The Elliottdale is a carpet wool sheep developed at Elliott Research Station in Tasmania between 1967 and 1976. It is largely based on a carpet wool gene carrying Tasmanian Romney sheep. It is similar to the Romney with cleaner points and a carpet wool fleece of 40 plus microns in diameter. Shearing is required twice per year with a long staple length wool of 120mm-150mm for six months growth. Rams may be horned or polled, but ewes are always polled. The Elliottdale also makes an excellent prime lamb mother. Mainly available in Tasmania.
The Elliottdale Breed was developed at the Elliott Research Station in Tasmania in the 1970's. In 1986 the breed was being comercialised and the Australian carpet wool industry established. The effect of the Elliottdale gene (El) is similar to the Drysdale, Tukidale and Carpetmaster genes (N series genes) in the Romney breed, and is at a different locus on the chromozone. The El gene is semi-dominant (allowing homozygous lambs to be identified at birth), and is not associated with the gene for horns (ewes are always polled, rams may be horned or polled). The breed was developed in Australia from a mutant Romney ram rather than in New Zealand.
The Elliottdale project was terminated in 1993, the Research Station becoming a Dairy research centre.
"The Australian carpet wool industry story is one of brilliant possibilities struck down in its prime by political decisions driven by ideology and egos. But its time will come again as half the sheep in the world are carpet wool types, they are just not in Australia! The breeds that our industry was based on, Drysdale, Tukidale, Elliottdale and to a lesser degree, Carpetmaster, together with our sheep husbandry practices and wool classing standards, produces the best quality carpet wool product in the world by far. And it would be an absolute tragedy for this to be lost." (Carl Terrey, 2016)
The Elliottdale was bred predominantly as a carpet wool sheep. But he Elliottdale is indeed a dual purpose meat/wool sheep. When the flock was at the Elliott Research station it was performance recorded, and breeding indices were developed by geneticists for both wool and meat.
In the late 1980's the World Sheep Convention and Show was held in Launceston, and it can be argued that The Elliottdale breed was the most successful breed in the carcase competitions held. This was mainly due to the timing of the show however, as most of the traditional meat breeds entered were overfat in the heavier classes, and the Elliottdale lays down its fat more evenly and had better confirmation than other breeds in the lighter classes. Sheep entered came from only five (from memory) breeders, and featured in the placings in most classes entered; some classes had up to 50 entries!
Though Carl Terrey, a researcher and flock owner, did not have the resources to continue the genetics to the same degree as those at the research station, he did use traditional stud phenotipic selection with an emphasis on confirmation and carcase market suitability, as this is where the economics of the enterprise is based at present.