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.

A letter to the Editor of The Riverine Grazier from

Mr Rod McCully, Chairman, Shear Outback.


Thumbs Up

The Editor, Hay's best paper.

Dear Tertia,

Thank you for allowing Shear Outback to acknowledge the so many people of Hay who have put in such a magnificent effort over the past 4 1/2 years to see Shear Outback open.  The Australia Day weekend was a momentous occasion and one would have to a long way to see a better or more important event.  in my opinion the only day of greater economic importance to Hay would have been the opening of the first bridge.  We have had so many phone calls, e-mails, letters and positive verbal comments it makes us all feel pretty humble, yet very proud to be part of this community.  It is best summed up by one visitor from Deniliquin who told his business partner, 'The most outstanding thing about the weekend was the obvious community spirit of Hay'.

We now have statistics from the first week of operation, which are in line with our expectations.  Several estimates of the crowd attending the opening put it at between 3,000 and 4,000.  Visitors on the first day totalled 1,935, with a further 1,150 until last Sunday night.  The visitors book is full of positive comment, and considering we still have things to do particularly in the exhibition area, that is very satisfying.

Hay has received remarkable national coverage.  On TV, Channel Nine's To-day show covered stories about Hay and Shear Outback on Friday and Monday, as well as their Saturday morning show.  The advertising value of the twenty minutes of coverage in Sydney alone is estimated to be $250,000 and nationally over $1 million.  The ABC 7:30 report had a segment on Friday night, and their Landline crew were in town from Friday until late Saturday filming a program to go to air later this month.  During January, there were 458 television or radio broadcasts about Shear Outback and Hay and they were seen or heard from Broome to Bermagui, Cooktown to Kojonup, and Geraldton to Gosford.  The audited details indicate that Australians everywhere had an opportunity to hear about Hay.  Most major daily papers also carried stories.

However the greatest publicity of all comes from the satisfied customer - the people who left Hay so impressed with every aspect of how we live and what we do (and how we deal with our own at times - see THUMBS DOWN p2) have always been our greatest ambassadors.  Several calls and letters have come from people not present - they have heard from others.

All this should give everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling.  We want to assure you all that whilst what has passed was pretty good, we know we can do better.  We know there were hiccups in some areas of the opening night, which are history and won't be dwelt on.  We will concentrate on those things that can be fixed or improved.  All our staff, directors have put their 'things to do' into one master action list, some of which will take a little longer than next week, and the 'impossible' a little longer still.  In other words we are aware of our imperfections and will do something about it.

Elsewhere in the paper there is a plea for more volunteers to assist those who have handled their tasks so well.  It is self-explanatory and we want to endorse the comments wholeheartedly.  The more people who put their hands up, the easier it will be for everyone.  Let's not let the spirit flag and leave it to the few.  A small aside - one (not the only one) early sceptic of the project asked me on Sunday afternoon how he could become a volunteer.  I'm sure there are plenty of others.

Finally, some special Kudos.  To the council staff who did a great job putting a fresh face and helping elsewhere.  All the volunteer groups who assisted in cooking, marshalling and all those mundane jobs which had to be done.  To the patience of so many when the transport ran into trouble.  To the retail section who made out main street an exiting place to be.  They were all winners!  To the spruikers on the various tours and at the properties they visited - I am told they revelled in it and entertained their captive audience non-stop.  To those who did the unexpected things - for example opening the court house for one hours which turned into four!  To our members and supporters who have given in whatever form to see the project opened.  And finally to our staff so capably led by Sara Hector and now Austin Smith. - they have all taken ownership and pride in what they do which is something no wage or salary incentive can buy.

Sara and I have been appointed Ambassadors for the Year of The Outback.  There are 150 Ambassadors throughout Australia and we accepted the appointments on behalf of the community, because you are all such great ambassadors.

Thank you Hay.

Rod McCully,


Shear Outback.



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Extracts reproduced with permission from The Riverine Grazier