and breeding of the Babydoll Southdown sheep
3. To establish a network of communication for owners and breeders of Babydoll Southdown Sheep
4. To develop and maintain the Breed Standard and Showing Guidelines
The Formation of the OEBSSAA
There are relatively few owners of Original Southdown Babydoll sheep in Australia, with the breed being quite rare. Recently there seems to have been a revival of the Babydoll with more people moving to smallholdings and looking for smaller farm stock and/or stock which is easy to manage due to smaller size and there are now waiting lists of people wishing to purchase Babydolls.
However, due to a lack of a breed standard, prospective purchasers of Babydolls in Australia have had little information on what to look for when purchasing Babydolls, and this sometimes leads to disappointment if the Babydoll has been sold by a breeder who is breeding sheep not true to type. Consequently people have ended up with sheep much bigger in size and thus not suitable for the desired outcome. There was also a lack of general information about Babydolls and breeders were working in isolation from each other. This made it difficult to locate stock for sale.
In 2017, these issues were identified and a group of Babydoll breeders formed the OEBSSAA Inc.
The Association was formally incorporated in 2017 and membership forms sent out. A Facebook page was developed where members could share information and ask for advice.
President: Janice Evans
Our farm is called Gully Green and is located around 20kms north of Moama in southern NSW. My husband’s background is rice and cattle farming, but we now have sheep and cropping on our 1200 acre property.
Our sheep are mostly dorper and white dorpers. We really love this breed and they, along with our cropping program, are our main source of income. A few years ago we came across the Original Southdown breed and decided to purchase some as a sideline to the dorpers. Our first stock came from Hillgrove Stud in Victoria and from this foundation flock we now have a total of 43 Original Southdowns. This includes our rams, ewes and lambs. We have used AI and embryo transfer to rapidly increase our numbers. We also have a number of Original Southdown/Dorper cross ewes because we use our Original Southdown rams over our maiden dorper ewes to give them an easier time when lambing. The crosses are wonderful lambs and do very well in the fat lamb market.
We aim to increase our breed until we have around 35 to 40 breeding ewes.
We believe the OEBSSAA will be a great resource to have as it will allow us to network with other breeders and be able to sell and source new stock. We hope that more people join the Association in the future so the breed can continue to flourish.
Treasurer: Geoff Martin
My name is Geoff Martin and in professional life I am an accountant specialising in business management which is how I came to be nominated for and accepted the position of Treasurer of the Babydoll Association.
My first involvement with sheep was as a young boy visiting my grandfather’s merino stud in the Monaro region on the NSW/Victoria border. My father did not carry on the family farming tradition and became a school teacher instead so my interest in sheep was not rekindled until moving to Tasmania as an adult and acquiring some stud Corriedales which worked out quite well as my first wool cheque recovered the full cost of the purchase of the sheep. I continued with these until moving to Victoria and sometime later we bought a number of English Leicesters whose fleece we had processed into yarn which we marketed privately.
My partner, Sue and I developed an interest in the smaller breeds and now run Babydoll Southdowns, Miniature Cheviots and Miniature Harlequins on our property at Elaine situated between Ballarat & Geelong.
Secretary: Sue Curliss
Hi, I’m Sue and I am the Secretary of the OEBSSAA. Geoff and I run Sugargum Farm, in Elaine, a very small town, (read General Store and Pub) between Ballarat and Geelong in Victoria. We have three small breeds of Sheep……Miniature Cheviots, Mini Harlequins and of course, our Babydoll Southdowns. We have had Babydolls for three and a half years now and absolutely love their docile natures and teddy bear faces. I guess that is something we all have in common! We started off with six ewes plus one ram and we are now up to fifty-one, both purebred and crossbred. Yep, they are as addictive as potato chips!
As a Babydoll breeder I became increasingly disappointed that it was so hard to find any other breeders and equally difficult for interested people to find Babydolls. Our website was getting lots of hits and we were receiving lots of enquiries, but we were still trying to breed up our flock. After going to Shows and checking out the Southdowns, it became very apparent that our Babydoll Southdowns were quite different to the modern version, but we were all listed together. So, I set out to try and change this and found some more, equally passionate and equally like-minded in the resolve to get Babydolls noticed as a Breed. And so began our Babydoll Association.
As well as being Secretary of this Association, I am also the Assistant Editor for Australian Sheep Magazine, which showcases Heritage sheep, another cause for which I am passionate. So between the two and the farm, my life is fairly full of all things “sheep”.
I look forward to working with you all in promoting and enjoying our Babydolls and educating new owners to the joys of these wonderful, little sheep.
Committee Member: Bronwyn Healy
Hello everyone. I’m Bronwyn Healy, I am co-owner of The Settlement Road Vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria with my husband David Bowen – the first crop under the new name will be 2018. We are new to Babydolls and to rural living. While my family came from a rural (beef and dairy farming) background, I was raised in the city after my parents eloped to Sydney. I am still in a state of awe and amazement and joy of having sheep and other livestock and of horror at the thought that I have a major crisis on my hands.
My background is in health management and research and we moved to Geelong due to work commitments about three years ago when we purchased a small vineyard. We are very much committed to a biodynamic approach to farming and so our interest in Babydoll Sheep was formed. We have been searching for Babydoll Sheep since moving to the vineyard to meet the needs of the vineyard and orchard and so we were very happy to meet Sue Curliss and Geoff Martin who provided a wealth of information and then Judy and Murray Peart who have helped us to establish our very small flock. We are lucky to have a neighbour who is a major sheep breeder and is very generous in helping us with information and we are very happy to have made some great contacts through the OEBSSAA.