Sheds full of shearing history
Alex Cant is making sure Australia does not get fleeced of its wool history.
The 72-year-old farmer has steadily stockpiled a vast collection of shearing equipment at his Kojonup-Broomehill farm in the past decade.
An array of items — including a timber wool-presser built in the 1890s — fill one of Mr Cant’s sheds, and a room near the farm’s homestead houses shearing plants, shears and other memorabilia.
He has had an affinity with the wool industry since the Cant family moved from Warooka, a small wheatbelt town on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, to Kojonup in the 1960s.
However, it was not until five decades later that the woolgrower decided to help preserve Australian wool’s rich history and create his wool museum.
“I always had a bit of stuff, but decided to keep going and really hoe into it in about 2008,” Mr Cant said.
“There is a lot in the wool industry and I didn’t want to see it disappear.”
Buying a shearing cradle, used by farmers to shear their own sheep during the 1950s shearers’ strike, ignited his collecting passion and the hunt for artefacts.
It has led the farmer from his patch of Great Southern land across the Nullarbor to NSW and Queensland five times in a bid to track down historic wool and shearing items.
The museum has Ferrier wool presses, Koerstz wool presses, a Robinson screw press and also stencils used to brand the bales.
Mr Cant, while proudly standing among his portable shearing stands, grinders, old stencils and bale hooks, said commitment to collecting was worthwhile.
For the veteran producer, it is a way to repay the industry which has provided “so much” to himself and his family.
“The wool industry has been very kind to us,” he said. “Some of these things date back to the 1850... and a few might be older.
“A few of the old hand-pieces are quite rare and would be worth a bit. I hope this collection maintains a bit of history for future generations to one day come and see.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails