Silver Plate Trophy Tray awarded to John Taylor in 1919
Measuring 580 mm across the handles and 355 mm across across the span, it has high relief decoration on the scalloped tray rim and the handles as well as detailed engraved patterning on the tray surface. The oval cartouche in the centre of the tray is engraved:
“TASMANIAN WOOLGROWERS AGENCY COMPANYS CHALLENGE PRIZE MIDLAND AGRICULTURAL
ASSOCIATION FOR BEST MERINO RAM UNSHEDDED
HELD BY JOHN TAYLOR (WINTON) IN 1917-18 AND FINALLY WON 1919
The tray is in excellent condition, with only minor wearing of the silver plate on the high relief detail.
Mrs G W Keach donated the tray to the TWC in 1988. Mrs Keach was the granddaughter of John Taylor, recipient of the trophy.
The Taylor family played a prominent role in breeding fine merino sheep at Winton for many years. Five generations of the Taylor family have farmed at Winton. David Taylor founded Winton stud in 1835. His son John managed Winton from 1863 to 1919. He was known as a fine breeder of Saxon merino sheep. Through a program of breeding sheep with fewer wrinkles, he is credited with reviving the popularity of the Saxon Merino.
The Taylor story has direct links to Eliza Furlonge, as the Winton stud was founded on sheep purchased from Eliza. Eliza’s pioneering story is interesting. Eliza is credited as having introduced the finest merino bloodlines into Van Dieman’s Land after she and her sons walked through Saxony to source the best sheep. The legend is that she paid for them with gold sovereigns that she had sewn into the em of her skirt. The family farmed at Kenilworth near Campbell Town breeding sheep and increasing their flock. In Eliza sold her sheep and moved to Victoria. Her neighbour David Taylor purchased some of these sheep, and to this day the Furlonge sheep are the predecessors of today’s Winton merinos, as well as many other superfine merino studs in Australia.
The Australian Woolgrowers Agency Company was established in 1886, with offices in St John St, Launceston, with its first directors including many leading sheep breeders.
Source: Tasmanian Wool Centre Significance Assessment 2013.