Sheep, Shearers and Sheds: Part Two

Kinchega Woolshed, Menindee, New South Wales Image: Anne Newman©

I think it is true to say that for me the shearing shed is probably amongst the most fascinating of all buildings. Kinchega Woolshed in the Kinchega National Park at Menindee, NSW (above) is an excellent example of how beguiling these buildings can be.

Outside there are all kinds of structures that denote all the functions associated with shearing. The yards to contain the sheep are a marvellous array of fencing. And note the awnings over the windows to reduce the heat.

In Menindee where Kinchega is located you can expect temperatures in the mid to high 30⁰C for most of the summer but has been known to get to 47⁰C! So if you are thinking of visiting the Kinchega Woolshed don't go in the summer!!

Kinchega Woolshed, Menindee, New South Wales Image: Anne Newman©

And for any artist who loves corrugated iron - the Kinchega Woolshed offers up a wonderful juxtaposition of shapes covered in this great Australian building material. Half Australia is covered in corrugated iron!!!

Kinchega Woolshed, Menindee, NSW Image: Anne Newman©

But it is inside the empty shearing shed that takes my eye.

There is a magic present brought to our notice by the interplay between the wooden structures which make up the composition of the interior and on which the sunshine plays melodies with the shadows. When not in use there is a stillness inside a shearing shed and if you hold your breathe you can hear the narrative of the past echoing around the walls.

Artist Clarie Cox, whom we featured over three posts recently, also found the Kinchega Woolshed fascinating with its somewhat higgledy-piggledy architectural features. Below is his painting of this wonderful Australian iconic building.

Kinchega Woolshed by Clarrie Cox© (1)

Naive artist and subscriber John Wylie from Port Elliot in South Australia has joined in this exhibition of shearing sheds with his rendering of the shearing shed as seen in his Mount Rough, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia painting.

Mount Rough, Eyre Peninsula by John Wylie© (2)

If we zoom in you can see the wonderful array of fencing fanning out from the wide-roofed building which again is protection from the searing summer heat.

And as John always reminds us in his paintings, these quintessential Australian scenes are always supervised by a few Aussie birds - in this case three galahs!

Shearing Shed at Mount Rough Eyre Peninsula by John Wylie© (2)

Also in South Australia keen photographer Rob Nankivell has sent in some wonderful photographs that represent the world of shearing.

The first images are historical photographs from the Eyre Peninsula Yarns and Family History Facebook site.3

Eyre Peninsula Shearing Championship, Ceduna, 1949 (3)

Rob Nankivell has also been in a shearing shed with his camera: some wonderful photographs of the interior are given below. The first is a winner - I love the harmony of shapes and tones Rob has captured in this image.

Shearing Shed Interior, Steinke Farm Image: Rob Nankivell ©(4)

And following through to these tonal images of the interior and equipment. First in soft greys with a dash of red.

And then the golden light of that searing sun has touched the shearer Craig and the Lister Junior Engine.

Finally today, our look inside a shearing shed will conclude with three paintings by John Pickup created in the mid 1970s.

The first painting is a portrait of a rather wistful shearer possibly contemplating - I wonder what! He looks as if he has been moulded from the very earth.

The Shearer by John Pickup© (5)

However, Not a bad fleece (below) is my favourite: a wonderful painting where the fleece is being checked for its quality. John has added the note that this painting was based on memories of the shed on my wife's parents property Ropa Yenda in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area of New South Wales.

Not a Bad Fleece by John Pickup© (5)

And in this last painting John Pickup expresses the frantic activity that engulfs the shearing shed where the sun just manages to touch the tips of the rafters and the bent backs of the shearers.

Shearers at Work by John Pickup© (5)

John Pickup also alerted me to the Landline program Ducks on the Pond.

What have ducks to do with sheep and shearing?

You will have to watch the video to find out!!!

1. Clarrie Cox Australia published by Currey O'Neil, South Yarra, Victoria, 1985.
2. Copyright permission to use the image given by the artist John Wylie
3. Eyre Peninsula Yarns and Family History Facebook site
4. Copyright permission to use the image given by the photographer Rob Nankivell
5. Copyright permission to use the image given by the aritst John Pickup