Shearers: Blue singlets and boots

'Westbourne', Berremangra Rd via Bookham, New South Wales, Australia

‘Westbourne’ shearers’ quarters


On a back road from Yass to Harden (New South Wales, Australia), heading into a rolling green valley, we drove on tar covered with cow pats.

A rambling old homestead overlooks a dam, a Soldier Settlement property of many decades and many acres.

Down the road the shearers’ quarters waits silently in the sinking gold of the afternoon. Many doors lead to many rooms. Nearby a meat hanging room is empty and well-scrubbed.

The well-worn tar road binds these shearers’ quarters to their purpose, the wool shed.

I wonder how many boots have climbed the stoop, weary from a long hot day bent over wool? How many heads have rested on a ticking mattress, too weary to undress before sleep?

And how many bristled chins have then risen with first light to a plate of eggs and bread? To stride to ‘the boards’ for another day bent over the shears in a blue singlet?

The shearers’ rooms are quiet now – dust motes dancing in the light through the windows – waiting for the next season.  ♦


Aussie icons, ‘One Shot Wonders’ series

– To mark Australia Day on January 26, my ‘One Shot Wonders’ this week will feature good old Aussie icons.

Photo taken 17 November 2013, with Canon PowerShot A550

‘Westbourne’ shearers’ quarters, Berremangra Rd, between Jugiong and Bookham, New South Wales, Australia


Sheep are an important part of Australia’s history. They were brought to Australia with the First Fleet of convicts and soldiers on 26 January 1788.

Yass Valley and nearby Harden Shire of New South Wales are among the important sheep raising areas of Australia, for meat and fine wool production.

4 comments on “Shearers: Blue singlets and boots

  1. Woolly Muses says:

    Love this. I spent ten years wool classing in the Hay, Darlington Point, Hillston triangle, However my very firs shed was 70 miles south of Ivanhoe. You could not have described shearers quarters any better. A very lonely place when the job is over.

    • I was always fascinated in the shed, how they could throw the fleece in one go! As a kid, they put me in the top of the old wooden wool-press and convinced me you had to ‘stomp’ the bale like grapes. I never knew about the lever until years later!!

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