Meet Holly Byrne
While other students were wondering what career path to follow, Holly Byrne knew exactly what direction she wanted to take in the future.
The Bendigo TAFE graduate took home the country’s top woolclassing award at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Holly was named National Graduate Woolclasser of the Year in the inaugural Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) competition. The Bagshot local competed against 10 of Australia’s best graduate woolclassers in a bid to take home the coveted title.
Holly’s award recognises her passion for working with Australian wool and the exemplary work ethic that has taken her to the top of her training course at Bendigo TAFE.
“Holly is a born natural for the wool industry. She is very enthusiastic, eager, a terrific worker that gets in there and does the job,” said Bendigo TAFE woolclassing teacher Jim Field.
Holly credits her father, James ‘Jumbo’ Byrne, for introducing her to wool at an early age.
“Since I was old enough I started working as a shed hand and rouseabout during school holidays.
“Without Dad, I would never have gone into the sheds as a kid and probably wouldn’t have discovered what a great career and lifestyle woolclassing and farm life can provide.
“Wool is a fantastic fibre that is so versatile whether it’s raw or processed.
“I encourage more girls to get into wool classing. It’s really good pay and it’s not like a lot of farm jobs where you could be physically challenged. Plus, I think we are better than the boys.”
Since graduating, Holly has worked at Quality Wool Bendigo and is now leading the McLeod’s Daughter lifestyle, working for the Day family at Junee Reefs in rural New South Wales.
“I love working in the wool sheds during shearing – it’s a fantastic atmosphere with the speed, the people and the general feeling about a shed that’s shearing hundreds of sheep per day,” Holly said.
“On weekends, I usually go to a rodeo with the family and help out with the horses. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.”
Bendigo TAFE and trainer Jim Field were also recognised by AWEX, awarded a trophy for excellence as the institute and trainer of the winner of the graduate woolclasser prize.
The competition is founded by the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) in conjunction with TAFE and is designed to raise the profile of woolclassing as an important Australian profession.