Wool his passion until the final clip

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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From a struggling jackaroo to living the Australian farming dream of owning a sheep farm, Andrew Hammat turned the red dust of his pockets into gold.

“I started with nothing, ” the 70-year-old retired Broomehill farmer said.

After 44 years of working with sheep, Mr Hammat said farewell to his working career last week when his last wool clip was sold.

While watching the price results appear on the auction board, he sat quietly, thankful that it was only age that beat him.

“I decided to get out while I could still walk, otherwise any sudden ailment could present a serious problem, ” he said.

Mr Hammat’s wool sold well — all seven lines were above 1000c.

“Most consistent prices ever, ” he said.

“Sheep always have carried the day for us.”

Born in Pooncarie, New South Wales, Mr Hammat worked on his father’s sheep station.

After hearing about the release of common property land in WA, Mr Hammat knew that was his chance of acquiring his own farm.

While clearing land in Jerramungup, he worked at Wallinar in Broomehill where he strengthened his goal of growing his own wool.

After selling the Jerramungup block, Mr Hammat bought a farm in the more productive Broomehill Shire and was able to work full time running his own flock.

Using Wallinar bloodlines, he built to 1200 breeders producing under 20 micron wool.

“It was a far cry from when I worked with the strong wool sheep back home, ” he said.

“If I was 20 years younger, I would still be enjoying working with sheep, but it is time to say thanks for the memories.

“My wife, Lesley, and I have educated our children through 20 years of tough wool prices. We didn’t make a fortune, but have retired in comfort.”

Tim Chapman, of Primaries, said Mr Hammat would be dearly missed.

“He was well respected and dedicated to his passion of producing quality wool, ” Mr Chapman said.

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