Shear joy and preserving history at centre of show

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Trevor Keating with his shearing collection in Serpentine.
Camera IconTrevor Keating with his shearing collection in Serpentine. Credit: Countryman

What is believed to be Australia’s best shearing memorabilia display will be put on show for all to see at the Hugh Manning Tractor and Machinery Museum in Serpentine this Sunday.

Trevor Keating has spent the past 10 years collecting shearing items from across the State and sharing his interest with others.

He has a passion for helping share the stories of shearers involved in “the truck days”, when shearing teams would pile into old trucks and spend weeks travelling to sheep stations in the north.

With few sheep now left in WA’s northern pastoral areas, Mr Keating said he was keen to make sure people remembered the more than 50 years when teams would work sheds in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne.

Trevor Keating with his shearing collection in Serpentine.
Camera IconTrevor Keating with his shearing collection in Serpentine. Credit: Countryman

The men in those teams of the 1950s and 60s included shearers, wool classers and shed hands, and they are now aged in their late 70s, 80s and into their 90s.

“This history is so important, and if we don’t look after it, we will lose all of it,” Mr Keating said.

“The collection started out as a passion and it still is. The old boys are so happy to have these items on display.

“The general public doesn’t know a lot about this part of WA’s history, and a lot of young shearers don’t know anything about it, either. There are some incredible stories.”

A keen shearer for 52 years, Mr Keating came to WA as a 16-year-old in 1968 and spent three years on truck runs travelling across the Murchison and Gascoyne.

“We would leave Perth in March and not get back until Christmas,” he said.

This included two as a roustabout and one year as a shearer, visiting stations at Cue, Meekatharra and Warrawagine, among other far flung places.

Some of the most interesting pieces in his collection include beautiful, old hand pieces — some of which are 100 years old — and photographs from former sheep stations.

Shearers and Pastoral Workers social club president Doug Kennedy will present a plaque at the museum which will read: “The Trevor Keating Shearing Memorabilia Collection, opened by Doug Kennedy”.

The event will be held at the Hugh Manning Tractor & Machinery Museum from 10.30am to 2pm on Sunday, May 2, y, May 2, with a sausage sizzle on offer.

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