AWET wishes to advise that the Sheep and Wool Education Modules have now been updated following reviews by academics and specialists in each area.  The Modules feature current knowledge and information, which will be of benefit to students and industry participants alike.  Go to “Modules” in the options for the Woolwise website.

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Congratulations to Kelly Gellie, of Maroona, Victoria on achieving First place and “Gold Stencil” in the 2024AWEX/TAFE National Graduate Wool Classer Competition. This was held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on Tuesday 4th April.

The aim of the competition is to recognize excellence in wool classing and education and to lift wool classing’s profile as a profession and career opportunity. She was also was the winner of the DAS Campbell prize for the top NSW graduate. Well done Emma!

Emma was a Certificate IV in Ag student at Tocal in 2020 and originally from Armidale. She is no stranger to success being awarded a Bronze Medal for Excellence in the Course. She was also the successful purchaser of Trey, a working dog donated to the College by Ben Crowe of Glenfaba Kelpies and Stock Horses. Emma was among a group of students who helped get Trey, and other pups in the program, started. During her Tocal course Emma was awarded an AWET (Australian Wool Education Trust) Scholarship and a CB Alexander Foundation – Fire and Drought Exceptional Circumstance Bursary. We thank them for their support of Tocal students and are confident that their investment in Emma is a sound one!

The judges of this year’s competition were Mr. Andrew Mills, MacDonald & Co Wool Brokers, Ms Evelyn Archer, TAS TAFE and Ms Fiona Raleigh, AWEX. Andrew is also a Tocal graduate and current Alumni Executive.

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AWET offered grants to attend to attend the International Wool Textile Organisation conference to be held in Adelaide in 2024.  This presents an ideal opportunity for AWET scholars to access global experts from
the wool textile pipeline, to gain an understanding of their future role within the industry and to showcase their work to a professional audience. The Grant provides funding to cover travel, accommodation and registration.

The criteria for selection were:

a) open to all current and recent (2021-2023) AWET scholarship students, and

b) must be able to present some of their AWET sponsored research work at the Congress.

AWET is pleased to announce that Woon Ling Chew (Victoria) was awarded an AWET scholarship to attend IWTO.  Victoria received an Undergraduate Project Scholarship in 2021 for her Project “Creating an index to identify gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) resistance in sheep”, which was jointly supervised by Professor Michael Stear from La Trobe University and Dr Sarah Preston at Federation University.  Additionally, AWET funded her attendance at the Australian Society for Parasitology conference in Cairns 2022.

Victoria will make a poster presentation of her work at the conference.

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Courtesy Netflix

April 19, 2023
Currently in release the  Australian film starring Leila McDougall, Robert Taylor, Susan Prior, Joel Jackson and Trevor Jamieson, marking the feature directorial debut of Simon Lyndon.

Merely sitting through the credits of any movie will enlighten moviegoers about the extensive team that is required to bring even the ‘simplest’ film to life.

However, at times, filmmakers are put in positions where the financial resources don’t match the requirements. In that case, a powerful story and an unbridled passion are what brings a team together.

Such is the case for Just A Farmer, a feature film currently shooting in rural Victoria, written by and starring Leila McDougall, directed by Simon Lyndon, who makes his feature debut after almost 30 years of work in front of the camera with standout roles in the likes of Chopper, Blackrock and Troppo. The film also features highly respected thesps Susan Prior, Damian Walshe-Howling, Robert Taylor, Joel Jackson and Trevor Jamieson.

McDougall [pictured with Robert Taylor in main image], who comes from the rural town of Tatyoon in Victoria, speaks to the film’s story. “It is shining a light on the unique issue of having mental health issues in farming communities. There is not always support around, so you’ve got to lean on your community, people who may not be the most qualified. It’s about how a community and family can come together through that,” she says.

“It was a page-turner,” remarks Lyndon who had a gut feeling about the story. “I always thought it would be a difficult movie to make given it being a gut-wrenching and painful story, however, that’s what made it feel so true and moving.”


The difficulties in bringing the film to life don’t just lie with the storytelling. Just A Farmer is relying solely on private investment and a helping hand from the community to complete production.

“With the budget, I’m not going to lie, it is extremely stressful,” says McDougall, who also produces. “We’ve been able to keep the costs low by shooting on our farm. Also, all the farming equipment, animal wranglers and extras are friends who we’ve called on to make this film. But it is made a lot harder by the costs associated with accommodation and living away from home. They definitely don’t make it easy to shoot in rural towns.”

It is a testament to the power of the story that has bought this team together. “With the crew, we wanted people who were passionate about the message. A lot of them aren’t getting paid the big bucks they would be getting paid normally.”

For Lyndon, who has directed short films and theatre, the film has provided a creative symbiosis between him and his team. “Luckily, me and some of the other team members have been working in this industry a while and have connections to people who really do care a lot about this message and the craft itself.”

As her first feature film script, Just A Farmer speaks to a truth that McDougall knows keenly. “I really wanted to be truthful and honest. The people who need to see this film, if they see something dishonest in it, they’ll disconnect immediately and won’t take the film seriously.”

Production on the film is in its final two weeks, with the team recently getting to see an assembly cut of a few scenes. “Everyone was almost in tears even though we watched a scene completely out of context and without the rest of the film to support it,” says McDougall.

Photos by Tea Van de Burgt

Just A Farmer (2024) Release Date is March 21, 2024




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Peter Sommerville is well known to all of those involved in delivering the education projects funded by the Australian Wool Education Trust (AWET).  He has been both a Trustee and the Secretary of AWET since 2006.  Over those 18 years, he has contributed significantly to “hub and spoke” undergraduate education initiated by AWET through universities active in Agriculture, particularly sheep and wool.  In more recent times, Peter has played a pivotal role in AWET expanding its scope by actively engaging with fashion and design schools to encourage their students to experience wool and embrace it as a premier natural fibre.  Peter has also been the face of AWET to other education initiatives in sectors such as VET and schools.

The time has come for Peter to step down as Secretary, but AWET is fortunate that he will continue as a Trustee enabling it to draw on his considerable experience and knowledge of the range of programs that the Trust funds.

I am pleased to advise that Dr Kerry Hansford has taken up the role of AWET Secretary.  Kerry is well known to the wool industry having recently retired from AWEX after earlier roles with CSIRO, AWH and managing important joint industry projects.  Increasingly, you will hear from Kerry with regard to AWET activities.

Please join me and other Trustees in thanking Peter for his contribution thus far to education in the wool industry and also join us in welcoming Kerry to AWET.

Kerry can be reached at if you have projects that you would like to discuss.

Yours sincerely

Michael Jackson



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Applications for 2023 scholarships close on Friday 24th November 2023.

Applicants must download the following 3 documents:

Scholarship Application Instructions

Scholarship Application Form

Academic Referee’s Assessment

Applications for these scholarships must be made directly to the Trust and must be supported by an academic referee from the University at which the student is enrolled or intends to enrol.


The Trust supports up to 15 Undergraduate Project and Masters by Coursework Scholarships each year These are usually awarded to students undertaking an Honours year, but also to students enrolled in 4 year courses which do not include a specific Honours Degree but which require the student to complete a research project and write a thesis.

The scholarships have been in effect since 2007. The total value is $7000.

Students planning appropriate Masters by Coursework studies can also apply for these scholarships.


The research project must be relevant to sheep and/or wool. This relevance is the most significant criterion considered by the selection panel in assessing applications.

The funds, unless otherwise specified, are split equally between the student and the University. The University’s component is to cover costs arising from the project. However, the University and the student may negotiate how these funds will be split and, consequently the split of the funds must be specified in the application.

The students are obligated to provide the Trust with an abstract or summary report of their Thesis for publication on Woolwise. Alternatively they can provide their Thesis or a copy of a journal paper produced from the material in the Thesis.

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PIEFA announces its new fully responsive  website is now live that understanding the journey of our food and fibre from farm to plate is crucial for fostering a sustainable and resilient future.

We’re confident that our new website will continue to drive our vision to inspire interest in the diverse career pathways available within the agriculture industry and will serve as a valuable resource for everyone interested in the world of Australian food and fibre production.

We’ve always strived towards delivering a platform that is accessible as possible. One that not only showcases the remarkable stories behind our food and fibre but reflects our commitment to embedding the value of Australian food and fibre production in the national psyche.

With our new website, we have taken a giant leap toward achieving this goal.

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Wool4School is an annual student design competition encouraging emerging fashion designers to promote the unparalleled properties and benefits of wool.

The competition is open to most secondary school students in Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Italy.

AWET provides some funding to assist in delivering this program, which is organised by AWI

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Discover Woolmark’s first course tailor-made for Australian woolgrowers – Price Risk Management – on The Woolmark Learning Centre. Learn about the sale of wool with expert-led content created in partnership with industry experts, Southern Aurora Price Risk Management.

This course will take you on a deep dive into risk, risk management products, strategies, and hedging principles. By the end of the course, you will have a greater understanding of price risk management and how its applied to the sale of your wool and will have explored examples of Australian agricultural innovation.

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Dr Jane Littlejohn has been nominated by Australian Wool Innovation Ltd to replace Professor Andrew Vizard.

Jane’s qualifications include BVSc, MVPHMgt, Grad Dip An Sci (Animal Breeding Mgt), GAICD.

From 2008 t0 2013 Jane worked for AWI  as Project Manager Animal Health and Welfare followed by Head of On-farm RDE.

From 2014 to 2015  Jane served on the Mid-north Coast Strategic Advisory Committee for Primary industries, providing advice to CSU to enhance its role in servicing the educational needs of primary industry.

From 2015-2017 she was Implementation Manager for the National Wild Dog Action Plan.

Jane was re-employed by AWI in the position of General Manager – Research, in July 2017.

Jane is eminently qualified for her new role as AWET Trustee.

Professor Andrew Vizard is a well known and widely respected academic at Melbourne University’s Division of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and has published numerous scholarly works. He was appointed by AWI as a trustee in 2003 and has served with distinction in that role, providing valuable insights to the Trust’s policies and programs. His resignation took effect from the 31st December 2022.

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