I started collecting the tags back in 1959 as a kid living in the outback, in Broken Hill.
Like many boys at my age things were still pretty tight in the post war period, so we collected marbles, rocks and a few of the boys began our collections of Ear Tags from sheep stations with the property name imprinted on the tag.
At that time tags were small and large plastic tags, brass, or plain aluminium and coloured aluminium of different sizes.
My oldest tag is from 1949.
As our collections grew to a decent size, we placed them on belts around our waist, over our shoulders or on our hats, thus showing all the many colours and names of properties from around the district.
A good collection back then would be 40 to 100 different property tags.
Some of the sheep stations were 4,000 to 500,000 acres in size, with many becoming famous in agricultural terms and in literature.
Like THE OVERFLOW. (Clancy of the overflow Poem).
Did you know that 2 sons of the great English writer ‘Charles Dickens’ worked on sheep stations in the Broken Hill Region of NSW, being on Corona St 3million acres 1870, and on Momba Station near Wilcannia, Edward Dickens became the member of Burke in NSW parliament.
So the ear tag has become a little piece of our sheep breeding heritage.
Some of the names cleverly made up, are pure samples of our very Australian dry sense of humour about the harsh country we live in.
Such as ;- Youldoo, Bungle Gully, College Green, Dry Lake, Water Bag, Love Grove, Bring-Along, Terrible Vale, Jam Hills, Budgerygar, Wild Dog Creek and the iconic beautifully named Sweet Wattle farm.
Now over fifty five years later I have reactivated my collection.
I have 1,494 tags with the different property names on them, and this year I wish to broaden my collection world wide, with correspondence going out to the UK, USA, New Zealand, South Africa and some countries in Europe.
I also write to media people in the industry, abattoirs and sheep breeders and many of the sheep associations throughout Australia.
All my tags are on picture frame boards, showing all the colours and variations and names of the properties.
It may well be an odd collection to have but surely it is an important link with our heritage on the land, and therefore worth collecting.
Would it be possible if your property / company or related business send a tag or two in a box or bubble envelope, so I can add them to the collection?
I will also swap tags with other collectors.
If you have a number of tags you wish to send, please contact me by phone or via Email re POSTAGE costs.
If unable to help with a tag, could you let your friends or neighbours know about my collection please, as they might wish to donate a tag.
Let your friends or neighbours know about my collection please, as they might wish to donate a tag.Paul Armstrong - Collector
I very much appreciate your time and effort in reading my letter.
Thank You. Contact Paul Armstrong 183 Chloride Street, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880, Australia.
PH 08 80885554 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Author of ‘History column’ in Barrier Daily Truth newspaper Broken Hill.