THE EARLY YEARS
Koonwarra Merino Stud was founded in 1947 by J.S. Williams at Crookwell NSW as Malabah. The stud originated the purchase of 50 ewes, that had been mated to Wanganella (Flock No. 83) ram from Eliewah, NSW (Flock No. 34).
In 1950 the stud was supplemented from the Williams’ Thalaba flock, which had commenced in 1908 with Springfield Flock No. 73 rams being used. From 1923 until 1936, rams used were from Haddon Rig (Flock No. 48). Murgha (Flock No. 437) rams were purchased between 1936 and 1951.
In 1951, the name of the stud was changed from Malabah to its current name Koonwarra Merino Stud. Over recent times, genetics from Merryville and Uardry have been utilised and in 1979 Koonwarra purchased 268 ewes from the Manderlay Stud dispersal. With the unique blend of Merryville and Peppin genetics, the Koonwarra sheep have developed into large frame, heavy cutting fine/medium wool sheep, with hearty constitution and propensity to breed true to type.
Four generations of the Williams’ family very successfully developed the stud up until 1998, when it was purchased in its entirety by Charles Curran’s Narruc Investments, and relocated to Noojee Lea, Canowindra. In 1998 the Victorian Ram of the Year, Glen Donald 6.25 was purchased by Koonwarra at Dubbo ram sales for $20,000. Sires have since been introduced from daughter stud Nerstane through an AI program, along with a share in Merryville BG, who was purchased in 2001 at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo Vic for $30,000.
THE FOREFRONT OF MERINO GENETICS
The Koonwarra Merino Stud sheep have been at the forefront of fine/medium wool genetics for several decades, having won major championships and awards at all major shows in the eastern states while their bloodlines and clients have competed successfully at major wether and ewe competitions across NSW and Victoria.
A testament to this is the fact that Koonwarra won its first Stonehaven Cup in 1972, with 11 further wins over the years, and has been a placegetter in all subsequent years to 1999. The stud has sold rams and semen to merino studs across Australia, as well as New Zealand and Argentina.