RIP Shrek

06/06/2011

The merino wether Shrek which went from hermit to hero died today.

Shrek was found by Ann Scanlan in a cave on Bendigo Station during a muster. His immediate fame was due to the marketing nous of station owner John Perriam and this photo taken by Stepehn Jacquiery a phototgrapher with the Otago Daily Times who was holidaying near by:

In his book Dust to Gold * John explains how the photo was a happy accident:

Stephen took a few photos . . .

‘That’s about all I can do,’ he said as he started to put his camera away. Then Digger (who Cage had nicknamed Jack Russell, because he is small) said, ‘I bet you can’t carry that thing over your shoulders, Cage.’

Cage gave him a look of disdain then, taking up the challenge, reached down and picked up Shrek, pulling him over his shoulders. Few men have the strength to carry a 46 kg sheep, and Cage beamed down at Jack Russell as he walked across to the trailer . . .  Meanwhile Stephen, seeing the photo opportunity, had desperately pulled out his camera again, just in time to get the shot that would go to every corner of the globe. . .

The ODT and other major papers in New Zealand published the photo on their front pages. Then Reuters picked it up and within 24 hours Shrek and Cage were gracing papers and websites all around the world.

This resulted in publicity for Shrek, merino wool, and high country farming which money couldn’t buy. John and his late wife Heather also realised there was a fundraising opportunity. It started with the live-filming of the shearing of Shrek’s 27 kg fleece. Other publicity and fundraising appearances followed, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Shrek’s chosen charity, Cure Kids.

* Dust To Gold, the inspiring story of Bendigo Station, home of Shrek, by John Perriam, published by Random House 2009. All royalties from this book and Shrek the story of a Kiwi icon go to Cure Kids.


A day in the life of a merino

18/06/2009

Merino Inc is seeking photos which depict the day in the life of a merino sheep to showcase the industry.

It’s offering cash prizes for the three best photos taken by merino farmers, their families or people who work in the merino industry.

Merinos are prized for their fine wool which in recent years has bucked the trend of decling prices suffered by crossbred wool. It’sbecome well known through brands like Icebreaker, popular for its lightness, warmth – even when wet, breathability and machine washability. Trampers, musterers and others who can’t have a daily shower also value it because it doesn’t get smelly.

The most famous merino is probably Shrek, a whether, which evaded musterers on Bendigo Station for six years. When he was finally captured his 27 kilo fleece was shorn and aucitoned for charity and Shrek became an ambassador for Cure Kids.

One of the reasons for Shrek’s fame was this photo of him being carried by musterer Daniel Devine on the day he was found.

dairy 1

 Shrek retired last year after earning about $100 million for charity.


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