Throughout the history of the evolution of the Australian Merino, the creative efforts of the few impact studmasters has been critical. By any account Tom Culley is regarded as one of the greatest breeders of Merino sheep this country has seen. The genetic impact of the rams he bred upon the national flock has been enormous. The distinctive nature of his sheep is no less significant. With their terrific size, and long-stapled and soft medium-strong wool fleeces of great bulk, they were immediately recognisable. Whether on the catwalk, or in the sale pen, Merino rams bred by Tom Culley, ‘the last of the great studmasters of the older generation’, had infinite appeal. In successfully blending two strains of Merino, ‘grafting the Collinsville type onto a productive Peppin base’, Tom Culley proved the Wonga Merino a powerful and distinctive type of wool producer in the accepted Australian style.
By not following the traditional method of breeding ‘like to like’, Culley deliberately challenged the accepted pattern of over a century of breeding Merino sheep. Mating his sheep ‘unlike to unlike’, and concentrating on wool type and constitution, and accepting minor conformation flaws, he established an independent bloodline, a strain breeding true to type, and in every way, unique.
Dedicated to his chosen career, methodical in his method and scrupulous in his manner, Tom Culley had a vision that soared.