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Shearing view

SOURCE:Written by Duke Tritton and quoted in his book Time Means Tucker.

Shearing in the Bar

My shearing days are over, though I never was a ‘gun’,
I could always count my twenty at the end of every run;
I used the old “Trade Union” shears, and the blades were bogging full,
As I drove ’em to the knockers and I chopped away the wool;
I shore at Goorianawa and never got the sack,
From Breeza out to Comprador I always could go back,
But though I am a truthful man, I find, when in a bar,
That my tallies always double — but I never call for tar

Now shearing on the Western Plains, where the fleece is full of sand
And clover-burr and bindy-eye, is the place to try your hand:
For the sheep are tall and wiry where they feed on Mitchell grass,
And every second one of them is close to the ‘cobbler’ class,
And a pen chock-full of cobblers is a shearer’s dream of hell,
So loud and lurid are their words when they catch one on the bell;
But when we’re pouring down the grog, you’ll hear no call for tar,
For a shearer never cuts them — when he’s shearing in a bar

At Louth I got the bell-sheep, a wrinkled tough-woolled brute
Who never stopped his kicking till I tossed him down the chute;
Though my wrist; was aching badly, I fought him all the way;
I couldn’t afford to miss a blow, I muse earn my pound a day,
So when I took a strip of skin, I’d hide it with my knee,
Turn the sheep around a bit, where the right- bower couldn’t see,
Then try and catch the rousie’s eye and softly whisper “Tar”
But it never seems to happen when I’m shearing in a bar!

I shore away the belly wool, and trimmed the crutch and hocks,
Then opened up along the neck while the broom swept the locks,
Turn deftly swung the sheep around and dumped him on his rear,
Two blows to clip away the wig (I also took an ear)
Then down around the shoulder and the blades were opened wide
As I drove them on the long blow and down the whipping side,
And when I tossed him down the chute, he was nearly black with tar,
But this is never mentioned — when I’m shearing in a bar!

Now when the season’s ended and my grandsons all come back
In their Vanguards and their Holdens (I was always on the track’)
They come and take me into town to fill me up with beer,
And I sit on a corner stool and listen to them shear;
There’s not a bit of difference – it must make the angels weep
To hear a mob of shearers in a bar-room shearing sheep
The sheep go rattling down the chute and there’s never a call for tar,
For they still don’t seem to cut them — when they’re shearing in a bar!

Then memories come crowding and they roll away the years,
And my hand begins to tighten and I seem to feel the shears;
I want to tell them of the sheds, the sheds where I have shorn
Full fifty years, or maybe more, before these boys were born;
I want to Speak of Yarragreen, Dunlop or Wingadee,
But the beer has started working and I’m wobbling at the knee,
So I’d better not start shearing — I’d be bound to call for tar,
Then be looked on as a blackleg — when I’m shearing in a bar!