A first-time Melbourne Royal Show exhibitor who won the supreme Black & Coloured sash says she will return to Victoria in 20223 to defend her title.
Anna Barnes, Werowna Park, Yass, NSW, won the Black & Coloured supreme sash with a two-year-old Black Merino ewe.
"We won supreme ewe, supreme coloured exhibit ewe, champion ram and runner-up ram," Ms Barnes said.
She runs a superfine Black Merino stud at Yass and started showing sheep about eight years ago.
"This is my first time in Melbourne," she said.
"I've shown sheep previously up in NSW, Canberra, all the local shows and we've been to the Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo several times too."
Ms Barnes said the stud was a "hobby project" she entered several years ago because she had a fascination for black sheep.
The stud includes about 30 ewes and rams.
"The supreme ewe is not in the breeding program yet - she's only two - so I'll show her for another year and then think about breeding from her after that," she said.
"If you ask a White Merino person, there's nothing good about a Black Merino, but they're just so unique."
Ms Barnes said Black Merino wool was particularly popular among smaller operators.
"Their fleece is beautiful, they're sought after by the handcraft, home-spinning people and as people become more organic, these sheep will grow in popularity," she said.
"We went up against Polwarths, English Leicesters, and so on so coloured sheep come in all breeds and of course crossbreds as well but I don't cross my sheep."
Black & Coloured judge Bridget Leahy, Montone Corriedales and Boonong Park Hampshire Downs, Mortlake, said the category attracted strong competition among several breeds.
"I was really impressed with all the animals that came out," she said.
"We had entries in the fine, medium and strong wool sections ranging from Merinos through to English Leicesters.
"The Black Merino ewe in particular was phenomenal and it's really a judge's dream to get a ewe like that."
It was Ms Leahy's first time judging sheep at the Melbourne Royal Show.
"I was thrilled to be nominated and as I said on the microphone, as a young person in the industry but in particular a young female, it's just an honour to be invited," she said.
"The Black & Coloureds are definitely working hard and they deserve to be out in the interbreeds.
"These sheep are very popular for hand spinners and weavers and they're very sought after because of their colours and variations."