The Story of The Big Wool Bales
Hamilton, Victoria is the self-proclaimed ‘Wool Capital of the World’ due to its rich history of sheep grazing. True to the claim, the shire produces at least 15% of Australia’s total wool clip.
Sheep grazing and agriculture are the two main economic activities in the region. This brings us to the story of The Big Wool Bales that were once visible from the Glenelg Highway, near the edge of Hamilton.
The Big Wool Bales housed a cafe, souvenirs, shearing supplies, wool scales, weaving looms, wool pressures, wool samples, rural clothing, and a small shearing museum. The building comprised five pods to resemble massive wool bales, celebrating the shires wool industry.
However, the five wool bales were demolished in 2020 due to termite damage.
After the demolition of the iconic wool bales, the town of Hamilton seemed to have dropped the tagline of the ‘Wool Capital of the World’ and opted for “Greater Hamilton: one place, many possibilities.”
The town is also home to several other wool-inspired attractions worth checking out. The Sheepvention, for example, is a wool-related exhibition and trade fair held at the Hamilton Show-grounds every first Monday and Tuesday of August every year. The trade fair attracts at least 20,000 visitors every year.
Like an agricultural show, this exhibition primarily focuses on wool and sheep grazing in the region. Speaking of an agricultural show, the region also holds its annual agricultural show dubbed The Hamilton Agricultural Show every November.
Sheep grazing aside, you can also visit The Keeping Place, a small museum and history centre managed by local indigenous people. The Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum is another attraction in Hamilton worth visiting. The Museum commemorates the founding of Ansett Australia in Hamilton in 1935 and contains a collection of items from the early days of Ansett Airlines’ operation.
If you loved reading about The Big Wool Bales in Hamilton, you’ll also love the story of The Giant Ram in Wagin, Western Australia.