EGELABRA Station assistant manager Austin Grace has won the AWEX/TAFE NSW National Graduate Wool Classer Competition from a field of classers from five states.
Austin was the competition entrant for the TAFE NSW Western Dubbo campus and was trained by Kerri Capill, who took home the 15th Dennis Teasdale Perpetual Trophy awarded to the training organisation and trainer of the competition winner.
As well as the gold stencil and prizemoney, Austin also won the DAS Campbell prize for the top NSW graduate.
Second place in the competition was taken by Tasmania TAFE entrant Jacqueline Dare from Oatlands. She was trained by Evelyn Archer and has been classing around Tasmania since graduating.
The third placegetter was Cameron Gall, the TAFE NSW Western campus entrant, from Uralla. His trainer was Pauline Smith. Cameron has returned to the family property after his studies at university.
The competition for the golden stencil is hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for AWEX and TAFE NSW. It attracted 10 entries from Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, and NSW.
Austin is from Young in NSW and said he has a passion for sheep and wool, working alongside family in the Merino stud industry. He has completed a bachelor of agricultural business management at Charles Sturt University’s Wagga campus and has been working in sheds shearing, crutching, and wool handling. He was a 2021 Peter Westblade Scholarship winner.
The 24 year-old said he put his success in the competition down to his training by Ms Capill combined with his previous industry experience in sheds and with sheep classers like Paul Kelly and Craig Wilson. He said the wool classing training has helped further his knowledge of wool.
“I come from a family that is pretty passionate about growing wool and growing up I spent time with the wool classers in the shed.
“My grandfather was a wool classer, it’s a natural progression.”
Austin said he did most of his certificate course externally.
“Kerri is a great teacher and she helped me a lot.”
Congratulations Austin. A young man worth keeping an eye on, who will achieve great things for the industry and himself in years to come.