Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The Big Shed

The concrete and iron monolith on Reola Station is the Opera House of Australian shearing sheds

Story: Kelly Penfold

ImageThere is perhaps no greater theatre than the shearing shed - that unparalleled performance of men in blue singlets skilfully transforming wool-laden sheep to bare white, ready for the harsh reality of another year of production; the bit parts played by shed hands wielding their brooms and throwing soft fleeces; the intensity of classers making on-the-spot quality decisions that just have to be correct; the background music of whistling and whooping from the yards, and the startled bleatings of sheep brought in from a distant paddock for their matinee performance.

While some of the sheds resemble music halls, the concrete and iron monolith on Reola Station in outback NSW is the Opera House of Australian shearing sheds.

Thought to be the largest in the country, this 16-stand giant is also one of the newest, built in 1990 by Reola's custodians - Graham and Deidre Brown and their four children.

ImageIn harsh times for woolgrowing, the Big Shed underscores the Brown's commitment to wool and sheep, western New South Wales' lifeblood.

Every July the Big Shed takes centre stage when a team of 32 shearers, shed hands and supporting crew from all over Australia and New Zealand descend on Reola for a three week long season that shears 52,00 Merino ewes, lambs and wethers, and produces 1600 bales of wool destined for Sydney auction rooms. Story end

Full story Issue 1, October-November 1998

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