Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. As you all know there is a very old woolshed, here on at Chez Jasper. Mummy and daddy say it has been a long time since it was a working woolshed. Our few sheep are shorn out in the in the yards on a portable shearing machine.
“Stenciling [wool bales] was widely practiced for more than 100 years. It was a requirement of all colonies exporting wool to London to stencil the name of the sheep station and details of the wool onto the fabric of the bale in order to trace its origin and identify the contents for sale”.
Mummy consulted “Know-it-all-google” and found someone who had done a PhD on wool bale stencils and asked her what they meant. Here is her reply:
The circle stencil holds information about the type of wool. The wool is classed or graded according to the quality of the different parts of the fleece. The type of wool is baled together and marked with a stencil. The words are often abbreviated because of the limited space on the bale. However, they can also be found on separate stencils and described in full as in the second photos (PIECES).
Typically, a description of the wool, the name of the station and the number of the bale were stencilled onto the bale. The circular stencil looks to be machine made and is probably the most recentBLS – (BELLIES) is wool from the belly of the sheep.
LOX – (LOCKS or LKS) are small staples of wool which fall on to the shed floor during shearing.
PCES – (PIECES) are pieces of wool which have been removed from the edges of the fleece.
NKS (NECKS) is wool shorn from the neck of the sheep.
HW – Is probably the initial letters of the owner which are sometimes used instead of the station name (this part is specific to your farm). NB The property was owned by the Hunter family, but who W is, we are not too sure.
Can’t say Me and Nellie are very interested in the history of wool bale stencils, but for some reason mummy and daddy are. Each to their own. Love Nellie and Jasper, the two bestest maremmas in all the land.