WHERE IT ALL STARTED

The History of the Renowned Hillgrove Sheep Stud

Hillgrove Babydoll Sheep Stud (Registered ASSBA Flock Number 26) is one of Australia’s oldest existing Southdown Studs and was founded in 1921 by Bill and Dick Metcalf from Greenhill in Victoria with the purchase of eighteen ewes and one ram from Mr. J. E. Hyslop.

In 1925 Bill and Dick Metcalf went on to purchase their first imported ram from Mr. Brook’s Stud in New Zealand. This was followed by another ram in 1929 which was purchased from Sir Walter Halsey in Hempstead England. So successful was this English ram that a second English ram was purchased in 1933 from the Aldenham Stud. Yet another ram was purchased from New Zealand in 1934.


In 1935 the Metcalfs made headlines in Australia when one of the sons, Dick, paid a then record price for a “Punchbowl Ram” from New Zealand. Unfortunately the ram only lasted two seasons. Over the succeeding years further rams were subsequently purchased from New Zealand as imports from England were very difficult to arrange due to quarantine regulations.

In 1940 the Metcalf Hillgrove stud had 327 breeding ewes. At the time Australia had 528 registered breeders, each with smaller numbers of breeding ewes, but many with Hillgrove bloodline in them . By 1963 Hillgrove had 573 breeding ewes, all individually mated, with the ewes lambed out in a shed to guarantee the breeding of each sheep.

The Metcalfs travelled to many Australian shows, winning many championships. Their most prized procession was the Southdown Breeders Cup which was won in 1949. This Cup had to be won 5 times, to be won outright. It was shortly after they won the Southdown Breeders’ Cup that they decided to give "showing" away. They wanted to give other breeders the opportunity to win these top trophies. When not showing, the Metcalf brothers were actively judging Southdown sheep, and were life members of the Royal Melbourne Show.

When the Southdown Breeders decided to change the Southdowns to what is now the "Modern Southdown", the Metcalfs were content to breed along what they termed the "Original Southdown" lines. Some breeders may disagree with their style of breeding, but their market was for the older breed.


Eventually the Hillgrove Stud was passed to Dick and Bill's niece and nephew-in-law, Murray and Judy Peart, who continued along the original lines. Things were still done the traditional "British" way, so pedigrees 

can be 100% guaranteed. 


On 15th December, 2018 Murray and Judy Peart, sold the stud in its entirety to Gully Green Babydoll Southdown Stud owned by Janice and Chris Evans from Moama, NSW. Murray and Judy Peart were personally connected to the stud for over 50 years so this was a massive decision.


Gully Green Babydoll Southdowns made a commitment to continue the strong tradition of breeding only the Original Southdown as maintained by the Metcalf brothers and continued by Murray and Judy Peart. In February 2018 The Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA) gave permission for the prefix "Hillgrove" to be used by Janice and Chris and "Gully Green" was dropped. 

Hillgrove Original Southdowns is now run as Hillgrove Babydoll Southdown Sheep.