Backstage stars of the shearing sheds

Cally DupeCountryman
Wagin Woolorama shearing steward Huia Barlow and his son Deizel Barlow, 13.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama shearing steward Huia Barlow and his son Deizel Barlow, 13. Credit: Countryman, Cally Dupe

Diezel Barlow is no stranger to shearing sheds, having spent time in them since he was a child.

The 13-year-old has a strong mentor in the shearing industry, his father Huia Barlow.

The career shearer has two stewarding roles at Wagin Woolorama, for the Woolhandling on March 6 and the Clean Shear on March 7.

As in many years before, Diezel will be behind the scenes helping his father at this year’s event — mainly helping to draft and drench the sheep ahead of the shearing competition.

“I got roped into helping Dad about two years ago ... it is good fun, and a chance to hang out with him and my mates,” he said.

“I mostly help to take the sheep in and out during the shearing competition.”

The pair have a busy schedule during the two-day Woolorama on March 6 and 7.

Wagin Woolorama shearing steward Huia Barlow (right) with his son Deizel Barlow, 13.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama shearing steward Huia Barlow (right) with his son Deizel Barlow, 13. Credit: Cally Dupe

The woolhandling competition kicks off at 8am on Friday, before the finals of the competition kick off about midday.

It’s a similar set-up on Saturday, with the open competitors starting finals mid-afternoon. The top three shearers and woolhandlers from each open category will qualify for the WA team for the National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in October.

More than 450 sheep will be used during the two days of competition, with the flock supplied by Arthur River farmer Jeremy Abbott.

Now a farmhand in Wagin, Mr Barlow spent 34 consecutive years working as a shearer across the Great Southern, with some stints in New Zealand and the UK.

He started work with a local farmer about six years ago, and now does a combination of shearing and farm work.

He took on the shearing and woolhandling steward roles about five years ago.

Entries for the Wagin Woolorama Woolhandling and Clean Shear competitions closed on February 15, but late entries will be accepted.

Woolhandling categories include novice, intermediate and open.

Clean Shear categories include novice, under-21, intermediate, senior and open.

Entry forms are available online at woolorama.com.au/competitions/entry-forms.

To find out more, visit the Wagin Woolorama website.

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