Judging the Royal

Edward Thomas from Jemalong Wool Cooma. Photo: Tina Zunic

Edward Thomas from Jemalong Wool Cooma. Photo: Tina Zunic

NOT many students look to the country after they complete school, but for one young Camden student the country's opportunities were too good to miss.

Edward Thomas, 18, works for Jemalong Wool's Monaro branch as a trainee wool broker with hopes of becoming an auctioneer.

"I got into sheering sheep through work experience at school, but I really didn't know where it would lead me. This job [at Jemalong] came up by chance and I thought I'd run with it," Mr Thomas said.

The former student from St Gregory's College, Campbelltown, who completed Year 12 last year, studied agriculture through his senior years at school and was a member of the school's show team through Years 9 to 11.

As an active member of the St Gregory's show team, Mr Thomas took part in judging and handler's competitions.

"I always liked agriculture and there's plenty of room to move in the industry. I may as well get in while I can," Mr Thomas said.

Mr Thomas was nominated by the NSW branch of the Australian Corriedale Association to participate as an associate judge at the Royal Easter Show this year.

This was Mr Thomas' first appearance in the Sydney show ring as a judge, and he had been an associate judge for the breed at Canberra Royal in February.

He had success in both at the Dubbo National Sheep Show in May 2012, which led to a position in the competition final at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo later that same year.

Mr Thomas was nominated for his Canberra Royal and Sydney Royal judging duties by NSW Corriedale Association president Tony Manchester, Roseville stud, Kingsvale.

He hopes to judge in New Zealand as part of an exchange program the Australian and New Zealand Corriedale associations have been running for the past six years.

Mr Manchester said the exchange program was designed to encourage young people to get involved with the breed and keep them involved.

For the time being, Mr Thomas is living in Cooma and undergoing wool classing studies at TAFE.

"I love it. It's heaps good. I'm learning something new everyday. I just have to get used to the winters here."

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