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Article: First Shop in Brisbane & End of an Era with the Sale of the Family Sheep Stations | 1997

First Shop in Brisbane & End of an Era with the Sale of the Family Sheep Stations | 1997

1997 was another busy year with founder of Merino Country, Kerrie travelling the country side promoting the sheep & wool industry with a major focus showing city people what Merino was all about.  Whilst a busy & productive year it also saw the end of an era with the sale of the main family sheep & cattle station, Clareborough.

Kerrie made the drive from Clareborough Station in North West Queensland to Brisbane approximately 12 times, travelling the 3600km round trip in her trusty Suburu Brumby utitility each time with some great adventures especially when it rained!! 

Queensland Festival of Wool

With a great team of people from all walks of life getting involved, Kerrie Richards coordinated the “Queensland Festival of Wool” focusing on Brisbane but with many activities all over Queensland showing the importance of of all aspects of the sheep and wool industry to not only the economy but also to local communities from shearing, transport, local shops right through to manufacturing locally.

All Things Wood & Wool

Whilst the cute cottage on Arthur Terrace in Red Hill, gave Merino Country a city presence it was really just a very small room in a house and we moved to our first shop in Paddington sharing it with some young, country blokes from out near Texas who were using recycled timber to make furntiture, mirrors & hat racks. It was called All Things Wood & Wool offering city customers a taste of the bush with natural crafts, furniture and Merino wool fashion and was located in one of Paddinton's iconic art deco buildings on Latrobe Terrace!

Opening this shop meant a move for founder of Merino Country, Kerrie Richards, from the vast open paddocks of the family sheep & cattle station in North West Queensland, to Paddington in the centre of Brisbane. Kenrick Riley, a renowned journalist of the day penned the expression From Paddock to Paddock about Kerrie & Merino Country which stuck for many years. 


Merino Country Old Store

 Merino Country celebrated the first retail shop in Paddington, Brisbane. 

Nuffield Farming Scholarship 

Kerrie was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to travel in 1998, initially travelling with other scholars looking at a variety of agricultural pursuits in Asia & Europe for six weeks followed by another three months of individual research of the Sheep & Wool industry investigating Primary Producer co-operatives, Manufacturing and Marketing of wool. Kerrie was one of the first female Nuffield scholars even though the first scholarships were awarded in 1947 and since then over 1,000 Nuffield Scholars have completed their studies and travel to make an impact on farming and food.

The Sale of Clareborough Station

Whilst there were so many incredible highs for the year, Kerrie was devastated when her parents made the decision to sell their family cattle and sheep station, Clareborough Station.

Kerrie's father, Neil Richards, came up from Tasmania to work as a jackeroo for his Uncle, Colonel Harry Murray on Glenlyon Station in the 1950's, eventually working on Essex Downs with the Kelman's who are still like family. When wool was "a pound a pound", Mr Richards would go out in his spare time picking up "dead fleeces" - wool off dead sheep, and this helped him get enough money for a deposit on a half share of "Clareborough".

Kerrie's mother, Sandra, came up from Brisbane to work on Essex Downs, the next door property, as a Governess to the Kelman' girls and Neil was bowled over by this lovely, vibrant city girl. When they got married they bought out the other half of Clareborough, the start of their pastoral enterprises and the start of an amazing life long partnership, adventures, drought, flood, 5 children, community & family. So many stories and 1997 was the end of an era!

Neil & Sandra Richards, Clareborough Station

Neil & Sandra Richards successfully grazed sheep & cattle on Clareborough, 60km from Richmond, along with a number of other family stations (farms) through droughts, floods, plagues, 18% Interest rates & educating five children!! Whilst remote and with plenty of heart ache at times, with hard work and dedication, they built an enterprise from nothing and passed on their passion for agriculture & business, an incredible interest in the world and ability to lead the way - an incredible legacy for their children, grand-children and great-grand-children.

 Kerrie Richards Shearing Shed


Queensland Festival of Wool 1997


Kerrie Richards



Australia's first wool bra


Queensland Festival of Wool 1997

Queensland Festival of Wool Queen Street Mall


Rural Press Club Brisbane

Nuffield Scholarship

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