The Southdown Sheep is recognized as one of the oldest Down Breeds that originated in the United Kingdom. Their ancestors are believed to have been grazing the short sweet herbage of the Downs when William of Normandy set foot on English soil at Pevensy.
The records show that Rev. Samuel Marsden imported Southdowns to Australia soon after his arrival in 1793.
The Southdown has been used widely throughout Australia to cross with all breeds of sheep and have produced prime quality lambs which command top attention by the local and overseas trade.
In the year 1974 the import ban on sheep from New Zealand was lifted. Quite a number of top southdown rams and ewes were imported to Australia.
Up till that time a 15 month old Southdowm ram would weigh 150 to 170 lbs (68 - 77kg). A mature Southdown ram would weigh 210 - 230 lbs (95- 104kg). With the infusion of the NZ blood todays top 15 month old rams weigh between 100-125kg with mature rams between 155-165kgs.
One of the outstanding features of todays Southdowns is that they carry the correct amount of fat covering which is carried through to the commercial lamb that they sire for today's meat trade.