The Collinsville tradition began inb 1889 when John Collins bought 50 000 acres or rugged, inhospitible pastoral country in the mid-north of South Australia and moved there with his family.
The land was 20 miles East of Hallett and they were true pioneers, gambling for their future in the harsh isolation of the Australian outback tolerating conditions and stbacks that demanded rare fortidude and pesewrvarance. Within a year John Collins had introduced his first Merinos to form the foundation of the Collinsville Stud.
It was oficially registered in 1895 after he purchased a draft of ewes from the Koonona Stud near Burra and Cappeedee ewes for Hallett. These sheep were sent from the relativly mild climate of Burra to the harsh terrain of Collinsville station at the beginning of what was to be Australia's severest grought. After eight years on limited rations of saltbush, bluebush and herbage, the surviving sheep emerged as an outstanding foundation flock.
In 1910 Collins' Son Melvin went to the Sydney Royal show and paid a world record price of 1550 guineas for the Haddon Rig champion ram Dundie Dinmont. The purchase is generally regarded as being the point at which Collinsville Stud really began. Melvin Collins was a craftsman who skilfully blended the best bloodlines to produce the Collionsville Merino.
Collinsville exhibited its sheep at all the main shows in Australia and established a thriving market for its sale stock both at home and overseas. South Africa and South America, were buyers of Collinsville sheep before the Australian government banned the export of Merinos in 1929.
Art Collins, John Collins' sixth son,took over running the stud in 1918. Art became the driving force of the Collins family and by the end of his life had gained a reputation among wool-growing nations of the world as an outstanding Merino breeder of the 20th century. He was comitted to breeding large framed, heavy cutting sheep, which were able to withstand the most rigorous conditions and achieve a high lambimg percentage. He succeded in developing an animal that has had more influence on the national flock than any other bloodline. By the end of his life, the stud had grown to nearly 10 000 ewes and 140 daughter studs had emerged throughout Australia.
in 1985 the stud was bought by the Garnett family and this short ownership saw the greatest highs and lows of the Stud s history. During the boom of the late 80's the Stud achieved world recods which still stand today. $450 000 and $280 000 for horned and Poll rams respectivly. However within 7 years the Stud was placed into receivership and was saved from dispersal by the Hanbury family who owned it for a further 20 years. Under their stewardship the size of Collinsville staion also increased. Recently the Stud and station have been purchased by the Millington family who are now only the 4th owners in 125 years. Their aim is to continue the tradition started by the Collins family by breeding large framed heavy cutting sheep that prosper in the harsh pastoral environment.