Blade shearing returns to Glencoe

04 Feb, 2015 01:00 AM
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WOOL PAST: Katelynn Clark, Gerang Gerung, Vic, is one of the blade shearers who will to take to the boards at the Glencoe Woolshed on March 8 for a re-enactment of Australia’s wool pioneering past.
WOOL PAST: Katelynn Clark, Gerang Gerung, Vic, is one of the blade shearers who will to take to the boards at the Glencoe Woolshed on March 8 for a re-enactment of Australia’s wool pioneering past.

THE clicking of hand shears will echo through the historic Glencoe Woolshed on Sunday, March 8 for the first time in close to a century.

Blades of Glencoe, an event organised by the Mount Gambier branch of the National Trust of SA, will see the magnificent 36-stand shed a hive of activity in a re-enactment of Australia's wool pioneering past.

When brothers Robert and Edward Leake, who took up the Glencoe Run, moved to SA from Tas in 1844, they brought their fine Saxon Merinos with them. They had the shed built in 1863.

The run was later sold to John and George Riddoch who ran it for a number of years until it was eventually sold for closer settlement.

As many as 80,000 sheep were shorn, with 100 extra men employed at Glencoe Station during shearing when all the stands were in use.

For the past 35 years, Glencoe Woolshed has been a tourist destination run by volunteers from the National Trust. It is believed to be one of the few original hand shearing sheds left in the world.

Blades of Glencoe committee member and Tantanoola grazier Tony Altschwager says the event on the March long weekend will be a rare opportunity for members of the public to relive the glory days of the wool industry when Australia rode on the sheep's back.

"It is such an amazing piece of history, especially the fact it was never converted to mechanised shearing," he said.

"It is still set up for blade shearing, just as it was more than 100 years ago."

At Glencoe Woolshed's 150th anniversary celebrations in 2013, Edenhope blade shearer Richie Foster held demonstrations of his work, and from there, the idea of filling each of the stands came together.

At least 40 blade shearers from across Australia are expected to take to the boards to shear 600 composite ewe weaners from nearby Coola Station.

The event is a fundraiser for the ongoing preservation of the woolshed which is constructed with hand-chiselled limestone bricks and trussed with hand-sawn Blackwood arched beams.

Mr Altschwager said the Blades of Glencoe committee hoped to raise $20,000.

"At a similar event at Tuppal Station in NSW in 2010 they got 15,000 people and while we aren't expecting anything like that if we can get 2000 people we would be pretty chuffed," he said.

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    Catherine Miller

    Catherine Miller

    is Stock Journal's livestock editor and South East correspondent

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