Wild & Woolly

In the musty auction rooms of Sydney's Royal Exchange, the wildest wool market in history got under way last week. Buyers pulled off their neckties and rolled up their sleeves as prices jumped in the heavy bidding carried on by burry-voiced Yorkshiremen, throaty Flemings, precise, high-pitched French. All Western Europe was bidding for this year's crop of Australian wool.

The crop was short because floods during the last three months had drowned some 4,000,000 sheep, disrupted transport of the clip to the market. When Auctioneer J. L. Brassil asked for bids on a lot of grease wool (i.e., raw wool)...

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