When I reminisce about my childhood one of the strongest memories I have is of shearing time. There were dusty days spent behind mobs of sheep and in the evenings Dad would skilfully slaughter ration sheep for the shearers. A visit to the basic but busy shearer’s kitchen meant the strong smell of mutton cooking and perhaps a treat from the shearer’s cook if we were lucky. It was our busiest time of the year and everyone had a job to do.
Things have changed a bit since the early 80s and now I have children of my own who are learning the ropes and forming their own shearing memories.
Nowadays shearers set up satellite televisions in their rooms and thankfully there are quite a few young females in the industry. Hard core dance music pumps out from the woolshed to break the monotony and shearer’s cooks don’t serve as much mutton as they did in the past, if any.
Some things never change. Sheep still have to be walked steadily from their paddock to the woolshed and back again.
A simple lunch is still eaten on the move when a job needs to be done.
Shearing time is as busy for the sheep dog team as it is for everyone else.
Wool is still woolly and loading it onto the truck is the final step in a full year of work and planning.
Whenever I have written about shearing in the past I am always amazed at how many people have some connection from their childhood with shearing, sheep or woolsheds.
Do you have any woolly memories I wonder?