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  • Writer's pictureBeverley Skurulis

Australian shearing shed

Australian shearing shed
Australian shearing shed

Nothing like the original old Australian shearing shed on Nans farm @ Jennacubbine in Western Australia. The shearing shed was around 100 meters from the farmhouse and as children we spent so much time in and around the that shed. It was either playing cubby house in the hay bales, getting covered in hay rash, or getting full of hay fever. The mice also joined us they loved the hay and the wheat. The smell of lanolin and sheep shit was prevalent as we rummaged around making up games amongst it all, spending hours in the sheep yards with our gings aiming at anything we could find, mainly King Brown beer bottles lined up on the fence posts and anything that looked like it needed to be shot at.

The farm house was rather tiny with the biggest room being the kitchen where most household stuff was done. Nan prepared and cooked all the meals, first for the family and then the shearers. Breakfast, smoko, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, a kettle was always boiling as it was needed to make that much loved cuppa. On the wood stove a large green enamel tea pot was filled to the brim as it had to be shared around the table, any left over boiling water was used on the ants nests outside the house, and the dishes were washed up in a large enamel bowl so the dish water could be saved for something else and not wasted.

We were always taken to the farm on school holidays, lots of stuff to do. Chooks, pigs, squeaking piglets, cows and sometimes lambs to feed if they had lost their mother. The rubbish tip was exciting but heaven knows what we did there though we managed to play for hours making our own fun, cubby houses out of old wood furniture and mud pies for pretend dinner, don't worry about the red back spiders.

When the sun started to go down we headed back to the house for a wash in the old tin bath with hot water bucketed out of the old copper. We would sit at the dining room table in front of the fire writing letters, chatting, playing board games and drawing. It was rather cozy after a bath and in our pyjamas drawing under the Bakelite lamp ( Bakelite is a thermosetting resin—that is, once molded, it retains its shape even if heated or subjected to various solvents}, and we used lamps because there was no electricity.

The toilet was 100mtres out of the house yard and into a paddock, the paddock sometimes had cattle or sheep in it, so if it was really dark at night I would pee behind the water tank so I didn't have to go out of the house yard.

Time to go to bed and place the Hurricane Lamp on the bedside table.

Goodnight and you will hear some more lifetime tales next week.

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