• Nathan Van Elk

    VAN ELK BOYS

         The Van Elk boys are walking in their dad’s footsteps and determined to carry on the family’s name in the wool industry. (Pictured: Nathan Van Elk) Nathan and Aaron have grown up in the woolsheds with their shearing contracting parents, Karen and Nick Van Elk. Based in the small rural Victorian town of Benalla, these boys have inherited their parents tenacious work ethic. (Pictured L to R : Aaron, Nick & Nathan Van Elk) Aaron, like most shearers started his career as a woolhandler. Moving on quickly, he graduated from a shearing school and onto full time shearing in June 2016. Since then he’s been chasing numbers and (when I…

  • PETER JOKICH

    A shearing contractor out of Northam, Western Australia, Peter’s a pretty straight shooting guy. When asked how he came about working in the wool industry his answer is simple, ‘My older brother was a shearer and I went to some sheds with him. I saw how easy he got it, so I thought I’d do it’. And that’s exactly what he did. 35 years on he is still running his shearing contracting business 10 months of the year and will take on a stand when one’s free. The only one in his family now left in the wool industry, he may well be the end of an era for the…

  • ASHLEY BEST

      The barefoot rousy. Watching this little pocket rocket glide around the woolshed with ease is like watching choreography. She makes it look easy, but it has taken years of practice. Five to be precise. When Ash is in the shed it’s hard to keep up with what her next move is. Broom in hand and constantly moving, her board work is impeccable. Every part of her is working, right down to her toes, seriously. While many woolhandlers are taught to sort and pick up wool with their hands and broom, this New Zealand trained little gun doesn’t just stop there. Her feet and toes streamline her board work even…

  • SCOTT JONES

    Scott Jones may well be the only one of his kind. He’s not only  a masterclasser but a biochemist.   You may be thinking how on earth could these two jobs work in together, well Scott reckons they intertwine perfectly. Working in the woolsheds since 17, Scott knew exactly what he wanted to be when he finished school – a woolclasser. So, that’s what he did. Travelling across states following his woolclassing work, Scott had found a life he loved. Then the wool market crashed. So, he did what he had to do – hung up his stencil and jumped into university life. His curious nature and thirst for knowledge…

  • DANNY HERBERT

    Danny Herbert from Tasmania may be in a little bit of strife with the wife when he returns back home from the mainland. Making a quick three week trip over the Tasman from his home in Campbelltown, Danny was on a mission to pick up a mate and head back home. That was a couple of months ago now and he’s not quite ready to leave the picturesque sheep district of Northam, WA just yet. He just  loves what he does. Taking up shearing at 21 he’s mastered his art. With a personal best of 302 sheep shorn in a day, it’s the physical side of the job that has…

  • RACHEAL BOYCE

    Racheal Boyce has a tenacious work ethic and drive to provide for her family. So much so that this  has seen her waters break while woolhandling. Not once, but twice. Fast forward six weeks after giving birth and Racheal is back running up and down the board. This passionate woolhandler has the shearing industry in her blood. The daughter of a shearer and sister of a woolclasser, she’s been following in her family’s footsteps since she was sixteen years old. Now, 29 and a mother, she is still in the sheds and throwing herself into her woolshed career. It’s a balancing act for Racheal, but over the last ten years…

  • Bolinda Vale Stencils

    BOLINDA VALE, CLARKEFILED VIC

    The majestic woolshed at Bolinda Vale, Clarkefield Vic. Running 48 stands in its glory days, today is still in operation. 102,000 sheep were once shorn here in 12 months and a railway built to mainly just cart the wool and livestock produced by this property. It was a huge operation and created many jobs in the industry (the shearers quarters housed 100 workers). Bolinda Vale is a direct link to not only our industry’s but Australia’s past. If only these walls could talk.  

  • John Conlan

    John Conlan

    The Conlan brothers – John and Mark were a force to be reckoned with in the Australian Shearing Competition circuits. Both brothers won the Golden Shears (two and four times respectively) and had an intensely competitive spirit. You could bet your bottom dollar when one came in first the other would follow closely in second. They competed for fun and were bloody good at it too. While other shearers were knocking back a few coldies at the end of the day, Mark and John could be found working on their fitness. They loved it and had a thirst for being the best. Nothing could stop the Conlan brothers, not even…

  • Jess Parker 5

    N K Shearing, Benalla

    Picture the stereotypical shearer, what do you see? An older worker closer to retirement than to the peak of their career? N K Shearing are setting out to change that. (Nick Van Elk & his shearer sons – Aaron & Nathan) Nick and Karen Van Elk are the respected name in shearing contracting around the Benalla district and beyond. Walk into their typical working day and you’ll see a professional team with their heads down and bums up (literally for some of them). But, there is something different about this team that will serve the future of the shearing industry well. Of the 28 shearers, woolhandlers, pressers and woolclassers working…

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