Students get schooled on how to shear sheep

Many Naracoorte High School students now know how to shear a sheep and check fleeces for impurities.

Glenn Haynes, one of the instructors at a TAFE workshop on Friday, explained that the idea came from students’ Adelaide Show experiences.

“There are two groups of Naracoorte High students that enter a wether competition at the Adelaide Show. We (TAFE instructors) go along and do a shearing demonstration, and we started talking to the teachers about doing a workshop, so the kids knew what they were doing.”

Mr Haynes and other instructors from the TAFE spent the morning teaching Year 9-12 students all about proper shearing practice and wool quality.

Accompanying them was Shannon Warnest, who has won the title of Best Shearer at the World Sheep Shearing Championships twice.

His wife, Catherine Warnest, spoke to the students about wool quality, and the best way to toss a fleece for inspection.

In each class, every student was taught how to check for impurities in the fleece, and fleece’s various uses.

Some parts of the fleece would go towards a quilt, a jumper, or socks. The students also learned about lanolin, a substance attached to fleece which is used in cosmetics.

Each student also had a go with the hand clippers, to feel the weight of it. Some students sheared the wool off of sheep, and others simply practiced on pre-shorn sheep.

“Some of the students were a bit iffy about it, but girls would often go ‘me, me!’ and want to be picked first, which is great,” Mr Haynes said.

The day was considered a success, with many students becoming more interested in shearing as a vocation.

“We were talking with students about getting them out there (to shearing sheds) in the school holidays,” said Mr Haynes.

“You can earn up to $230 a day. For a 15-16 year old kid, that’s a lot of money.

“It’s also a good gap year job. You can earn $40,000 in a year, and you get to go out and meet new people.

“Plus, you get to travel.”

There are more workshops planned for next year at the high school, with the session times being extended.