The Shearers by Ruth Entwistle Low
Updated: Aug 24, 2019
The Shearers is a book that allows us to get up close with New Zealand shearers from around the country, where they reflect on all the ups and downs of being a shearer. I’m a city girl, but my granddad had a sheep farm in Dannevirke, so this books takes me back to the days on the farm when I was a child.
The stories are all interesting and people share honestly about their experiences.
I enjoyed learning about Sarah Higgins. She’s only 26 years old and she has travelled around NZ and also to Germany and the UK with her work shearing. She thinks to be a good shearer it’s about mental attitude and not just strength.
I also enjoyed reading about Murray Grice, who at 85 years of age, he looks back proudly of being a shearer on the Terrace Station, when there was a shortage of shearers in the 1950s. It’s a lovely slice of the past.
Ann Robinson’s story was another that stood out. She cooks for more than 100 people every day, such an important job to keep all the shearers well feed.
Another highlight of the book is the chapter on Brian ‘Snow’ Quinn, who won six Golden Shears in the 60s and 70s. By all accounts a humble man, but he’s had a song written about him, and also a racehorse named after him!
The Shearers is a lovely blend of shearers from past and present, and an insightful slice of life from our farming communities. A perfect gift for dads, especially if they live in the country.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Published by Penguin Random House