HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : June 2012
It wasn't the first time all three stands of the raised board shearing shed at Dawnstan Park, Ruffy, pulled into gear simultaneously. Nor the first time Stan Artridge had peered over the number 2 catching pen door with pride and pleasure. However, it was the first time three women had lined up and even more unusual, all three were sisters. Number 1 stand was Heather Drysdale from Yarck. Stan had had no trouble sharing his disdain that her husband John had lovingly given Heather a handpiece for her birthday. "Crutching is no work for a woman!" Stan shook his head sadly. That was a few years ago and the sadness has been replaced with immense pride. Nowadays he happily tells her, "Gee, Heath, you're almost as good as me!" and out of her hearing has been known to admit that she's better than him. On number 2 stand is Cathy, primary school teacher and librarian, lured away from the orderliness to live at the family farm, 'Ellimatta', Creightons Creek. It was just 24 hours since Stan had coached her with crutching her big Merino wethers. There was no pussy footing around then and she dared not argue with him as he barked instructions. It wasn't until around the 45th sheep that he allowed a few words of praise, "Gee, Cath, you're nearly as good as Heather." The season has been terrific, particularly on the tablelands of Ruffy, Victoria. Ask any farmer or any local blowfly. So, this year, April is crutching time. Stan denies there's a shortage of shearers but no one has ever questioned him on the shortage of crutchers. It seems they are scarcest when you need them most. Stressed with the combination of potential fly problem and the rich pasture, overnight an idea germinated and Stan invited both women to Dawnstan Park in the afternoon, to crutch his weaners. It was competition time, he was deviously planning. In the morning of that epic day in April, Stan had mustered his pregnant ewes for a clean up with the handshears. Visiting from Barrakee was his retired hairdresser daughter, Ruth Hannigan. She recognised the scene immediately – time poor females in a queue – and grabbed the dagging blades from Stan's all too generous grip and headed to number 3 stand. She took no time to get started on a totally unfamiliar end of the customer. Her expertise shone out but she was adamant, "Denis never lets me do farm work." That meant the neat fast result had to be from years of haircutting in her Charlton salon! Stan was featured in the March edition of Beyond the Bale with champion shearing son Peter, and talented grandson Kaleb. Stan's love of shearing started as a toddler when he mustered up windfall quinces and removed the "fleece" from the fluffy quinces with a sharp tin lid. His mother admonished his passion saying sheep farmers (as opposed to dairy farmers) are lazy! He wasn't yet aware that one day he would master and teach the Tally Hi pattern of shearing, that he would compete and win many shearing competitions, that he would be instrumental in Australia's role in the Golden Shears and furthest from his mind that three of his daughters would one day crutch his prized weaners for free. He couldn't stop smiling for hours! 33 ON-FARM June 2012 BEYOND THE BALE Sisters Heather Drysdale, Cathy Artridge and Ruth Hannigan show their crutching skills to their father, Stan Artridge of Ruffy, Victoria. PHOTO CREDIT: Shellie Drysdale Sisters, doing it for...dad FAST FACTS l Three daughters of Stan Artridge of Ruffy, Victoria pitched in this year to help him with crutching. l Times and attitudes in the shed have changed since Stan was a gun shearer. l Stan is proud of his daughters' contributions on the boards.