Guns for Hire!!

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June 1st 2013
Published: June 1st 2013
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Hired Gun!!Hired Gun!!Hired Gun!!

An expert Sheerer is called a gun, with all this practise, Caroline is looking for a change of career
It must have rained all night, the thought went through my head about the Wendy House on wheels,, Which was our camper trailer when we circumnavigated Australia, which was an entry level camper trailer, and made of Canvas, and listening to the rain throughout the night, when I was toasty and warm, I just thought to myself, thank god for Gypsy.

There were to many times that we got in to a wet bed and had to sleep like that.

As it was rain, rain, and more rain, we lay in bed listening to it thundering on the roof and reminisced about the previous adventures and relished in the fact that we were warm and dry.

We did eventually get out of bed by about 08.30 as there was no rush, we had things that we wanted to do before we left for Ivanhoe.

We re-hooked Gypsy to the truck and pulled it where we would be offered a little more shelter, and as there were some purpose built BBQ area’s this would be perfect to set the little stove up so we could have our morning coffee.

Who only looked like he knew what he was doing, but 10 out of 10 for effort

I asked Caroline if she wanted eggs and Bacon done on the BBQ but she said it was to much hassle and we could get some breakfast along the way.

Our first stop was the local servo, so we filled both tanks to full with around 180 litres and Caroline went off to pay, and on her return was carrying our breakfast baps containing, now wait for it.-Eggs and Bacon,

We pull the truck out of the way and sat in the cab and ate our breakfast.

Once our rubbish was put in the bin the next stop was directly over the road which was Shear Outback, which was the sheep shearers all of fame.

As soon as we went in the lady how took our money said if you go up to the shearing shed you can see some sheep getting a hair cut.

Now I like to think that we have learned at lot at Woodstock, they have somewhere near 20,000 sheep so its obvious that everyday we see sheep.

We have been through their shearing sheds and have seen
It rained and rained and rainedIt rained and rained and rainedIt rained and rained and rained

Sandy point, was not so Sandy as wet
the contract shearers in action, the last bloke we saw, was very very fat, and when he was over the sheep, his belly hung down, if you read on, a “Gun shearer” will have a huge daily intake of Calories, as much as a cyclist doing the Tour De France, but they burn it all off, whilst shearing

So we went straight outside to the sheering shed at Sheer Outback and this tall slim fellow was half way through giving one of the girls a new haircut, she lay at his feet, looking longinly in to his eyes and seemed quite happy just lying there, watching the world go by.

This Guy said G’day and asked us where we were from, we told him Canberra and you could just see a faint smirk on his face and though we do look like city slickers are pretty familiar with some farm speak and soon were reeling of some bits and bobs,

The shearer got the first ewes to her feet slapped her backside and off she skip through the wooden doors in back in to her pen, he said I will just go and get another one.

The saloon style door are pushed open by this blokes thigh and he walks backwards dragging another ewe by her front legs whilst her backside is being dragged along the decking boards.

He rolls her on to her back against is left foot and puts his right foot over her, and gets the shearing hand piece ready to dispense the first blow, I think that is the correct terminology, meaning the first line of clipped or cut fleece.

He looks at us and asks us if we would like a go!! “What, you want us to try our hand at shearing a sheep?” “Yea sure, it’s easy! This fellow said, so Caroline stood up and the shearer told Caroline where to put her legs, and how to hold the hand piece.

It is made to look easy but it is not, the thing that goes through your mind is, “what if I hurt the poor creature!!” I am a complete novice, how can you let me do this?

The ewe lay there, as Caroline gave her a short back and sides, then it was my turn, the trick to it is making sure there is enough pressure on the far right hand side of the sheers so you get en even cut.

We both had a go and then gave the hand piece back to the shearer for him to finish of the ewe and make her look pretty.

We had a look around the museum, it was fascinating, it made mention to Jackie Howe a famous shearer of times gone by and how the famous Jackie Howe shirt came about, which we have mentioned in a previous blog. You could also try to clip the shears (non-motorised version) to the same speed that Jackie Howe used to do it. We both managed it for a minute or two, but let’s face it, this guy had to do it for 7 hours a day, so I think there would be little chance of matching that, Jackie’’s record was 321 sheep shorn in 7 hours 40 minutes.

It was tough wandering around the museum so we had a coffee in the little shop before heading out toward Ivanhoe.

We drove back through the little town of Hay and onward past the plains and many stations.

Did Andy mention the rain earlier? Well let’s just say it is still raining, we could see ahead of us along this vast treeless plain, at one stage I thought I could see the black cloud above us give way to a slightly grey cloud, but alas the black cloud took over again.

We arrived at a place called One Tree, this confused me because I could see at least three of them, but that’s all there were. A little tourist sign points to a homestead, we were going to have a look, but driving off the bitumen onto the dirt, could have been an error in judgement, it was thick sludge, so we drove straight out of it, thank goodness for 4 wheel drive and diff lockers!

We had decided that we should do an “Album of the day”, that would be taking an album of our ipod’s in alphabetical order. So for today, we actually got through two albums, Affirmation by Savage Garden and Thunderstruck by AC/DC. I cannot wait to get onto my ipod as I am sure Andy will love listening to Abba’s Greatest Hits!

The next bit is sad so you might not want to read it, it is bad enough having to type it and relive the memory.

We noticed something in the road, for a change it was not a puddle, as we got closer I could make out it’s a very wet Big Red kangaroo, it was lying down but it was sort of sitting up leaning on one leg. We could clearly see that it was injured.

We both look at each other and Andy pulls the truck over to the side of the road, its absolutely throwing it down with rain, and I ask him what he is going to do,I don’t know he replies, even if I get if off the road, before a Road Train runs over it.

We stopped, but I am not sure why really because deep down we knew we could not do anything to help it. We are miles from anywhere so there is no wildlife rescue and as for one of us putting it out of its misery

Shearing a Ewe, we would never have even dreamed this one, in our adventure
was, well, not going to happen.

Andy crabs the umbrella and walks up the road, He is not stupid, I know he looks it, but he would not just wander up to the injured Roo, without reviewing the situation, about 20 Yards from the injured creature, we both see it manages to get up from the road and lye back down in the scrub next to the road.

I am not sure if this was lucky or not, but a small group of 4 wheel drives came along and stop up by Andy, he explains there is an injured animal and they ask if we have hit it and asked if we were ok. Andy explained and the guy in the second truck said “you are going to have to put it out of its misery” Andy said “I can’t”, this guy immediately went into action and said “I’ll do it”. I am not telling you the rest, but we both looked away. It was the right thing to do as it was suffering and there was no way it would survive if we left it.

Our BountyOur BountyOur Bounty

This is what we produced, (Not Really)
this point, the guys travelling in the opposite direction to us, asked where we were going, Andy told them, but they said you will not get past Ivanhoe, all the roads are closed because of the rain.

This was not good news and as soon as I picked up the network just outside of Ivanhoe, I checked my “Live Traffic” App and sure enough it confirmed the flooding in all local areas.

Oh well, not a lot we can do about it and we figured that we would just arrive in town and find the caravan park, which was not that easy, we drove round a few times to try and find it, for a town with a population of only 350 people we thought this would be easy.

We saw a sign once, but could not see a caravan park, then I worked it all out. It was in behind the old petrol station behind some high fences, there was a phone number, so I called it and the woman on the end said, go in and find a site and I will come round in the morning to collect the money.

I am guessing that she does not want to come out in this weather, who can blame her, it is pouring with rain and the streets are just pooling with water.

We try and find our way in through the fence, and when I got through the gate, I had to laugh, it is completely open on one side so set about directing Andy to the other side of the old fuel station so that we could drive in and find a spot, this was not too difficult as there was only one caravan in the park.

We did something tonight that we would normally refrain from doing, and that is we went to the pub for dinner. If you were here I think you would understand. We love the outdoors and we have no problem fending for ourselves, but the rain is so heavy and the ground is so thick with this sludgy, sticky mud and a few inches of water, it is just not worth the agro of setting the awning up just to cook dinner underneath.

So off we go to the hotel opposite and get a couple of drinks and ask about dinner. As she looked at us I thought she was going to say they had finished serving, but I was surprised when she said “dinner is not ready yet”. Then went on to say that it was roast chicken, obviously there is not a choice, but the thought of a nice roast chicken dinner for $10 each was not to be missed.

It has to be said that the locals were really friendly and they asked where we were heading, we told them and they said, you won’t get there from this side now, even if it stops raining, the roads will be closed for several days.

One chap offered a solution and a way round “if we were desperate”, I said we were not and would go back and take the long way round, which is back to Hay and on to Mildura.

Another local stopped by our table for a chat, when I say local, his property is about 60k’s from here. He tells us that he is stuck in town because he cannot get through to his station
The old  Murrey Downs Shearing shedThe old  Murrey Downs Shearing shedThe old Murrey Downs Shearing shed

This was an original from the Swan Hill region of Victoria that was disassembled in to 500 pieces then re constructed
(we find out that he has 140,000 acres, lots of sheep and some head of cattle). He was quite laid back about it, said they had the dogs here and there was nothing to stress about back home, so a night in town and followed by a night in Mildura and then he would be able to get back to his station via the bitumen road from the other direction.

We had a good chat, he seemed a really nice chap and we met his wife and son.

It was soon time to head back to Gypsy. So we are sat inside with the heater on to keep warm and have of course typed up the blog.

But bedtime is upon us and we have a long drive tomorrow.

1. The Blog Day 1663/2

2. Total distance from Woodstock 498.4

3. 204.4 kilometres

4. Hay to Ivanhoe

5. Ivanhoe Caravan Park

6. Not applicable.

7. Cost if applicable.

8. Brief on the overnight stay, did it have Telstra Access etc., Strange place, not like a Caravan park, but 240v power and
Can you clip this fastCan you clip this fastCan you clip this fast

John (Jackie) Hoew was a legend, his record was 321 sheep shorn, in a 7 hours and 40 minutes amd they the clipped by manual shears, not electric ones, the reproduction of how fast the sheers went was amazing.
clean amenities. Close to the pub.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


2nd June 2013

Guns For Hire!
Hi Guys, Sorry that you had to come face to face with one of the harsher realities of Australian outback life when you came across the Big Red. Unfortunately, it was the kindest thing to do for it. Also, you made the right decision in not proceeding onto the sludgy dirt road at One Tree. If it was "black soil" country, you could have been in a real predicament. After rain, black soil becomes sticky like glue and will just continue to adhere to the tyres on your vehicle until it builds up so much under the bodywork, that the wheels can't turn. You could be bogged for days until it stops raining and the soil starts to dry out again. Sometimes, the only way you can get moving again is by removing the wheels from your vehicle to be able to get rid of the mud build up underneath. Thankfully, you didn't get that experience :) Things are a bit soggy here too. Had 32 mm rain overnight but, skies cleared late this arvo. Still a few showers around. Love, J & T xxx
4th June 2013

What an experience it must have been to shear a sheep! Good on you both! Glad to hear you were safe and sound in Gypsy during the torrential rain. Safe travels! Love L & M xx

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