There are many titles that Wendy Chant falls under. Shearing contractor, mum, woolclasser (at 16 years old), councillor. But, when you meet this rural woman it’s not about the labels. She has this vibe about her that draws you in. It’s warm and inviting and you instantly feel like part of her family.
Wendy grew up over the ditch on a third generation farm in a little country village called Cloyton on the north island of New Zealand. Having settled just outside of Cranbrook, Western Australia she is now raising her three children on her own hobby farm.
(Wendy’s Pet Sheep)
Being around wool all of her life (starting her career at just eight) she undoubtedly has a passion for the shearing and wool industry. When asked what it is about the wool industry that has her so captivated –The honesty! In the raw quality and diversity of the product, the honest hard work in the shed and the comradery and the mateship between client and staff alike.’
That’s what life is for Wendy, full of family, love and connection. Now running Chant Shearing with her ex partner, Kelvin, each team member sits safely under her wing. Although her label here is ‘boss’ she is mother hen to them all. Hard times have hit the team in recent years and instead of granting a day or two off here and there, Wendy always goes that extra mile providing financial and emotional support but most of all her motherly love when needed most.
Her woolshed work has slowed down these days but her fond memories of her days in the sheds are alive and well. Never taking life too seriously Wendy’s time in the wool industry is sprinkled with laughter, friendship, travel and a whole lot of girl power.
One of her most memorable moments from her younger days has a little bit of all of the above. During a shearing run in the UK, Wendy found herself working for a 90 year old farmer in an ancient stone pigpen. There was a slight misunderstanding between the two – Wendy was there to handle the wool, but the farmer handed her a handpiece instead and walked away. Lucky this woman can shear!
(Wendy’s daughter Sorcha and her dog Odi at the family farm)
Wool will always play a part of Wendy’s life, it provides a good contrast from the rest of her hobbies and passions. In her spare time (from shearing contractor, home schooling three children and developing her land) Wendy hosts and councils women at her farm who are struggling with different aspects of their life, be it physical or emotional, or if they just need a breather from the rat race.
(Wendy’s Retreat Farm)