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Sheering Sheds

Sheep sheering-Camp — 2000-08-20

After the psychologically draining time for us, it is not easy to break camp today. We find ourselves on the road to Cue at 9:30 a.m. on this sunny day. Tanja’s blisters cause her to walk irregularly and have resulted in her suffering from terrible back pain, she looks like she could break in two any minute. I feel very sorry for her and ask myself how we are to continue. Rufus has to throw up after eating too much grass at the camp, and I feel painful twinges in my knee. The wild chase after Istan and especially being dragged by him through the grass, appears to have it’s price. Nevertheless, we make good ground and our pain becomes a dull throb a few hours later. We hear the sound of an engine in the late afternoon and pull the camels over to the side of the road as a jeep drives slowly up beside us. ‘Hi mate, how ya goin?’ Phill grins out at us. He accompanies us to the sheering sheds a few hundred metres ahead, where we set the camels down next to the windmill and begin with the unloading.

‘My God, that’s an awful lot of work. Why don’t you find an easier way of doing it?’ Phill asks in wonder and realises for the first time just what it means to have to carry 1000km of equipment, water and food around. He takes a look at the saddles and suggests developing a new system of unloading for us. But we refuse his offer, for the simple fact that we’ve tried just about every way of loading and unloading over the last few months and this really is the one that works best. Phill pulls out another three cold bottles of beer, carefully wrapped in newspaper, and we interrupt the unloading process to drink to our success. Then he disappears once more into the dusk, on the hunt for kangaroos. As soon as he leaves, we hurry to set the camp up before nightfall. The spot is surrounded by a few huts, sheds and small houses, some of which are already half collapsed. Phill had told us that this area belongs to the Austin Down Station but is only used about once a year for the sheering of approximately 1000 sheep. A beautiful lush flower of brilliant red grows within some of the fenced in areas, aptly named Ruby Dock, and our camels eat it with the same relish as cream on ice cream. We don’t dare lead the animals into the fenced area, unfortunately, as they would surely eat the place bare and maybe the farmer needs these plants for his sheep. And so our boys have to do with grazing in the open spaces of the larger paddock, but to be honest the yellow flowers growing there are also delicious.

Day: 101






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