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The love of the shearing shed

Working in the wool industry can be a very rewarding career path. NSW Wool Classer, Kelly Wombey shares some of her experiences and talks about why she loves her job.

I’m a country girl through and through, so working in the shearing shed was kind of inevitable for me.

As a kid, I grew up on a family farm with sheep and horses and loved crutching and shearing time. The love of the shearing shed, and the wool, has always been in my blood.

Working as a wool classer is something that I have always wanted to do, but hadn’t really had the opportunity to do it, until a few years ago. I then hit the ground running, and haven’t looked back. When a friend says to you ‘every time you talk about wool classing, your face lights up’, that’s when you know you are working in your dream job.

Kelly Wombey and Kenny * Photographer: Belinda Bamford https://www.belindabamford.com/index @Belinda Bamford

The shearing shed is one of those places where you wouldn’t have seen any women in the past, let alone working in them. These days, things are a little different and there are a lot of very capable women who work in the sheds, from wool classers, to rous-abouts, and even shearers. I love that this industry has changed and grown with the times. I do however, sometimes find it tough, being a female in the shearing shed, with getting acceptance from some people. That just makes me more determined to prove to them how capable I really am.

The people you get to meet, the places you get to see, and the experiences you gain in the shearing shed are second to none. There are certainly some ‘characters’ within this industry, but different types of people is what makes the world go round. It’s a very different environment to working in an ‘office’. I have done both, and I certainly know which one I prefer.

Working in the shearing industry is one of the best decisions I have ever made. You work hard, but the skills you learn, you will have for life.
Kelly Wombey
Kelly Wombey * Photographer: Belinda Bamford https://www.belindabamford.com/index @Belinda Bamford

I love my job, the wool I get to class every day, and the people I work with. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been, and actually have some muscles. I get paid to workout!! There aren’t many jobs you get to do that in.

Wool is an amazing natural fibre that is very versatile, and is used in so many quality products that we use every day.

The opportunities for careers in the wool industry are huge. From being a shearer, to a wool broker, right through to the client at the end of the pipeline with the finished product. Anywhere there are sheep in Australia, people can get a job in the shearing shed. There aren’t many industries in which you can do your work and travel this amazing country at the same time. You just have to be a bit of a gypsy to do that.

The friends I have made through this industry are the kind of people I know I will have for life. We all have the same passion for what we do. We work long hours, and definitely in some ‘interesting’ conditions, but when you see people turn up to a shed to do a job they love, its like no other.

Working in the shearing industry is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is a very rewarding career, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. You work hard, but the skills you learn, you will have for life.

Kelly Wombey, NSW Wool Classer

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