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Image Grazing sheep, 1880-1920

TLF ID M000812

This is a full plate glass negative of sheep grazing in a paddock beside a road. There is evidence of severe erosion of a creek bank in the foreground, and hills are visible in the distance. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on the reverse of the negative, but are scratched out. 'Kerry Photo Sydney' is still legible; however, this may be an incorrect attribution.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The first merino sheep were introduced from Spain to New South Wales by John and Elizabeth Macarthur in 1796, and within 50 years were to be found in every Australian colony. Today, Australia produces a quarter of the world's wool, the highest quality fleeces being from pure-bred merinos directly descended from the Macarthurs' original sheep.
  • Soil erosion is a natural occurrence in Australia as soil is moved constantly by wind and water. Living tree roots can stabilise soil particles by binding them tightly, but when trees die the soil becomes susceptible to erosion. The introduction of sheep and other hoofed animals to Australia has dramatically accelerated the incidence of soil erosion across large areas of the country.
  • Nearly every tree on the hills in this photograph is dead, probably ringbarked to allow sheep farming to proceed. Ringbarking involves cutting a ring of bark from around the trunk, which stops the flow of vital nutrients to all parts of the tree. It was a cheap and effective method of clearing land and was common practice in the 1800s.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2010 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.