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The post-war wool boom, 1947

'The post-war wool boom' is an excerpt from the film 'Men and Mobs' (20 min), produced in 1947. Sheep and the Australian economy cannot be separated. 'Men and Mobs' relates the growth of Australia's flocks, starting with the few Spanish merinos that John Macarthur mated to the progeny of Indian sheep brought out by founder ...


Shearing shed, c1880s

This is a black-and-white photograph from a silver gelatin dry-plate glass negative, titled 'A shearing shed', produced by the studio of Charles Kerry and Co, Sydney. It shows the interior of a large shearing shed with about 20 workers. A dozen or so shearers can be seen at work shearing sheep on the boards. In the centre ...


A Nation is Built, 1938: The wool industry

This black-and-white clip shows aspects of the New South Wales wool industry, including a shearer using hand clippers to shear a merino stud sheep. Some of sheep are then herded from a holding pen into a large woolshed where shearers use mechanical shears to remove their fleece. The footage includes men sorting and grading ...


Shipping wool at Circular Quay in Sydney, c1900

This is a silver gelatin full plate glass negative with the title 'Shipping wool, Circular Quay', taken by the Australian photographic studio Kerry and Co, Sydney, at some time between 1884 and 1917. It shows bales of wool being lifted by a shipboard crane onto the deck of a ship. The caption, studio number and studio mark ...


'A Wool Team', 1884-1917

This full plate glass negative was taken by the Sydney photographic studio Kerry and Co at some stage between 1884 and 1917. It depicts a bullock team pulling a cart laden with wool across a stream. A man astride a horse stands in the stream watching the cart. The caption, studio number and studio mark are inscribed on ...

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Outback House - building a sheep wash

Imagine leaving your home to travel back to a time over 150 years ago, to live and work on an outback farm. Sixteen Australians take part in a reality TV show about life on Oxley Downs, a sheep station built to look and work as a real station would have in the 1860s. Watch the squatter and his station hands race against ...

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Outback House - school newspaper

Imagine leaving your home to travel back to a time over 150 years ago, to live and work on an outback farm. Sixteen Australians take part in a reality TV show about life on Oxley Downs, a sheep station built to look and work like a real station of the 1860s. Discover how a colonial squatter's children did their schoolwork. ...

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Outback House - last day of shearing

Imagine leaving your home to travel back over 150 years ago, to live and work on an outback farm. Sixteen Australians take part in a reality TV show about life on Oxley Downs, a sheep station built to look and work like a real station of the 1860s. Watch the action as the final 200 sheep are shorn and their wool is pressed ...

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Using language to describe being Australian

What are some iconic Australian symbols? No doubt people would say the kangaroo, the koala or the emu. But what about sheep? Have they played a part in shaping the way Australians see themselves?

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Using and understanding words in context

Have you ever noticed that certain words are relevant to particular topics or contexts? View this clip to find out ten words associated with shearing and the sheep industry.

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Lip balm from sheep wool

Learn about the science behind lip balm. Find out about the special properties of lanolin, a natural product obtained from the fleece of sheep, and how it is used in the cosmetics industry.

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Droving and shearing life in the 1900s

What would life as a drover or shearer have been like in the first half of the 20th century? In this clip from the 1965 documentary 'A century or the sack', Percy Prior and Harry Ward reflect on their lives as drovers and shearers, and a shearing contractor describes the reality of life for shearers in the 1960s.

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Woolly holiday

For Genevieve Wright, the first day of school holidays means heading to the shearing shed to spend a day of back-breaking work! As you listen to her Heywire audio story, explore Genevieve's characterisation of herself. How does she reflect her personality through the descriptions of her actions and environment?<br /><br ...

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Yarning with the Russians

A Russian trade delegation is visiting Australia in search of high quality wool. This is to meet an increasing demand for fine wool products that is being driven by rising affluence in Russia. We once had a strong wool trade with the Soviet Union. Can we build trade with Russia?


The Squatter's Daughter, 1933: Shearing and plotting

This clip shows a real shearing operation taking place at a large sheep station in New South Wales as a backdrop for the 1933 feature film 'The Squatter's Daughter'. Dogs help herd a large mob of sheep into a holding yard, then to pens inside a large woolshed. While a team of shearers and helpers attend to the sheep, two ...


Washing, sorting and baling wool

This is a collection of resources about work in and around the woolshed, focusing on work other than shearing. In some views the collection is presented in five categories - washing wool; sorting, rolling and classing wool; baling wool; counting out sheep; and the woolshed in full operation. It contains historical photographs; ...



This collection of digital curriculum resources focuses on shearers and shearing. In some views the collection is organised into four categories - shearers in action, shearers and Australian identity, shearing sheds and shearing shed interiors. The collection includes watercolours, photographs, a colonial song about a shearer, ...


Counting out the shorn sheep in 1920

This is an excerpt from documentary footage from 1920 showing scenes near Gundagai, New South Wales. An intertitle reads: 'Shearing in the Gundagai District (Counting Out).' The footage shows men letting shorn sheep out of a pen and counting them as they go through a narrow opening.


Wool sorting at Gilgandra, 1936

This is a black-and-white photograph, measuring 21.3 cm x 16.2 cm, of four men skirting fleeces and classing wool at Berida Station near Gilgandra in New South Wales. They are using two long tables in a large shearing shed. The station manager's daughter, a shearing contractor and two shed hands are looking on. In the background ...


'Woolshed, Challicum, 1845'

This is a watercolour measuring 15 cm x 24.4 cm showing the south-eastern sides of a slab and bark woolshed (shearing shed) in 1845. Two men are standing either side of a gate counting out shorn sheep from wooden yards. A large wooden lever and windlass are clearly detailed on the side of the woolshed. A rutted wagon track ...