Thursday, August 6, 2009


Recent Editorial for the pakenham Gazette, dated 5/8/09 written by Jim Maynard

Raelene & Rob Strong have fine-tuned alpaca breeding and alpaca fine wool production at Mariah Hill, Nar nar Goon Nth, to march any quality on the world market.
Probably their mission comes under the pursuit of excellence, particularly in their aim to produce the ighest grade fibre possible.
Their Holy grail is the Ultra fine bale of alpaca wool.
they have reached the level where look and feel in judging animals has given way to science with stringent genetic testing.
Rob said genetics told them exactly what standard an animal was at and discounted the enviromental influence and feed.
So an animal going through a tough time would still test well if it had the genetics a breeder needed.
During 1991 they lived on a two acre plot in Hastings on the mornington peninsula and Raelene took on some alpacas to supplement the family income.
They looked at ostrich farming but soon put that idea aside and researched the alpaca.
More land was needed so they bought a 12 acre hobby farm at olsen Rd, Nar nar Goon Nth.
By 1995 they were again struggling for space and it was think tank time.
Rob aid they realised they were into something really good and it involved the whole family.
"We decdided to bite the bullet and went cap in hand to the bank to see if we could buy tis 100 acre section of the Dore property in Mt Ararat Rd.
John & Elizabeth Dore took up a pre-emptive lease in the area during 1841.
This was the 19,000 acre Mt Ararat Run that stetched almost as far as Drouin, and nearly 30 sq miles of land.
The Dores later bought a one square section of the lease and that became their personal property.
The property was also a stage coach stop.
Rob said the coach stopped at the berwick inn and the at mt Ararat Farm before going onto GIppsland.
"The Old stagecoach building is still on the property.
They have four children - Andrew, Lauren, Daniel & Elyse.
Elyse works full time on the farm and is herd manager.
She is also the first student in Australia and perhaps the world to take on an alpaca apprenticeship.
Her studies, partly through university revolve around general agriculture, wool classing, fibre technology and hands on experience.
Rob said she had been involved with alpacas since she was gour years old.
"When we first started with alpacas there were 300 known in Australia and now there were 120,000"he said. They concentrated on breeding the Huacaya,

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