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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Running of the Sheep at Boorowa

Boorowa is a small country town about 4 hours drives inland from Sydney with a population of about 2200. It's sheep country and every year in October they have a festival called The Running of The Sheep which brings around 15000 visitors, including me.

The festival has an Irish theme because back in the old days, Boorowa had a large Irish population. The story goes that someone said "Have you been to Ireland?" and the answer was "No, but I've been to Boorowa".

They run the sheep down the main street, the sheep dogs in complete control.
Then they have a 'Blessing of the Sheep' by both a Catholic Priest and an Anglican Minister.

It was also interesting to witness a stud ram sale which was held on a farmer's property. There were about 20 young rams for sale at the auction, the best going for $2600, the others sold for around $1200. The farmers were very discreet bidders, one elderly man just kept raising his eyebrows.
The surrounding paddocks were lush and green - there is no drought here at Boorowa.

Then there was the shearing competition. The young shearer in the photo won the novice section, (12 months experience or less) and the older chap with the beard won the $700 overall prize - he had the quickest time and his sheep had the least cuts - points are deducted for any cuts. They get $2.32 per sheep, the average is about $350 per day for around 150 sheep. The gun shearers (fastest) can do up to 400 sheep a day. It's back-breaking work and seasonal.

It was nice to get out of the city and into the country for a change. I was surprised at how friendly country people really are, they actually seem interested in where you come from and hope you are having a good time.

So if you haven't been to this lovely little town not far from Yass, keep the long weekend next October free. Incidentally, the caravan park and the pub are booked out 12 months in advance but the showground has the capacity to take around 100 caravans/motor homes and fifth wheelers.
A great country experience.