After 25 years, our alpaca industry is branching out, using the animal’s meat and hides as well as its wool.

Story By John Dunn

Geoff and Nancy Halpin were farming Merino sheep and angora goats near Seymour, Vic, in 1988 when they decided they would branch into alpacas. “We were attracted to them because of their magnificent fibre and their potential as another fleece industry,” Geoff says.
In what was the first alpaca import of modern times, they brought in three from Alaska, to begin a small, private enterprise that was the forerunner for what has become a flourishing rural industry.
Within two years, the popularity and potential of these curious creatures had increased to such an extent – there were then 60 farmers and breeders and almost 700 animals – that the Australian Alpaca Association was formed.
This year it celebrates its 25th anniversary, with 2000 establishments and 170,000 animals spread across every state.

This Story is from Issue #104

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2016