It’s Not You, It’s Me

Eventually, something would have to give.

Over the last decade in the wool industry I have slowly watched my home soil perish. The dirt underneath my feet is cracked and thirsty. Paddocks that were once littered with sheep, are now bare.

It’s hard to remember a time during my woolclassing career when the drought wasn’t part of the small talk that I make with farmers. A time when we would worry if we would be able to get out that black soil driveway without getting bogged. Those times of laying in the shearers quarters at night listening to the rain on the tin roof. Hearing those two words that were guaranteed to put a smile on all of our faces, ‘wet sheep’.

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The shearing run Jas and I worked on between two contractors (when the sheep were plentiful and the weatherman wasn’t cursed at through the tv sets) kept us in work for eleven months of the year. Our little work nook ran along the QLD / NSW border from Stanthorpe to Mungindi and a quick jump out to Cunnamulla and Wyandra at the end of year.

Our working weeks were full and to take a holiday, we would quickly slip away to the coast on a really rainy week. Our weekends were spent cruising up and down rivers  like the Balonne, Warrego and Brigalow in our tinny and breaking PB’s in fishing and throwing cod back.

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Looking back now, I would call them the good old Qld days. But, like all good things do, they’ve come to an end for us. We have to move on.

Full working weeks have now been replaced with two days here and three days there. Our easy eleven months of work has now dwindled down to around eight-ish. Our Outback run we always looked forward to at the end of the year, has gone from eight weeks to eight days.  There’s not a single day’s work for us up here for next eight weeks.

Drought Feeding

In a way, I feel as though leaving Qld is taking the easy way out. While woolgrowers up here are fighting tooth and nail against this drought and holding on year after year, we see no other option than to just give up. Walking away from woolgrowers who are now good friends, working dogs that we’ve seen grown from puppies to retired workers and team mates that have shared our highs and lows over the last decade weighs heavy on my heart.

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But, now that we have our son, our Qld apron strings need to be cut. We are waving goodbye to our home and starting life in our new one, a 22ft caravan. Working our way across Australia, we are hunting for our new place to settle. One full of sheep, opportunity and a bright future for our growing family.

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Qld built my career as a masterclasser and is the reason why I am a photographer.

This feels like I am breaking up with my home state, ‘It’s not you, it’s me. We can still be friends though, right?’

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