Shear Outback was officially opened on Australia Day, Saturday 26th January, 2002.

The official opening was carried out by Kay Hull, the Federal Member for Riverina.

There were an estimated 3,000 people in attendance for the opening ceremony.

An easy-to-read transcript of this article appears below the picture.


The above page has been reproduced with permission from The Riverine Grazier, Hay, N.S.W.

Bennett Wagon a unique exhibit


THE MAP on the wagonette shows just how far the team travelled to reach Hay. As the wagon had spent all of its working life in Ganmain NSW carting chaff and grain from 1925 to 1940, Geof Little decided to take the wagon to Ganmain to show the people the restored article, and then walked down the Murrumbidgee River to Hay. The average distance covered was 30 kilometres each day depending on conditions. Shear Outback couldn’t fund the trip, so Geof succeeded in getting sponsors from his own region, the major one being Castlemaine Traditional Smallgoods. A team of about 18 volunteers accompanied and worked during the trek, including two families from Gippsland.

NEARLY THERE!  Pictured on the last day of the trek 20 kilometres east of Hay on the Mid-western highway, neither horses, men nor the wagon were showing any stress from their six-week trip. All the team were overwhelmed by the hospitality they received all along the route, and as one young lady said ‘I have to go back to school next week to do by VCE (Victorian year 12 exams) and I will probably do badly. I can do the exams again next year, but I will never be able to do this trip again!’

The condition of the wagon before restoration was such that the decking had to be completely replaced, along with the back end and half the front end. The wheels also had to be rebuilt and the project took over 1000 hours and cost $8,000 in materials.

THE BENNETT WAGON is one of Shear Outack’s most unique exhibits. Geof Little (above) is a Blacksmith and Wainwright by profession, based in Maldon, Victoria. He bought hte badly worn wagon in 1987, and after ‘eight years of thinking bout it, and two years of hard work’ the wagon was fully restored. Geof contacted the Shear Outback committee soon after and despite many setbacks, the trek to Hay commenced in September 2001, arriving in Hay to be a feature of Hay’s Centenary of Federation parade on October 28. The wagon is on loan until Geof’s demise when it will become the property of Shear Outback.

THE CULMINATION of the trek was the wagon’s triumphant walk down Lachlan Street as the last participant in Hay’s Centenary of Federation parade. It was a parade of the likes never seen in Hay before, and covered four town blocks from one end to the other. Most of the crew wearing their Shear Outback caps took part and were obviously moved by the enthusiastic welcome they received from the large crowd gathered along the route. A fitting finale to a wonderful gesture.

Shear Outback Chairman Rod McCully said ‘It takes a very special person to spend the time and money necessary to restore something as big as this wagon – it takes one hell of a person to make this trek and then just hand over your project to someone else. Geof Little is one of those and it is this sort of generosity, and at many levels, and from many people, that continues to give us special faith in the project.’



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Extracts reproduced with permission from The Riverine Grazier