Australia is the largest producer of fine apparel wool, most of which is of the Merino type. About 70% of all the sheep in Australia are classified as Merino. There are around 70,000 wool growing properties of varying sizes in Australia producing annually around 340 million tones of greasy wool, produced from around 70 million sheep.
The Wool growing industry in Australia is over 200 years old, with the first bale of wool being sent to England in 1807. Some of the wool growing properties in Australia have remained in the ownership of the same family through six or seven generations since that time.
The main wool growing regions of Australia include the western parts of Western Australia, South Eastern corner of South Australia, Western and Northern Victoria, North Eastern and South New South Wales, Tasmania, and South-Western Queensland.
Australia has an excellent reputation for wool, partly due to its very strict export regulations, overseen by the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA), which provides an objective and authoritative testing service of an extremely high standard, thus playing a vital role in the sale and export of wool from Australia.