Chantel McAlister is already making a positive impact to the wool industry with her Truth About Wool Tour.
Chantel McAlister is already making a positive impact to the wool industry with her Truth About Wool Tour. Contributed

WATCH: Bringing the facts about wool industry to forefront

IT WAS a leap of faith to lay down her classing stencil and give up her day job.

But taking the plunge is already paying off.

Chantel McAlister's Truth About Wool Tour is only in its early stages, but the master wool classer turned agricultural champion believes her goal of honestly showcasing the wool industry through video and photography for those who do not get to experience it first-hand is starting to make a difference.

The first leg of her Western Australia tour has wrapped up, and she is now in the thick of her trip in Tasmania, so Chantel caught up with the Rural Weekly to share some of her highlights and favourite photos from her journey so far.

Although Chantel has 10 years of experience in the wool industry, she had learnt so much more from visiting different producing regions, she said.

"All these different districts have their own challenges," she said.

"So where I am used to working in southern and outback Queensland, our biggest challenges have been drought and wild dogs.

 

Jess Parker, wool handler for NK Shearing in Benalla, Victoria.
Jess Parker, wool handler for NK Shearing in Benalla, Victoria. Chantel Renae Photography

"But over in WA, dogs aren't as much of a problem. They are facing issues caused from high rainfall, like foot rot and fly strike - things that we don't suffer a lot where I am from.

"So it's been interesting to see all these other challenges people are facing and how they have overcome them."

So far the biggest hurdle for Chantel has been organising the logistics of the journey.

Finding enough hours in the day to co-ordinate the self-funded and crowd-funded campaign while doing the hard yards of shooting, filming and writing for her blog has been difficult.

While she has no qualms about taking portrait shots of burly shearers, or gliding among the fast-paced working systems of a functioning wool shed when filming, or even capturing working dogs in action at dusty yards, planning an Australia-wide trip is outside of her comfort zone.

Although Chantel grew up in Brisbane, in recent years she has not worked outside of her home district from Warwick to Mungindi.

 

Richard Coole at Glenerin in Franklin, WA.
Richard Coole at Glenerin in Franklin, WA. Chantel Renae Photography

"I haven't ever gone out on my own to the other side of Australia before," she said.

"So just trying to find my way around and trying to find enough hours in the day has been hard. But I have learnt lessons and I have ironed out a few issues."

Chantel had a goal that when "the truth about wool" was Googled, her site would appear first, not a website run by animal activists group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"I Googled it last night and I think I have the top six spots, it's just amazing," she said.

"I am getting quite a bit of backlash from animal activists. I don't take it personally. It's water off a duck's back for me, but looking at it positively it does mean that I am getting a larger reach.

"It's reaching outside of the agriculture area.

"I don't want to be reaching animal activists, I just want to reach the people who don't have a chance to experience Australian agriculture."

Bonnie at Littleton in Thallon, Queensland.
Bonnie at Littleton in Thallon, Queensland. Chantel Renae Photography


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