Looking for shearers to tell their stories

Filed : Projects, Silos Project + Shearers Ballet .

In the creation of The Shearers Ballet the SILOS Project team will be in Cowra June 27-29 to gather stories of life in shearing sheds in the 1950s-70s.

As part of the SILOS Project we are developing a performance that celebrates the extraordinary work of the shearing industry.

It has the working title of The Shearers Ballet, this came about after a conversation with retired shearer Norm Palazzi in which he described the process of getting the wool from a sheep’s back into a bale. “As he spoke to us, there was a mutual consent that the actions he was talking about could well be those of a dance,” said artistic director Patrick Nolan.

We’re interested in exploring this idea further with people who worked in the shearing industry in the 50s-70s.

The creative team are visiting Cowra from June 27 – 29.

To begin with we simply want to have a conversation about what their experience was like. If people are willing we’d like to spend an hour with them talking about things like:

  • What were the conditions like?
  • What was involved in a day’s work?
  • What time would you start / finish?
  • How was a shearing shed managed?
  • What were the different roles and how did they work together?
  • What’s it like to shear a sheep?
  • What sort of food did you eat?
  • What do you think of the shearing industry today?

We’d like to talk to anyone – men and women – once involved in the industry – shearer, wool classer, rouseabout or cook. The only condition being they need to be 65 or older.

Ideally people will come and visit Patrick and the team at the CORRIDOR project (2997 Darby Falls Rd, Wyangala), as the wool shed there can be used as a reference for conversations. However, they will have a car and are happy to travel if that suits the potential interviewees better.

If people are not available during this time, we’d still like to hear from you as we will be back again a number of times over the coming months.

Please contact:

Phoebe Cowdery, SILOS project manager: 0423 484 415 or phoebe@d-construct.com.au

More about the Shearers Ballet and the SILOS Project here

The Sherers Ballet has been funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The SILOS Project is a partnership between the CORRIDOR project, Arts OutWest and artistic director Patrick Nolan with the communities of Cowra and Canowindra.