I sat on a plastic chair, painting at a similarly crazy pace to the shearers, occasionally bopping around to the music as I worked, occasionally batting away flies. I finished off the concertina by sneaking through one of the saloon doors, to where hundreds of sheep were penned in the bulk of the shed, ready to be grabbed.
While I was sketching, Professor Parker was finding spare moments to interview various people, to find out what they thought about their work. One of these turned out to be the reigning sheep-shearing champion, from New Zealand, sharpening his clippers at a grindstone on the deck. Where the average is 200 sheep a day (doesn't sound that average to me...), he and his brother once shore a staggering 924 merinos in an 8 hour shift. And merinos, I'm told, are much, much bigger.
We got a longer interview with Bill: at 67, the oldest shearer there. I did a sketch-portrait of him on a larger sheet, while he was being interviewed. he told us that they tried a new invention in this very shed a few years back - a fully mechanised shearing machine. 'What happened to it?' asked Professor Parker. 'It couldn't keep up with the blokes,' said Bill. 'They had to throw it away.'