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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shearing sheep

In September we shear our sheep in a flurry of mustering, red dust, extra workers, excited sheep dogs, sandwiches and thermoses.

Each shearing season brings a distinct buzz, excitement and smell that makes this time memorable.  As I watch our children helping in the sheep yards, negotiating the paddocks on their small motorbike and poking their noses into the shearer’s smoko box, the memories of shearing from my childhood are almost identical.

It all starts with woolly sheep.  


A morning smoko break in the paddock.  Time for refueling motorbikes, coffee, something to eat, a smoke for some and a quiet moment.


The sheep are drafted and moved through the yards and dust towards the woolshed. 



Skillful shearers and wool handlers make the job look easy.




The cook plays a major role in keeping hungry workers fueled up with no-nonsense, hearty food. 


When the job is done the wool is carefully loaded onto local trucks and sent to market. 


Just like that the woolshed is cleaned up and silent and it is all over for another year. 

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday.  

If you happen to be in the mood for a little more woolly action click here.  Our shearing contractor has a website full of videos, photos and footage of all things sheep and shearers.  

25 comments :

  1. Loved reading this, although I have no sheep knowledge at all so many facets are like our life chasing cattle!

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    1. Thank you Ainsley...we have some cattle too and there are certainly a few similarities!

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  2. i love the smell of shearing sheds and the greasy feel of the fleece jane..my mother's family were all sheep farmers and i have fond memories of trips to the various family farms as a child..x

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    1. Thank you Jane, the smell of wool is something everyone remembers I think x

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  3. I can almost smell it! Wonderful post, Jane.

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  4. Big shearing sheds on shearing day- lots of tea and sandwiches and sausage rolls, just lovely.

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    1. Thank you Francesca, I hope you are still enjoying your trip!

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  5. That is sheep shearing big scale. Wow - a whole tractor trailer load of wool? I have never seen, or even thought of that, before! Thanks for sharing - very interesting!

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    1. Thank you for your supportive comments as always Katie!

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  6. Such a totally different life to what goes on in the big city. I love your photos...it looks like such an adventure (and hard work too)!

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    1. Mel, the cool thing is that I get to read about your city life while you read about my country life. We live in different worlds but isn't it great to be able to share little bits and pieces along the way!

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  7. Wonderful pictures Jane! I always dreamed of being a shearers' cook....cooking up big meals for all those appreciative workers. Hard work but very rewarding I bet!

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I appreciate you calling in. I am sure your cooking talents would be very welcome and popular in any shearing shed! x

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  8. oh jane, thank you for ngme to a wonderful part of our australian life, that few of us know or experience. i can smell the dust and the lanoliny-wool all the way here in hobart :-)

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    1. Thanks so much e, I appreciate your comments! x

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  9. It's funny, my memories of shearing sheds are so old now, but the smell that others have also mentioned just sticks doesn't it, it's so distinctive. (Also the busyness and peering down through the shed cracks of the floor.)
    I'd love to show my kids this one day.

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    1. Thanks for calling in Brydie. Please bring your kids to our woolshed one day :)

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  10. My nan occasionally cooked for shearers - I remember going out with her one day to the farm, but stayed in the house while she cooked, so I didn't get to see the whole shebang. I'm sure I would have just played with the dogs and gotten them in trouble for not working!

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    1. Hi Naomi, in my experience sheep dogs love to play! Thanks for calling in x

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  11. I loved this post Jane. Our own sheep have only just arrived 2 weeks ago - although only the tiny amount of 8, and they are Dorpers so are kept for meat not wool :-) I've discovered a new love and interest for these quirky animals though, and also love working dogs on stock (I've just spent 6 days at a stockdog workshop with Rilla and Spud) so the two interests go hand in hand :-) I'm hoping our own little flock will grow in time, and with the purchase of a ram hopefully we'll have some lambs to sell too!

    Hope you're well,
    Sarah xx

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    1. Hello Sarah, so good to hear from you. How exciting that you have some sheep of your own! Quite a few people in our area have moved away from the more traditional Merinos and switched to Dorpers as they cope well in our arid conditions and the large expense of shearing is avoided.

      Your sheep dog workshop sounds great. My husband did one of these, a few years ago now.

      Happy sheep farming x

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  12. I loved this post Jane (and the shearing team's website is pretty cool too). When we visited Australia I was in awe of the size of the shearing sheds as it's such a vast operation compared with here. Our newly renovated barn is insulated with sheepwool so on a hot day it smells rather like a shearing shed.
    Video next year?

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  13. Thanks Anne. Wool would be great insulation in your barn! The woolsheds are large; ours is an average size but there are some in our area which are enormous and quite modern with all the bells-and-whistles. Maybe a video next year...not sure if our internet connection can handle it!

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  14. Sweet memories of a childhood holiday to Longreach and watching the sheep shearing demonstrations! Sorry for delayed responses/comments while we travel! x

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane