Shearing shed hands assist wool classers and shearers by performing routine duties in shearing sheds and handling the fleeces after they have been shorn from the sheep.
Personal requirements for a Shearing Shed Hand
- Able to work quickly for long periods
- Able to work as part of a team
- Willing to travel and live in remote areas
- Able to undertake manual work
- Able to cope with the physical demands of the job.
Duties & Tasks of a Shearing Shed Hand
Shearing shed hands may perform the following tasks:
- Assist station hands to pen sheep for shearing
- Pick up the fleece after it is removed from the sheep and throw it onto a large table for 'skirting' (process to remove stained or coloured pieces and skin from the wool)
- Remove inferior and stained wool from fleeces as directed by a wool classer
- Grade wool that has been skirted off fleeces
- Roll the fleece into bundles and pass it to a wool classer for classing
- Sweep the shed floor around the shearing and wool handling areas to help keep the fleeces clean and to avoid contamination
- Identify and remove belly wool from the shearing area and place in relevant packs.
Working conditions for a Shearing Shed Hand
Shearing shed hands may need to travel long distances from property to property to work. Accommodation is usually provided in shearers' quarters either on the property or in a nearby town. Some work within their own district and travel daily to the shearing shed, returning to their own homes each day.
With experience and sometimes further training, it is possible to become a shearer or a wool classer.
A wool presser transfers the fleeces and other wool types into wool presses to form solid bales. They weigh the bales; brand the completed wool bale with the farm brand, a description of the wool, the wool classer's stencil and a bale number; and keep records of all bales completed.