Shearing Sheds

Shearing Sheds

Jun 15, 2017Vanessa Dunbabin

There's something unique about shearing sheds. Ours is small, only three stands. Ten thousand sheep a year.  And still it's like another world. The bustle and activity seem to soak into the wood with the lanolin, slowly drifting out again over time to keep an energy in the air.

It's quiet at the end of the first day. Wool bins not yet full. Pressed bales still low in number. Yet evidence of the ritual and busyness of the day is all around. A floor scraper casually tossed in the corner, a towel hung on the door in anticipation of a shearers return. The wool table standing silent and strong, as if reflecting on the many fleeces tossed against it to be classed.

Tim tams in the crib room talk of a morning tea well earned. The scattered chairs a promise of the comfortable banter to be exchanged over tomorrow's meat and three veg. Sheep are their life. Friendly larrikinism, hard work, and cake at smoko. It's an honour to know these country men.

I look around as if with fresh eyes. A naive city girl who feels deliciously out of place. My home for 17 years, and yet not born to it, merely drawn in. You can't get this feeling anywhere else. This looking in on a world of history, routine, and toil. The whir of machines and the clang of the press. The radio blaring to pass the hours. Dogs barking and sheep bleating. It's true you know. There is something unique about shearing sheds.

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