The Wool Expo

Comments (0) Interviews

We talk to the Wool Expo Committee – a dedicated team of organisers who work behind the scenes to produce one of our region’s most popular events.


Why have you changed the name of this event, and will wool still be a feature?

New England is a phenomenal area. The Wool Expo Inc. committee are keen to expand the interests and aspects of the event and to include all the great features – we decided it should be ‘New England Expo’ and not just Wool Expo anymore.

The Wool Expo team has had many successful people working in it over the years and it just seemed the right step, in its 30th year of events, to proudly display all aspects of New England, to show just what a diverse area it has become.

It is vital though, that we maintain the agricultural integrity of the Expo; hence the sheep shearing, yard dogs, cattle and alpaca displays will remain a vital part and great spectator events throughout the weekend. As much as the New England has grown, sheep and wool farming was the basis of the economic prosperity of the region.

Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to showcase this industry. The KG Motors Woolcraft Marquee highlights the versatility, durability and wearability of wool and the numerous processes involved in turning the raw wool product into beautiful unique garments, from knitted booties to top end apparel and even machine-washable pure wool underwear.

Sue McMullen invites visitors to the interactive demonstrations of spinning, weaving, lace-making, knitting, crochet, sewing and felting, which will showcase the creativity and talent of artisans who are always eager to share their expertise in providing information, assistance and advice.

With the resurgence in popularity of quality unique hand crafted items, the KG Motors Woolcraft Marquee will provide patrons with the timely opportunity to purchase an ideal Australian made Mother’s Day gift.

Or, if you like, you can bring along your needles and yarn and learn to knit your own!

Why is this event so vital to our region?

Richard Croft, Chairman, comments:

The Expo is important to the region, because it displays the diversity of New England.

New England Expo is the development of 30 years of expos, and we hope in time it will grow to include more of our local businesses, towns and industries.

New England is famous around the world for its superfine wool and its education based on the University of New England.

This year we expect many visitors to New England for the ‘Life at Altitude’ program at UNE, and many of those people will be looking at the quality of life here at the same time.

Our aim is to show them why they can live here, but of course we want to attract people to live here for the quality of life. So we are showing off our wool products, our food and wine, our cultural assets and our safe family environment. What more could they ask for?

Tell us about the Business Breakfast?

The Commonwealth Bank Business Breakfast provides an opportunity for businesses in Armidale to network, rally together and fortify their connections within the business community.

The early Friday morning breakfast, (8am on 6 May) provides a perfect setting for this networking event, while being entertained by a distinguished panel of guests debating a topic of relevance. Last year proved very successful and most entertaining, and we look forward to a bigger Business Breakfast this year. Watch the press for details for the debate topic and who will be on the debating team!

Tickets are $25 pp and are available at the CBA in Dangar street. Businesses are encouraged to buy tables to entertain and network with their own clients.

What’s on during New England Graze?

Fran McDonald, organiser of the Food and Wine at the expo says: Now in its third year, the Landmark New England Graze is an exciting night of tastes and senses.

On Saturday night, 7 May between 7pm – 11pm, 10 delicious entree size servings of food created by local restaurants and caterers are expertly matched with 10 New England wines. Warwick Dunham Jazz Group will provide relaxing music to accompany it all.

People literally ‘graze’ around the large marquee, sampling and socialising as they go. It’s great watching people bump into friends they have not caught up with for a while, and they can do it all in an atmosphere of delicious food, wine and music!

Tickets are $85 pp and are available at New England Mutual (NECU).

The Slow Food Lunch?

Maureen Chapman, Convivium Leader of Slow Food New England explains:

On Sunday May 8 from 11.30am, join us for a very special luncheon event. A traditional Slow Food Feast combines the conviviality of people taking time to sit down to eat and chat, with an excellent variety of beautifully cooked dishes and ingredients that are fresh and locally grown.

Good food is a fantastic leveller. Everyone can not only enjoy it, but also share the experience in good company. The ingredients sourced will come from our own Local Farmers’ Markets and will not only be of the highest possible quality, but they will also reflect ethical production standards and the bounty that is available to us locally.

Sunday’s Feasters will savour dishes made from local beef, goat, pork and trout, as well as local olives, oils, cheeses, fruits and breads, and a selection of local wines and beers will be available at the on-site bar.

Platters of food will be delivered over the three and a half hours, allowing people to take their time and enjoy every offering.

The Slow Food movement is about food that tastes good, food that is produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health, and food that is produced in a way that ensures food producers receive fair compensation for their work.

This year’s Feast is being sponsored by Hutchinson & Harlow Real Estate and will be held in the main marquee on the Creeklands.

Tickets are $80 pp – to make a reservation, contact Maureen Chapman by email at, by phoning 0413 274 056, or just drop in to the office of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet in Cinders Lane.

The Markets Under The Stars?

This is an exciting new event for the Armidale community – an opportunity to rug up and enjoy a night of shopping, entertainment, food, wine and fashion with family and friends on Friday night, 6 May.

A Fireworks display, puppet theatre, quality arts and craft stalls, Hannas fashion show, food, encompassing pizza, Thai, indian and Chinese, New England wines, mime artists and music will guarantee a wonderful night under the stars for all. Essential Energy is the proud sponsor of this inaugural event.

There is no entry fee, and the night commences at 5pm and goes through until 9pm.

Final word?

A very big thank you to all our sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible. This year, the Armidale Dumaresq Council is proud to have the naming rights to the 30th year expo – a true justification and celebration!

The Committee is very excited to be creating and planning the 30th Expo, and we encourage all families and businesses to visit the site of the Armidale Dumaresq Council New England Expo.

Marquees, tents and arenas will be set up at the beautiful Creeklands over the weekend of 6 to 8 May. There is plenty to see and do for all ages, and this event is a really true reflection and showcase of the incredible lifestyle that we’re all very fortunate to enjoy in the New England.

The program of events and attractions will be available on the website in the coming weeks.


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