Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Old Wool Shed at Woolmers Estate

Woolmers is a wonderful estate which had been in the same family for 6 generations, all male owners had the same Christian name of Thomas.  The last Thomas VI, and direct descendant of the original owner, (Thomas I), died in the late 1990s, an only child and unmarried and with no children.  The estate is now managed by a family trust made up of relatives to Thomas VI.
The wool shed is stunning, and is still in use today with the benefit of electric shears, as opposed to the Sawbees of old.  Examples of the old blades and shears hang on the walls.  I have included photos of some of the shears and the controversial wide comb shears, introduced by those pesky Kiwis a few years ago. 
The tally markings (on one of the walls), of one of the old shearers can still be seen – “W Mathews Nov 18th 1878”, I had to take a photograph of it.  Note the lanolin stained gates into the pen, many a shearers hands have a oiled the gate as they went in to drag out a sheep.  The shed has been set up as if the shearers have just stopped work for smoko – no sheep in the yard though!  Bucko is showing me where two men would climb atop the wool press, and manually turn the capstan on the walkway, winding the shaft down to compress the wool tightly into the bale, which would then be sewn together ready for shipping.
Click on View Full Album then select Slide show, if you wish you can also make the photos larger. Enjoy.

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