Sandown Stud was foundered by Graham Sutherland and Tony Abbey 2000. Here is a brief introduction to our considerable background in the sheep breeding industry.
Graham has a long-standing association with agriculture in Western Australian, being a fifth generation farmer in this state.
His involvement in sheep breeding commenced back 1956, mainly with Merinos and Poll Dorsets, selling both flocks in 2002 to concentrate on SAMMs. Both the Merino and Poll Dorsets studs met with considerable success, with the Sandown Poll Dorset stud gaining top flock average for two years out of three within Australia.
Graham has been involved with Alan Jarman and Dr Colin Davies in establishing the method of using ultrasound to measure eye muscle and fat depth in sheep which has gone on to be part of the Lambplan measurement criterion. He was one of the inaugural members of Lambplan, having rams rated number one in both Poll Dorset and SAMMs in Australia.
Graham has spent 44 years breeding sheep and growing grain in the Badgingarra area. He has judged sheep at major shows in WA, SA and NSW and Kenya.
He has been involved in the SAMM Society since he commenced breeding SAMMs, being a member of the WA committee, a federal delegate, President of WA and national President. He was also President of the QLamb group which had two hundred farmer members supplying quality lamb for the QLamb brand.
Graham won the P&O Agriculture Scholarship in 1964 and in 1968-1970 worked as an AVA on a United Nations project in Tanzania with sheep and cattle.
Tony has farmed extensively since 1962 to 1983 in the Frankland district in Western Australia. During this time he was involved in running commercial merino sheep, a merino stud, a stock and farm agency and a shearing contract team.
In 1980 he purchased a new-land farm in Badgingarra, eventually moving there in 1983. His sheep enterprise consisted of commercial merinos and Poll Dorset cross lambs.
In 2002 a partnership was formed with Graham and Robyn Sutherland to run a South African Mutton Merino stud, which has achieved considerable success and recognition.
In 2005, on a visit to Germany, a meeting was organised with Dr. Theo Hiner, who showed us the top German Mutton Merino Studs, these studs being the source of the SAMM studs in South Africa.
Over the years, Tony has become extensively involved in International Judging of sheep, shearing and wool handling. This has included being an Australian Wool Handling Judge at the World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships at Bloemfontein in 2000; Shearing Judge at Masterton (NZ) Golden Shears, judging in numerous world record attempts, both overseas and Australia and SAMM judge at 2013 Royal Adelaide Show.
During the 1990’s, Tony was invited by Peter Black to join the Australian Wool Commission as a Shearing and Wool Handling instructor. This entailed instructing shearers and wool handlers in all sheep breeding states in Australia.