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.




Weekend of celebrations


Shear Outback will officially be launched

at 8pm on Australia Day, January 26.

The launch celebrations will be held between 6.30pm and 9.30pm and entry to the site will be free for the evening.

Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations and shuttle buses will run to and from town all evening.

Delicious outback tucker and drinks are available for purchase while guests are entertained by a myriad of performers, bringing to life the characters and colour of the Australian shearing industry.

The annual Australia Day Awards presentation will take place at 7.30pm and will be followed by the official launch.

Another highlight of the evening is a vibrant “Shear Symphony” performance comprising singing, dancing, synchronised shearing and fire twirling which will guarantee the buildings and site come to life.

The weekend’s activities start on Friday night with some ghostly encounters, Ratting the Padlocks between 9pm and 10pm. Some of Hay’s notorious haunts will be explored with historian, Dr Martha Sears who will be warning her guests to look out as history may spring to life in more ways than one.

The traditional Australia Day breakfast on Saturday will again be held at the Hay Gaol from 7am, followed by the Surf Carnival at Sandy Point between 11am and 4pm.

There are three tours to choose from between 11am and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday – Tyson’s Run, Riding on the Sheep’s Back and Museum 4.

Tyson’s Run takes in the Oxley area, 76 kilometres west of Hay across the Old Man Saltbush Plains.

Tyson was an eccentric squatter who owned large parcels of land throughout Western New South Wales. He had a reputation for dropping in unannounced, dressed as a “swaggie” to check on his managers and staff.

The tour follows Tyson’s path, learn of the irrigation ditches dug by hand by expatriate Chinese labourers, visit the famous blade tree adjacent a massive 56 stand woolshed on Tupra Shed and share a mug of billy tea and damper at Oxley with its 16 locals.

This will be followed by the story of Oxley Station and its homestead which was moved to its present site on wooden skids and a visit to St Barnabas Church.

Riding the Sheep’s Back visits some of Australia’s noted Merino Studs and properties to allow the visitor to recapture the days when each station would have up to 30 staff and functioned as a stand-along village or small township with bookkeepers, Chinese gardeners, nannies, rabbiters, jackaroos and colonial experienced men.

Uardry, Wyvern and Groongal all played starring roles in the development of the robust Australian merino. During the tour, homage is paid to the riverboat trade which once involved the Carrathool bridge to raise its centre span to let the boats and barges pass on their voyage to Echuca.

The Museum 4 tour is conducted hourly and takes in Hay Gaol Museum, Hay Internment and POW Camp Interpretive Centre, Bishop’s Lodge Historic House Museum and Hay War Memorial High School.

Devonshire tea will be served at Bishop’s Lodge, the first residence of the Anglican Bishop of the Riverina.

There will be an opportunity to investigate the diaries of the Dunera Boys who found themselves far from the coffee houses of Europe, studying ancient Greek and atomic theory whilst interned at Hay.

Guests may disembark at their leisure and explore each page in Hay’s unique history.

Gates to Shear Outback open at 6.30pm for the official launch celebrations.

Sunday marks the first day of operating of Shear Outback and guests will have the opportunity to experience the fabulous exhibition and be entertained by bush poets, yarn telling shearers, shearing demonstrations and sheep dog trials. Entry to Shear Outback is $15 adults, $10 concessions, $8 children and $35 for a family of four.

A delicious brunch will be served in the tranquil and beautiful gardens of historic Bishop’s Lodge between 10am and 12 noon. The 1889 iron house was designed by architect John Sulman and the Bishop of the Riverina to successfully combat the regions’ extreme climate. The building is surrounded by a heritage garden which contains a collection of historic roses.

Apart from the three tours between 11am and 5pm, there will also be a walking tour entitled Tales of the Riverboats to take visitors back in time and relive the time when Hay was a  bustling river boat town.

An induction ceremony for invited guests will be held at Shear Outback between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Those to be inducted into the Australian Shearer’s Hall of Fame are Jackie Howe, Julian Stuart, Henry Salter, Kevin Sarre and John Hutchinson who were all legendary shearers.

From 7pm guests may enjoy a Shearer’s Mess meal of saltbush mutton, damper, pickled onions, and gravy with mint sauce. This will be followed by an open air cinema screening of Sunday’s Too Far Away.

Guests will be seated under a blanket of stars while enjoying the rugged life of a shearer in Sunday too Far Away, starring jack Thompson and rated M.

This classic Australian film is set in 1955 and tells the story of three generations of itinerant shearers who gather to work another shearing contract. By the end of the six weeks the hard, yet vulnerable men have discovered a pride in what they do and dignity in how they live – Friday night too tired, Saturday night too drunk and Sunday too far away. This will conclude Hay’s weekend of celebrations of the long awaited launch of Shear Outback.



Early days - Prime  Minister John Howard pictured inspecting the bare site and plans for what has become a multi-million dollar complex to honour the shearer. He was pictured with current ASHF chairman, Rod McCully and inaugural Board chairman, Ken Munn during a visit to Hay in 1999.



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Extracts reproduced with permission from The Riverine Grazier