Charles has managed an 1820 ha. (4500 acre) sheep and cattle property (running an average 8,000 to 10,000 stock units) for 40 years. In addition he has managed other properties totalling 7,000 ha for city business interests. In the course of this he has led various local rural organizations plus was a regional bushfire captain.
Conducted over many years, initially in the fields of transformation and innovation in the Merino sheep and wool industries, and more latterly in the fields of regenerative landscape management, grazing systems for healthy landscape function, and addressing climate change and the current global ecological challenges for our species – including for such organisations as Greening Australia, Regional Landcare groups, and the Federal Governments Carbon Farming Initiative; plus lectures to Human Ecology students ANU.
More recent engagement has been in on-farm workshopping with farmers in regenerative agricultural fields, and also begun working with Aboriginal elders in regard to regenerating ‘Country’, including with cool patch-burning.
2011 – OAM for service to the wool industry and community
2008 – Power House Museum, Sydney – Distinguished Service Award (re. their Wool & pastoral Collection)
1992 – Silver Medal for contribution to the Australian Merino and wool industry – AASMB (Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders)
- The Australian Merino: Viking O’Neil/Penguin. 1990. 1088 pp.
- The Australian Merino – The Australian Story: Random House Australia. 2007. 1238 pp. (a major revision and updated edition of the 1990 book).
- Breaking the Sheep’s Back: UQP, 2011. 400 pp., paperback. This book was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History, and for the Ashurst Business Literature Prize.
- Preface to Wool – the Australian Story – by Richard Woldendorp, Roger McDonald and Amanda Burdon. Freemantle Arts Press. 2003.
- Preface to Around the Sheds, by Andrew Chapman. Five Mile Press, 2012.
Other relevant publications and media Work
Engaged in freelance journalism, non-fiction and creative fiction over an extended period from 1977 – covering a range of subjects from mountaineering, ecology, history, sheep and wool, research management, regenerative landscape management, and short stories and poetry.
Numerous published articles on pathways to innovation in sheep breeding and value-chain wool marketing; on Merino sheep, wool and Australian history. These appeared in such publications as The Merino Year Book, Australian Geographic, the Veterinary Science Journal, National Merino Review, Australian Farm Journal, various major mainstream newspapers, and in Conference Proceedings. Also a contributor to Australian Dictionary of Biography.