Calling shearers for Grazcos reunion

Calling shearers for Grazcos reunion


Sheep
Bimby Martin was one of six Wool Board instructors who put on a synchronised shearing display at the 1965 Sydney Sheep Show. Bimby is second from right in the above photograph. He will be the guest of honour at the reunion. Photos: John Cook

Bimby Martin was one of six Wool Board instructors who put on a synchronised shearing display at the 1965 Sydney Sheep Show. Bimby is second from right in the above photograph. He will be the guest of honour at the reunion. Photos: John Cook

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A reunion to recall the centenary of Grazcos is being planned for March

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Without shearers, there would never have been the wool industry as we know it.

They were and still are an integral part of the industry, and for generations of woolgrowers, Grazcos was a well-known name and source of competent shearing teams and as a destination for wool in need of bulk classing. 

Perhaps there are many who worked in those shearing teams under the now defunct Grazcos stencil who will be interested to know of a forthcoming reunion where they could once again recount their tallies and recall those characters with whom they worked and shared shearers quarters and bar rooms.

It will be held at the Greystanes Hotel, Merrylands Road Greystanes on Saturday 9 March from 11.30 until cutout.

The reunion is also planned to celebrate the centenary of the formation of Grazcos as an independent shearing contractor and organiser John Cook said this might well be the last occasion when many of the old hands will gather around a bar.   

John is now retired and living in Wagga Wagga, but he started as a barrow boy in the woolstore in Alexandria in 1962, before going on to work in sheds as roustabout, presser, shearer, cook and wool classer.

Some of the places John worked on included Morton Plains, near Engonia, Timberskim near West Wyalong and Hawkesview, near Albury.

“This is the 100th year of Grazcos … that is if it was still going … but a number of former Grazcos workers still meet regularly,” he said.

“This year may be the last that we all get together … ‘our last two runs before cutout’, one may say as we are all over 70 and just under 90 years.”

Mr Cook recalled that Grazcos was started by some cockies getting together to organise shearers back in 1919 and the co-operative grew from that tentative start. 

It was registered in 1919 as the Graziers Co-op Shearing Company Limited and it later changed its name in September 1948 to Grazcos Co-operative Ltd.

In 1981 the co-operative merged with Farmers & Graziers Co-op Ltd to form Farmers Grazcos Co-op Ltd.

Among many shearers John Cook recalls, the late Kevin Sarre developed the Tally-Hi shearing method and it was introduced by Grazcos in the mid 60’s.

“Along with Bimby Martin the two shearers became NSW shearing instructors for all new and old shearers of Grazcos for the Australian Wool Board,” he said.

“Kevin and Bimby are recognised in the Shearers Hall of Fame in Hay and Bimby will be attending the reunion.”

The original reunion was held at Delegate in the far south-east and was attended by many people who worked in the shearing sheds for Grazcos in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s before it ceased trading in its own right.

Delegate was picked for the reunion as it was a town that survived mainly from the timber mill and dairy but a big part was played by the shearing at Delegate Station. The towns’ people put on a number of balls during the six to nine weeks that the shearing took place in the months of November and December.

The “Shed” was deemed as a “guards shed” that is to say it was a unique opportunity to work there.

Quite a lot of Tally-Hi shearers shore there and wool dignitaries were often invited to the “Shearers Ball’ such as Denis Ryan from Milro Shearing Gear.

“The reunion is one of a kind,” Mr Cook said.

“I do not believe that there has been such a reunion as this...there are a lot of workers who have passed on and they will be fondly missed but for the majority it will be a lifelong memory and a catch up of old mates.

“It started as a get together of four friends but grew to be what it will be...a great weekend.”

John Cook would love to hear from ex-Grazconians and his contact is 0417258881

The story Calling shearers for Grazcos reunion first appeared on The Land.

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