Courtesy of Leonie Mutch, Agriculture Teacher and Coordinator of the Livestock Team Frensham, Mittagong, NSW
Frensham is a girls boarding school located in Mittagong, south of Sydney. The school runs a small flock of Poll Dorsets as which are used in the teaching of Agriculture from Years 9 – 12. The flock is also managed by the Frensham Sheep Team which consists of 25 girls from Year 7 – 12 who comes from the Southern Highlands, Sydney, rural NSW and interstate. The Team competes a range of local agricultural shows such as Crookwell, Goulburn and Camden and has, on occasion, competed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The school’s Poll Dorset flock originated in 2018 with the generous support from Lorraine, Brian and James Frost from Hillden Poll Dorset Stud, Bannister, who initially supplied the school with some ewes and a ram. James Frost also provided further support through assisting the Sheep Team with instruction in preparing sheep for shows. James also supported our local Show Group, South Coast and Tablelands though providing sheep, and his Overjudge expertise, for Young Judges competitions on several occasions. More recently, James Corcoran Snr and James Corcoran Jnr, Gooramma Poll Dorset Stud, Galong, have provided the school with some ewe lambs to add new bloodlines into the flock.
This year we have also been very fortunate to have Narlisa Cooper, Ashcharmoo Poll Dorset Stud, Marulan (and a Frensham parent) assist the students on a weekly basis during Sheep Team training. Narlisa has shared her considerable knowledge of sheep production and preparing and showing sheep with the students. The valuable advice and generous support from these experienced and successful sheep breeders have been greatly appreciated by the Frensham Sheep Team.
Name: Sophie Hanrahan
Age: 14 – Year 9
Where do you live? Glenquarry, Southern Highlands, NSW
Why did you get involved with the school's sheep program? In Year 7, my friends joined the Team and I thought it would be fun to try something different. I ended up really enjoying it and continued in Year 8 and now in Year 9.
What’s your favourite part of working with sheep? I like working with animals in general, and sheep are just easy to be around. They are really funny sometimes when we are drafting them. None of them will go and then suddenly they will all be sprinting.
What is your favourite sheep’s name and why is it your favourite? I don’t really have a favourite name for a sheep, but my favourite sheep would have to be one of the more jumpy ones. They make life interesting when you are trying to lead them.
What is your biggest achievement in agriculture? I haven’t really had many achievements to do with agriculture, but I have won some ribbons at shows, such as the Crookwell show.
What do you want to do when you finish school? I haven’t really thought about it much, but I would like to go to university and study some sort of science, or medicine.
Name: Lucy Arnott
Age:16 – Year 11
Where do you live? Coolah, Central West, NSW
Why did you get involved with the school's sheep program? I live on a sheep producing farm and growing up I loved to go and help dad with sheep work. When I came to Frensham I was homesick and the sheep program offered me something that I have known all my life, at school. With encouraging staff and older students in the sheep team, I have enjoyed showing sheep as part of Frensham's sheep program which was something that I had not experienced before I came to Frensham.
What’s your favourite part of working with sheep? I like working with sheep because they are much quieter than cattle and they respond well to human contact. I also like that they are smaller than humans, so they are much safer for kids - so I grew up working sheep not cattle.
What is your favourite sheep’s name and why is it your favourite? My favourite sheep is Janice who is a Poll Dorset two-tooth ewe who we show at school. She is my favourite because she is really friendly, and she is a bit fat so she cannot run away that fast, so I can put the halter on her. Janice also went really well at Crookwell Show where she came second in the Poll Dorset ewe two-tooth class. She is named after a lady that lives on the farm next to ours, Jan.
What is your biggest achievement in agriculture? My biggest achievement in agriculture was at Robertson Show in 2019 when I was in Year 8, where I was participating in the Grain Young Judges Competition. Not coming off a cropping farm I hadn’t handled much grain. However, studying grain at school meant that I came first in the competition for junior grain judging
What do you want to do when you finish school? When I finish school, I would like to become an Agricultural Engineer and a Grazier growing sheep and cattle. Growing up on the land I know that my passion lies in agriculture, and I really like maths and engineering at school.
Name: Charlotte Cooper
Age: 12 – Year 7
Where do you live? Marulan, NSW
Why did you get involved with the school's sheep program? I got involved in the sheep program because I like showing sheep and hanging out with the girls on most afternoons.
What’s your favourite part of working with sheep? My favourite part about working with sheep is getting hands-on with the animal.
What is your favourite sheep’s name and why is it your favourite? My favourite sheep name is ‘Bully’. He is a big ram that sired some of our lambs and all of his offspring have his personality.
What is your biggest achievement in agriculture? My biggest achievement in agriculture is probably being able to handle animals.
What do you want to do when you finish school? When I finish school, I would like to go to university and one day become a Veterinarian.