Shearing is an iconic part of rural life and the life blood of many local families

Wednesday, August 9: It’s day three of the shearing season at ‘Little Valley’ near Elsmore where the Mepham family have a mob of 1,800 merinos to shear.

On hand in the shed is Ray Mepham who’s been working this property since 1966; daughter-in-law Elizabeth Mepham who has another 800 sheep waiting to be shorn at her place after this lot are done; Mcintyre High School work experience student Rahni Harrison who is dreaming of a life on the land; wool handler Jamie Crichlow who knows this work holds a special place in the life of the bush; and shearers Andrew McArthur and Russell Hamel who are looking good now but let’s check on them again in a few weeks time. 

Watching over them all, from a fading black and white photo pinned to a wooden beam, is Alex Mepham –Ray’s dad who bought ‘Little Valley’ back in 1938 and made it the centre of his family’s life for the next three generations to come (so far). 

And last but not least, in terms of watchful woolly critters waiting inside the shed, is Misty, Elizabeth’s little dog, whiling away the hours on top of a pile of warm woollen fibre.