Medal counts for WA wool man

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Cally DupeCountryman

A love of wool and an even bigger love of the wool industry have paid off for Lake Grace business owner Darren Spencer, who has been bestowed one of the industry’s highest honours.

Mr Spencer was one of five recipients of the Australian Wool Industry Medal, coordinated by Federation of Australian Wool Organisations, earlier this month.

The annual medal recognises men and women who have made an exceptional and sustained contribution to the Australian wool industry.

Mr Spencer said he was “quite honoured” to be bestowed the award at the AWIS Wool Industry Dinner dinner at the RACV Club, Melbourne on August 22.

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The annual dinner is a highlight of the Annual Wool Week calendar, bringing together all facets of the industry each year.

“I was quite honoured that my peers felt I was worthy of the award. I didn’t know I was nominated until I wanted to attend the ceremony,” Mr Spencer said.

“My colleagues at WA Shearing Industry Association put me forward.

“It is just the people that I love, and the different aspects I like, from the shearing side of it, right through to the selling of the wool, and so much to it.

“There is so much to the wool industry, and through what we do I get to see all sides of.”

Mr Spencer’s first foray into shearing was when he was in Year 12 at WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin and on school holidays, he found himself shearing.

After leaving high school, he and a friend had a “cocky run” at Lake King, shearing for farmers in the area, until leaving in 1987.

He spent several years in the Gascoyne and relocated to Lake Grace and founded his business in 1991. Mr Spencer has since built his life around wool through his business Spencer Shearing Service, which operates across the Lake Grace district and employs about 30 staff.

He also ran Spencer Wools, which started in 2001, operates as an agent for West Coast Wools, and launched a trucking business Lake Grace Transport in 2006.

This included shearers, office staff, truck drivers and a wool buyer from Kalgarin to Holt Rock in the east, to Ongerup in the south.

He is also the president of WA’s peak shearing body, the WA Shearing Industry Association, stepping into the role nearly 10 years ago.

Two years ago, Mr Spencer was awarded life membership to WASIA by members Peter Letch and Doug Kennedy.

Federation of Australian Wool Organisations chairman David Michell congratulated Mr Spencer, saying he had made a great contribution to his industry.

He said each of the recipients were leaders in their immediate sectors and their influence was “greater impacting regional communities and internationally”.

“These men have made and continue to make a significant contribution to Australia’s wool industry,” Mr Michell said.

“The diversity and range of their backgrounds and experience identifies that their contribution goes beyond the wool industry.

“They are worthy of the recognition of their peers and I congratulate them all on receiving the Australian Wool Industry Medal in recognition of their service and contribution”.

Mr Michell said it was a “privilege to be able to present the awards to remind ourselves that a community of support and recognition is a healthy way to ensure that the Australian wool industry creates a positive image that is attractive to the next generation.”

“The awards are a celebration of the contributions of these outstanding people to this iconic Australian industry,” he said.

The Federation of Australian Wool Organisation is the peak body for the Australian wool industry.

Its members include Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors, the Australian Wool Exchange, AWH Pty Ltd, Australian Wool Innovation, Australian Wool Testing Authority, The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia, and WoolProducers Australia.

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