THE weekend Western Advocate ran a great feature article on the 50-year anniversary of shearer Garry Stapleton's work at the Webb family's "Wonga" property in the beautiful Tarana valley.
Many of our readers know Garry as a good workmate, ultra reliable and a quality shearer.
Shearing with him this year were Noel Grant, Guy Fletcher and Rowan Charlton.
Wool handlers were Emma Whalan (classer), Emma Martin, Katie Rowley, Robert and Richard Webb.
The three girls are typical of female wool handlers: busy, very capable and not much to say.
The quality superfine fleeces at "Wonga" are notably snow white and should give excellent test results.
Marjorie and Richard gave me a list of shearers who have shorn with Garry Stapleton at "Wonga" in the years 1969 to the present and readers of Rural Notebook will remember lots of these people: Les Gibson, Les Rowlandson, Richard Webb, Mal Charlton, Rowan Charlton, Max Cranston, Peter Moore, George Gates, Neil Francis, Bruce Charlton, Terry Smith, Luke Meredith, Milton Taylor, Bob Duff, Bill Golsby, Guy Fletcher, Hugh O'Donnell, James Duggan, Glen Hutchinson, Steve Hutchinson, Brian Press, Jacob Cummings, Tom Pearce, Darren McMahon, Geoff Nightingale, Adam Charlton, John Grant, Noel Grant, Clarry Saurine, Bruce Webb, Quentin Stapleton, Amy Cosgrove, Paul Hogan, Keith Evans, Russell Booth, Col Theobald, Michael Magee, Shane Evans, Zane Theobald, Graham Jones, Mick Hogan, Brendan Smoothie and Roger Hogan.
Because wool has been my game, I can't help but admire the whole "Wonga" team.
Four capable shearers working on plain-bodied merino ewes with fleeces as white as snow. The woolhandlers are three young ladies, neat and tidy with the wool minimum skirtings and much of the fleece short oddments never being put on the wool tables.
Two wool rolling tables and the press only five steps away make for an easy shed to work in.
Rob and Richard Webb are in the right place to be involved in the preparation of their annual wool clip.
In years gone by, we sometimes worked with a team of four, an adequate number of shedhands, two wool tables and bins about 15 steps away.
At most two-hour breaks there were about 40 fleeces still on the board to skirt and roll.
As young men (no females in sheds in the 1960s) we wished that Owner Wool Classer could have found a job in town. That is one reason why I admired the woolhandlers at Tarana last week.
Let's try again
AFTER the unfortunate cancellation of the Bathurst Merino Association Ram Expo due to freezing conditions last Saturday, the committee has informed that it will conduct the Super 6 Competition for commercial ewes at the showground this Saturday from 10am to 1pm.
Fifteen teams of six young ewes are entered for the event and every spectator will be welcome.
The committee has organised two sheep specific trade days at Bathurst Showground this winter and each day attracted one of our most miserable weather events.
The Land's Sheep Week exhibition in late June was an arctic day and last Saturday's snowout may have been even colder.
I think that all concerned were grateful for the actions of the BMA committee in calling off the event at 7.45am on Saturday.
Many thanks to the leadership of BMA in making a difficult decision at a time that saved many kilometres of driving in dangerous road conditions, and we will hope for better conditions this coming Saturday.
THE Turon Wild Dog Association will conduct a spring baiting program on Friday, September 6 and baits must be ordered by August 30.
Inquiries to Local Land Services on 6333 2300 or Jodie Healey on 6337 7751.
THIS story has a strong connection to a well-known member of the Sofala community.
In 1843, James and Wilhelmina Murray left Scotland by sea to start a new life in Australia.
Included in their goods on the long sea voyage to Sydney was a mahogany grand piano that was drawn by a horse-drawn wagon to their home at Mount Lambie.
The piano was the centre of many gatherings of the Murray family and their neighbours at "Warrawang", Mount Lambie and is now an exhibit at the Museum of Sydney in a focus called Songs of Home.
The lovely old piano is owned by Mrs Kerry Cole of "Turon Hill", Sofala, and it has certainly had a grand life.
WHILE beef breeders across the tablelands are getting ready to buy the herd bulls of their choice, they are weighing up the prospects of a return to a more normal spring.
During many recent years there have been some bobtail springs that started well and quickly withered.
Perhaps 2019 will be remembered as a spring that looked awful in early August and blossomed into lush clovers and bloat blocks lined up near every stock watering point.
Let's remain positive; the young bulls won't breed anything until they leave their home property.
- This Saturday: Bathurst Showground, 10am to 1pm, Bathurst Merino Association Super Six Commercial Ewe Comp.
- Saturday, August 31: 60th Anniversary Burraga Sheep Show.
- Thursday, September 5: Millah Murrah Angus; 75 bulls on property.
- Friday, September 6: Karoo Angus; 72 bulls on property at Meadow Flat.
- Saturday, September 14: Perthville Village Fair.
THE wool market opened significantly lower after the mid-year three-week recess.
All micron categories suffered substantial losses.
Eighteen-micron and finer lost around 60c/kg, while the 19 to 21 micron lost around 120c/kg.
The crossbred wools were least affected, losing around 45c/kg. The Northern Market Indicator finished the week on 1704c/kg, down 74c/kg.
The main reason for the downturn is the continuing trade war between China and the US.
China exports around $42 billion worth of textiles into the US a year which now may have a tariff placed on it.
So until the whole trade situation settles down, we could see the market discounted even further, because buyers say it is very hard to do any business, especially in fleece wool.
Next week will see 43,603 bales on offer nationwide.
Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark
THEY tell me that George was too tight to buy a decent hearing aid, so he had one end of a copper wire in his shirt pocket and the other end in a bandaid behind his ear.
"Of course it doesn't work," he said, "but it makes the beggars speak louder to me and it costs nothing."
DAVID wore the full tartan to a parade.
"Is anything worn under the kilt?" an older lady friend asked.
"Of course nothing's worn," David scoffed. "Everything is in perfect condition."