Australian Cashmere Goats

About Australian Cashmere GoatsAbout Australian Cashmere Goats

Long before the British settled Australia, goats were released on the islands off the coast of Australia by Dutch and Portuguese navigators. These goats come from a great variety of backgrounds and they acclimatized readily to the Australian environment.

In 1832 William Riley, imported goats to his property at Raby, New South Wales. Also he delivered a paper to the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of New South Wales in an effort to encourage the development of a cashmere/angora fleece industry in Australia. In addition more goat where imported from India.

Unfortunately agold rush brought the demise of the infant goat industry. Prior to the gold rush, flocks of grazing animals, goats, and sheep were controlled by shepherds. Most abandoned their animals and went to make their fortune on the gold fields. The landowners then had to make some attempt at fencing their runs. Rudimentary fences were erected to control sheep, which on large runs without fences would keep to the open plains. The goats were not controlled by fences and actively sought the rougher country for grazing, thus forming the large herds of wild (or bush) goats that became well established in much of inland Australia.

Over time this genetically-diverse group of goats roamed free in increasingly large numbers. In 1879 herds of goats roaming the streets of Sydney created such a nuisance that the police had to become involved to get rid of them. Also goat racing became very popular at the end of the century, particularly in Queensland.

However, today that Australian cashmere goat industry succeeds, with a breed of goats that are hardy and unique like their owners.

Australian Cashmere goats today retain the fertility and hardiness of their bush goat ancestors that once roamed free but they are quite different in appearance and temperament. In mid-winter they have an excellent overall coverage of long, dense, and very soft cashmere.