Shearers to take to the stand for mental health

Sheep Central, August 6, 2018

Shown practicing their blade terchnique at the Glencoe wool shed are Janine Midgley of Western Australia and blade shearing guru Richie Foster from Victoria.

SHEARERS from around the world are expected to support a charity shearing event aimed at helping those with mental health issues, at the National Trust’s Glencoe wool shed near Mount Gambier next year.

The ‘Blades of Glencoe’ event on March 19 2019 has received a $10,000 boost from SA Health to spread the word on suicide prevention, through the South Australian Suicide Prevention Community Grant Scheme.

The ‘Blades of Glencoe’ event will be open to shearers from all over the world. Competitors at different skill levels will demonstrate the ancient art of blade shearing and vie for cash prizes. Tickets will be sold online from November.

The ‘Blades of Glencoe’ the event will also relive the days of old fashioned blade shearing, including continuous demonstrations and a speed shearing competition.

The event was suggested to the National Trust by a group of female shearers who already had a major success to their credit, having raised $30,000 with their ‘Ducks on the Pond’ day at Harrow, Victoria. The women approached the National Trust through blade shearing guru, Richie Foster, and asked that proceeds be shared with organisations that take the stigma out of seeking mental help, particularly for rural men. Rural mental health is such a hot topic that a network quickly evolved.

SA Health hosted a Suicide Prevention Network seminar at the Glencoe wool shed in May, opened by local councillor Rob Dycer and Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention, MLC John Dawkins. Both were impressed with the wool shed’s appeal as a living symbol of rural endurance.

SA Health senior project officer, David Thompson, said the South Australian Suicide Prevention Community Grant Scheme will support the event to raise awareness, break down stigma, and increase connections within the community that can save lives.

Janine Midgley, speaking for the female shearers, said  the Glencoe event is the shearers’ way of trying to make a difference, to save lives and bring some awareness into the world.

“Life has thrown me some blows and mighty challenges, but I’ve survived.

“Still every day is a challenge. I have lost many friends and am involved with work mates and farmers who are struggling in silence,” she said.

The collaborative event will links The National Trust, SA Health, Wattle Range Council, the Suicide Prevention Networks, Lifeline South East and those vital instigators, the female shearers and the Blade Shearing Revival Group. Their message is ‘It’s OK not to be OK. Just ask.’

“Glencoe Woolshed is the real deal, just the same as it was in 1863.

“And the National Trust has the experience of a similar day in 2015, which attracted thousands of people,” Ms Midgley said.

Glencoe wool shed was built of limestone and hand carved timbers in 1863 and still stands in its original condition, ready to click back to life whenever sheep, blades and strong, skilled arms are available.


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  1. Ceri Hutchinson, August 10, 2018

    An awesome initiative, we will follow closely from the Republic of Whangamomona x

  2. Glencoe Woolshed, August 7, 2018

    Many thanks for running our story – direct to our target audience.
    Readers, follow us on Facebook: Glencoe Woolshed National Trust.

  3. Martin Butler, August 6, 2018

    Brilliant, send me the ‘save the date’ and I’ll pass it around my network. Social worker/farmer.

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