Shortlist year: 2012

Shortlist category: Australian history

Published by: University of Queensland Press

Once a great nation-building icon, the wool business today is but a third of its size when Australia ‘rode on the sheep’s back’. The story is a tragedy that reaches into the offices of Prime Ministers and Cabinet members across seven federal governments and its agencies. Despite this politically sanctioned collapse, there has never been a royal commission. Until now, no one has investigated what precipitated the great crash of February 1991 or the industry’s ongoing decline.

Breaking the Sheep’s Back is Massy’s private royal commission – a must-read account of the decline and fall of the Australian wool empire.

About the author

Charles Massy

Charles Massy has had a long involvement in the wool industry and with sheep breeding. He founded the leading Merino stud Severn Park in 1975. He has published numerous articles on the wool industry, Merino and wool history and the environment, as well as serving on the boards of the International Wool Secretariat and the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation.

His first book, The Australian Merino, was published by Penguin in 1990. After being traded on eBay for several hundred dollars a copy, it was re-released by Random House in 2007 and its print run sold out almost immediately.