Breeding Babydoll Sheep in Australia
The History of the Renowned Hillgrove Southdown Stud
Hillgrove Southdown Stud (Registered Flock Number 26) is one of Australia’s oldest existing Southdown Studs and was founded in 1921 with the purchase of eighteen (18) ewes and one (1) ram from Mr. J. E. Hyslop.
In 1925 the Metcalfs purchased their first imported ram from Mr. Brook’s Stud in New Zealand. This was followed by another ram in 1929 that was purchased from Sir Walter Halsey in Hempstead England. So successful was this English ram, that a second English ram was purchased in 1933 from the Aldenham Stud. Yet another ram was purchased from New Zealand in 1934.
But it was in 1935 when the Metcalfs made headlines in Australia when one of the sons, Dick, paid a then record price for a “Punchbowl Ram” from New Zealand. Unfortunately the ram only lasted two seasons. Over the succeeding years further rams were subsequently purchased from New Zealand as imports from England were very difficult to arrange due to quarantine regulations.
In 1940 the Metcalf Hillgrove stud had 327 breeding ewes. At the time Australia had 528 registered breeders, each with smaller numbers of breeding ewes, but many with Hillgrove bloodline in them . By 1963 Hillgrove had 573 breeding ewes, all individually mated, with the ewes lambed out in a shed to guarantee the breeding of each sheep.
The Metcalfs travelled Australian shows, winning many championships. Their most prized procession being the Southdown Breeders Cup which was won in 1949. This Cup had to be won 5 times, to be won outright. It was shortly after they won the breeders’ Cup that they decided to give "showing" away. They wanted to give other breeders the opportunity to win these top trophies. When not showing, the Metcalf brothers were actively judging Southdown sheep, and were life members of the Royal Melbourne Show.
When the Southdown Breeders decided to change the Southdowns to what is now the "Modern Southdown", the Metcalfs were content to breed along what they termed the "Original Southdown" lines. Some breeders may disagree with their style of breeding, but their market was for the older breed.
The Metcalf Hillgrove stud still exists today and is continued along the original lines. Things are still done the traditional "British" way, so pedigrees can be 100% guaranteed. On 15th December, 2018, the owners of Hillgrove Stud, Murray and Judy Peart, sold the stud in its entirety to 'Gully Green' Babydoll Southdown Stud owned by Janice and Chris Evans from Moama, NSW. Murray and Judy Peart have been personally connected to the stud for over 50 years so this was a massive decision.
Gully Green Babydoll Southdowns was fortunate to be offered, and agreed to buy, Hillgrove stud, and have made a commitment to continue the strong tradition of breeding only the Original Southdown as maintained by the Metcalf brothers and continued by Murray and Judy Peart. In February 2018, the prefix 'Gully Green' was dropped and both studs are now run as 'Hillgrove' Babydoll Southdowns.
Getting ready to show a Southdown.
Date, people and location unknown