It’s all hands on deck for the Stewart family when shearing time rolls around at ‘Riverview’ Evandale TAS. The kids get a day off school and kept busy in their one stand shed.
The shearing shed is an extension built off the side of their storage shed and works a treat. Everyone is assigned their own jobs and although only lasting a day, shearing is the highlight of their farming year.
Summer, 11, keeps herself busy stamping butts, skirting fleeces and sweeping the board. ‘I love jumping in the butts and polishing my boots with the wool. My favourite thing is having pet lambs. I know it’s not possible to have a lamb farm, but I would still love to have one.’
Her brother William, 12, shares his sisters love for pet lambs and takes on the role of penning up, sweeping and helping his dad with some of the heavy lifting in the shed.
‘I love that there’s lots of cute lambs and I love driving my dads car out in the paddocks. We get lots of visitors at shearing time, that’s probably my favourite thing.’
Riverview has been a great introduction to the agricultural industry for Summer and William. Their parents, Sharon and Glenn are setting the perfect example of how fulfilling a life on the farm can be.
Sharon has brought with her, her knowledge and experience from her childhood – growing up on a cattle and sheep property at Whitehills, Tasmania, woolhandling during her school holidays and a quick stint in the woolsheds after school. It’s an industry that’s in her blood and one that she sees as something so much more than just a job.
‘I don’t see this as being a workplace, I see it as being our home. It’s a way of life. It’s a good way for the kids to have a bit of diversity too, with them going to school in town. We are encouraging them to have careers in agriculture’
The wool cheque from shearing is a nice little reward for all of the hard work that has gone into Riverview throughout the year, but it’s never been what drives the Stewart family. For dad, Glenn it’s just an added bonus to the life he loves.
‘I knew nothing about sheep two years ago and have learnt plenty of lessons in animal husbandry since then.’
‘There’s nothing like walking around the paddocks as the sun is coming up amongst the lambs and ewes. We just don’t care for the cost of good husbandry, all we care about is keeping them (the sheep) happy. Their health is paramount.’
Although they might all have their own favourite things about their farm, they do all agree on one thing. A life surrounded by sheep, is the life for them.