Moilliets mark 100 years of sheep raising

The Moilliet’s sheep ranch near Vavenby celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006

Axel the guard dog lays in the sunshine as Ian Moilliet and his son

Axel the guard dog lays in the sunshine as Ian Moilliet and his son

The Moilliet’s sheep ranch near Vavenby celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006.

However, it is also marking a major milestone this year, according to Ian Moilliet and his sister, Val Gerber.

In the fall of 1913 the Aveley Ranch acquired its first sheep when a flock of 40 ewes plus at least one ram was driven up the rail-bed from Louis Creek.

Up until that time the family had been mostly concerned with clearing the land. Their grandfather, Theodore Albert Moilliet (Tam for short) raised a little money by trapping during the winter.

The railroad right-of-way had been cleared at the time, they said, but the rails were not yet in and the route made an ideal trail to drive sheep on.

The family held its first lambing in the spring of 1914, and made its first shipment that fall after the railroad had come through.

“Grandfather knew he couldn’t get into sheep without having a way to get them out,” said Val. “If you raised more than five, who would you sell them to?”

The family would like to hold some kind of contest or event to commemorate the anniversary during the year, but the details haven’t been worked out yet.

The Moilliets have always been good record keepers, with photo albums, diaries and journals going back to the earliest times.

Much of this material is available online at www.aveleyranch.com.