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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Smoko View of Shearing

One of our young is overseas at the moment and Craig took the camera to work to snap some "daily life" for him. So I thought that I would share Craig's album of "this is where I am. what I am doing" with you too.

Above is the board where the shearers work. The bare boards are coated in lanolin naturally from the sheep. Looking down the board, there are nine shearers set up along and you can see many have slings as back aids to help take some of the strain of the day. Each shearer has a motor mounted above where he works; long tubes extend from them upon the end of which hand pieces are mounted. 
Down the left hand side are the sheep pens with swinging doors where they get the sheep from and on the right is the drop doors to the shute that they go through into the counting out pen. Each shearer has a shelf and nail where all sorts of vital things are kept to hand like a sweat towel, a bucket for the cutters, a holder of combs and other hand piece tools and sewing needle and thread in case of cut sheep.

Their boots are also hung because on the board each shearer wears moccasins made from wool that grip better on the greasy boards and allow better bending and ankle and leg flexibility, I guess they also absorb sweat...there is always a lot of sweat. Very hard to tell in the top photo, but they are all wearing moccasins. 

This is a shot of the sheep in their counting out pens. Shearers get paid per sheep so counting is very important. 

We've had inches and inches of rain this month but a beautiful day this day and a lovely view from their pen.

It's lunchtime and this motley crew of workers are also waiting for more to do.

Inside the other workers are lined up for masses of veggies.
(Oh look, you can see a pair of moccies in this shot and a typical pair of cut dungarees)

After smoko it's back to the office...

Glossary of Terms
The Board - the floor along the shed where the sheep are shorn
Hand piece - the main part of the shearing piece weighs 1.5kg/3lb $750-$1000
Cutters - three toothed blades that attach to the hand piece, several used in a day
Combs - many toothed piece that assists the wool lift and feed towards the cutters.
Counting out pen - each shearers pen of shorn sheep to tally with the count
Moccasins - (Moccies) soft soleless shoes made from felted wool
Dungarees - (Dungas) refers to specially cut shearers trousers made from sturdy denim, cut high in the back and split at the ankle.
Smoko - usually the short break like morning tea but also used for lunchtime too.

(ps still waiting to hear from Renae who won the cook book)


  1. Love this snapshot of rural life in Australia Tanya......
    Great pics Craig.
    Not sure I like the sound of the needle and thread, but I'm sure it would be rarely needed.......
    Looks like the shearers are well fed and such a physically demanding job they would need it too.

    Claire x

  2. Great pics. Looking nice and green there...

    I have fond memories of shearing time on the farm. I used to love that time of year because mum baked a lot of extra goodies to eat!


  3. Feel like I need to brake into song!


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