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Beyond the Bale : June 2017
Based in Pingelly, Western Australia, Callum O'Brien is a father of two who is never content standing still. With both his dad and uncle being shearers, Callum followed closely in their footsteps at a young age. Learning to shear at his agricultural high school at Narogin and fine tuning his skills at the Rylington Park shearing school, fast forward 13 years and Callum now has five open Sport Shears titles and is in his third year of representing his state in the national Sport Shears competition. Andrew Green in the woolshed pen at 'Aloeburn', Boree Creek in NSW, which he runs with his wife and college sweetheart Jodie. 'Aloeburn' has been in the Green family for four generations. Securing the sustainability of the land and animals for generations to come is what drives Andrew and Jodie to succeed. This means ease of management and optimum animal welfare and production, coupled with their passion for restoring and maintaining the soils and pastures of 'Aloeburn'. John Conlan from Lancefield in Victoria has been an integral part of the shearing scene for more than 40 years. He is the winner of world and Australian championships and holds the record (he set in 1979 with his late brother Mark) of shearing the most amount of sheep in a single day: 852 sheep in 7¼ hours, with no back aid and a narrow comb. In April of this year, John was inducted into the Australian Shearers Hall of Fame. He is still active in the industry and runs a shearing contracting business. Scott Jones might well be the only one of his kind. He's not only a wool masterclasser but also a biochemist. Working in the woolsheds since 17, Scott knew exactly what he wanted to be when he finished school -- a wool classer. So, that's what he did, for many years. Then the wool market crashed. So, he did what he had to do -- he hung up his stencil and jumped into university life as a biochemist. But now that wool is on the up again, he's back in the sheds and loving it. Nick and Karen Van Elk are a respected name in shearing contracting around the Benalla district of Victoria and beyond. Of the 28 shearers, wool handlers, pressers and wool classers working for Nick and Karen, half of them are under the age of 27. N K Shearing strongly encourages traineeships early in their employees' wool industry careers and works closely with industry training bodies to provide the best education available. They're getting it right, right from the start. Wool handler Racheal Boyce working at Wongamine, a sheep and cropping property out at Northam in Western Australia. The daughter of a shearer and sister of a wool classer, she has been following in her family's footsteps since she was 16 years old. Now 29 and a mother raising 5 children under the age of 11, she is still in the sheds with a tenacious work ethic and drive to provide for her family; so much so that she has seen her waters break while woolhandling, not once but twice. EXAMPLES OF CHANTEL'S PHOTOS SHOT DURING HER TOUR ON FARM 33