Shearing sooths savage breasts

25 Jun, 2003 10:00 PM

THE promise of a rewarding rural career is transforming the lives of a group of city kids.

At Maddington Village shopping centre recently, several local teenagers put on a sheep shearing display aimed at luring others to the industry.

These teenagers once kept patrons away from the area with rowdy behaviour, which damaged local businesses and lowered community morale.

Under the guidance of one of the centre's owners, Rodney Wright, they attended shearing classes at Mt Barker, which curbed their anti-social behaviour.

A retired farmer and former shearer, Mr Wright said the management tried to discourage the group with extra security, but ignored the real problem of a lack of prospects in the area.

After he talked with some of the regulars, he realised his career path ‹ which had allowed investment in the shopping centre ‹ had much to offer them.

"At the start they were a little nervous and uncertain about where we were going, but I think once I exposed my credentials, they were happy to expose theirs," he said.

Identical twins Tyrone and Dwayne Harding, 16, were first to accept the offer, and enticed friend Codie Davidson, from Belmont, to join them.

Adrian Peel and Corey Dyson were also keen, and all five boys were presented with shearing certificates at Maddington Village.

Instructor Don Boyle said they easily matched their country counterparts.

"As long as you want to make it and you've got a heart, you'll go far in shearing," he said.

Dwayne Harding admitted he used to be content causing trouble on his bike, but he now considered the rural industry his future.

WA Farmers Federation executive director Doug Parker said the benefits went two ways, as the bush was in dire need of fresh faces.

The message appeared to be getting through in Maddington, as another local Chris Dyson said he would be heading down to Mt Barker this week.

"I want a bit of a change, there's not much to do around here and it'd be good if I could get a career out of it," he said.


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