Calcookara Stud celebrating 100 years of sales on Eyre Peninsula

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Next Thursday will represent a massive milestone for the Smith family of the Calcookara stud, as the auction to be held marks 100 years of stud stock being sold on the property.

A centenary of sales is a significant milestone for any farmer, but even more so when the property and the animals have been lovingly and expertly raised and cared for by the same direct family line for the entirety of that time.

This has been the case at Calcookara, ever since Ernest Perry Smith bought and drove a mob of sheep from Eudunda to Cowell with his brother Will in 1905, where they purchased the land and established the Calcookara stud.

This stud is now recognised as being the oldest on the Eyre Peninsula today, and has maintained impeccable breeding standards throughout the last 100 years of sales.

The responsibility of upholding the high standards set by his forefathers now belongs to Brenton Smith who, with wife Jane and sons Jamie, Cameron and Levi, take great pride in their work.

“At Calcookara our breeding objectives are clear,” Brenton explained.

“We are breeding for uncomplicated and robust animals with free-growing, long stapled, bold crimping, soft white wools.” 

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Brenton said that this years sale team was a great testament to this objective, with an excellent line up of 90 well grown young rams ready for the centenary sale.

Both Jane and Benton wanted to take the opportunity to express their gratitude to all who have supported the stud through the years.

“We would like to thank all of our clients both past and present for supporting Calcookara over the past 100 years. 

“At Calcookara we are very excited about the future of the merino industry with wool and meat industries showing no signs of weakening. 

“We really believe that our clients are in a great position to capitalise on this with their quality genetics.”

The centenary sale will see Calcookara pen their best and most even sale team yet.

Inspection day will be held on August 18 from 1pm to 4pm while the on-property auction will be held on August 24 at 1.30pm, with an inspection from 11.30am. 

A history of the Calcookara stud

  • 1905: Ernest Perry Smith bought and drove a mob of sheep from Eudunda to Cowell with brother Will where they purchased land.
  • 1912: Ernest established his Calcookara merino stud.
  • 1914: The first stud recordings of Coorona ewes mated to a Bungaree ram were made.
  • 1916: Ernest purchased 50 cast for age ewes and a stud sire called “Donald Dinnie 813” from Canowie. Ernest’s only son Mervyn was born, making him the second generation at Calcookara.
  • 1917: Ernest sold his first ram to the Schiller family.
  • 1918: The first prices of rams were recorded, ranging from two to four pounds.
  • 1920: A second stud ram from Canowie was purchased.
  • 1921: Stud wool weights recorded. Certain stud ewes cutting 10lbs with rams including Donald Dinie at 12.5lbs. Income during these times included sales of wheat, wool, sheep, fruit, vegetables, eggs, minerals such as copper, rabbit scalps and fodder.
  • 1932: Ernest held the first on property sheep auction in the state on September 30, with the top price ram selling to OC Bartel for seven pound seven shillings.
  • 1941: Ernest’s son Mervyn began sending wool samples to the Gordon institute of technology in Geelong for micron testing.
  • 1947: Niel Perry Smith was born, becoming the third generation for Calcookara.
  • 1959: Calcookara was run on Collinsville blood lines from this period until 1994.
  • 1971: Brenton Niel Smith was born becoming the fourth generation for Calcookara.
  • 1994: Introduction of genetics from NSW to improve wool quality led in a new direction, with a large improvement on the whiteness of wools.
  • 2002: Jamie Blake Smith was born, followed by brothers Cameron and Levi, becoming the fifth generation for Calcookara.
  • 2002: Bare breached genetics discovered on a Calcookara Sire “Cojak”. Scientists from the Roseworthy campus travelled to the Calcookara property over several years to measure and test sheep for various traits to find out more about the bare breach mutation.
  • 2017: The Calcookara Stud is entering a new era, embracing technology by beginning their journey with ASBVs. Calcookara has also changed its shearing to six-monthly, due to an increase in staple length, while still achieving $2,200 per bale for its main line. Ewes are averaging 4kg per head at six-months and the current flock is at 18.5 micron.