Angora goats were first imported into Australia in 1832 and 1833. They came from M Polonceau’s stud in France. At the same time two pure bred bucks and two pure bred does were also imported from the Duchess of Berri.
Pure bred Angoras were imported from Turkey during the late 19th Century. From about 1860, there was every possibility that some were upgraded Angoras originating from the ‘Turkish native’ or ‘Anatolian Black’; a fleece and meat goat. This is because Turkey had begun an upgrading program to rapidly increase numbers. By 1870 the original Angora in Turkey was virtually extinct. There were importations from South Africa in 1873 and from USA about 1890.
There were a few Angora goat breeders in Australia before the 1900’s, but by 1950 all interest in Angoras had gone. Mr Fred Barton, who began his Banksia flock in 1904, was the only breeder to continue. He kept the breed pure to the original importations, untainted by the blood of feral or dairy goats. He registered as a stud in 1947 with the Goat Breed Society of Australia (GBS). It is from this flock that our Angoras are descended, making them some of the purest Angora goats in the world.
The above was written by Valerie Donald and is from her website.
In 2019 the Heritage Angora Goat Society of Australia was formed. The objective is to provide a permanent vehicle to enable breeders to join together to share their experiences with these goats and to maintain and build the breed. The Society website is at http://www.hagsa.com.au/ . Anyone who is interested in preserving Australian Heritage Angora Goats as a breed is welcome to become a member.
One of the first actions of the Society was to recognise Val’s huge contribution to maintaining the breed and gene pool. On 28 January 2020 Val Donald was presented with her Life Membership Certificate of the Heritage Angora Goat Society of Australia.
We purchased our first Australian Heritage Angora goats from Val. Therefore our Angoras are also directly descended from Mr Barton’s Banksia flock.
In 2002 the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia listed Australian Heritage Angoras as critically endangered. Today there are less than 200 of these beautiful goats. Importantly there are now 6 breeders maintaining the gene pool.