The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
Shearing sheds, woolshedsNorth Arm shearing shed- Derek Lee



  • Keppel-shed
  • Shearing


Shearing sheds on the original main camp settlements were huge, built with a shearing floor large enough for a row of around a dozen men to work, sometimes more. The Goose Green shearing shed was at one time thought to be the biggest in the world.

Sheds were/are generally filled with dry sheep the night before and topped up if necessary. There are huge back pens where the bulk of the sheep are kept leading to progressively smaller pens until finally the shearers' small catching pens are reached and they can be easily hauled out to the shearing floor. The holding pen floors are slatted to keep the sheep clean and dry. After shearing the clippies are pushed out through a hatch into a shearer's pen where his tally can be counted. The shearing floor in earlier days was often converted to a dance floor when a big settlement hosted a 'sports week'.

Shearing starts exactly on time with spells broken for smoko and dinner. Shearers today are professional and expect to earn good money for shearing perhaps 300 sheep or more in an eight hour day. With sub-division of the big sheep stations most shearing is now done by a gang of shearers travelling round the farms.

  • pressing-wool

Early wool presses used in the Falklands were cider presses adapted for baling. In 1856 the Falkland Islands Company, with 3,140 on its farm at Darwin used a hay press to bale the wool. By 1870 tobacco leaf presses were much in use in the islands with hand presses and hydraulic wool presses eventually taking over.
This laboursome task was usually taken on by men that had worked hard all day in the shearing shed on the rolling tables and grading, or even shearing, a good way to earn extra money.  The days clip in the bays would be baled up to make way for the next.



Could use some photos/ info on modern shearing sheds!






Photographic credits: Header North Arm shearing shed, Derek Lee
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