01 DEC 2023

140 year history for Elders and Eyre Peninsula wool growers

The Freeman family has been farming on the Eyre Peninsula for over 140 years, and their relationship with Elders goes back just as far.

Classer and past Elders Branch Manager Daryl Johnson with Elders District Wool Manager Zach Wilson in Boulder Pastoral Company’s shearing shed. Wool classer and past Elders Branch Manager Darryl Johnson with Elders District Wool Manager Zack Wilson in Boulder Pastoral Company’s shearing shed.

Boulder Pastoral Company is located on the fringe of Port Kenny on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. Working the land are father-son duo Donald and Jarrod Freeman, who are respectively the fourth and fifth generation to farm in the region.  

“Our family first came out from England in 1852,” Donald said.  

“After a short stint in construction, my great grandfather settled here on this land in the late 1800s, and started farming. Jarrod and I are fourth and fifth generation, which is pretty special.” 

The Freeman family first engaged Elders all the way back then, and still are working with Elders today, from rural products, to livestock and wool services.  

Though also maintaining a successful cropping operation, Jarrod explained that the family is particularly passionate about their wool.

Elders_clients_at_wool_awards Jarrod Freeman with classer Darryl Johnson, alongside Elders District Wool Managers Zack Wilson and Claire Loveridge at the clip of the month awards night.

A highlight for the family was in November last year, when they took out the Clip of the Month award. This recognises an outstanding clip, judged on a number of factors including style, evenness, strength and general presentation. 

“It means we must be doing something right with our lamb selections and ram sales,” Jarrod said. 

“But we certainly weren’t expecting it.” 

The Freemans’ wool was selected from a strong pool of clips, with their Elders District Wool Manager Zack Wilson commenting that November is a tough time to take out the award. 

“There is plenty of competition in November, with growers in the South East also in the running for the award,” Zack said. 

“At the end of the day, the Freemans invest a lot in their sheep, they have good genetics and overall it is just a good, strong product that buyers want. It was great to see them win it.”

The special thing about this particular clip is that it was classed by Darryl Johnson, now semi-retired, who used to be the Elders branch manager at Streaky Bay, while also working as the Freemans’ wool agent for close to a decade. 

“I worked with the Freemans while I was at Elders, and now am proud to help with classing their clip,” Darryl said.

“They cut a lot of wool, and present it very well. Classing their clip is something I love doing, and something I want to keep doing.”

When Darryl retired from Elders, he handed over to Zack Wilson, who has now been working for Elders, and alongside the Freemans, for the last two years. 

“My role involves helping with ram selection, market reports, advising on when to sell, or valuations,” Zack said.

“Before starting with Elders, I spent time working for shearing supply company Heiniger, and before that, worked in shearing sheds classing and that sort of thing for almost 15 years.

“I just have a real passion for wool and sheep. Wool is a sustainable product, so it’s good to be working in wool, and be part of the wool team.” 

Zack said Elders’ presence on the Eyre Peninsula is strong, which comes down to community investment and involvement, their passionate, excited team, and the outstanding services offered. 

“The great thing about Elders is that we are able to help our clients from one end of the process to the other,” Zack said.

“We have people like me on the ground to help our clients as much as we can, but also over in Melbourne, as part of Elders Wool, our new wool handling centre will add a lot of value to growers’ operations, when that starts up next year. 

“And then from a buyers’ end, that facility will make for an incredible opportunity to better showcase growers’ clips.

“Overall, Elders has really invested back into our local communities and local people. We are fortunate to have a young, excited team over on the Eyre Peninsula. We all love what we do.”