|One sex one year old wethers Isis Downs 1915|
Saw this old photo of Isis Downs shearing shed taken sometime around the 1915.
It is an amazing photo featuring 30,000 sheep waiting to be shorn.
Legend has it that all these sheep were ' 2 tooth's ' or in other words 1 year old and that they were all wethers (male sheep). Just think there were a female equivalent waiting in the wings!
I have had a bit of a search on the wonderfulworldwideweb and come up with some great old photo's of the famous 'Isis Downs Station' at Isisford. It has a wonderful history which goes back to the opening up of western Queensland. In the Isisford/Ilfracombe/Longreach districts it was one of the first stations taken up. Other included' Portland Downs' and 'Wellshot'.
|Isis Downs shed 1915|
This shed was built around 1910 and was revolutionary in it's day for a number of reasons...
Firstly it was semi-circular not heard of in shearing shed designs before. This was a lot more practical as wool tables were in the center of the shed with shearers working round the outside......roustabouts had less walking and sheep penned up well. There were probably a lot of other reasons but that's all I can think of with out delving into things more....lazy bloger....
Secondly it was run wholly on electricity.......this shearing shed in isolated western Queensland had 'power' before Melbourne......so legend has it anyway.
How is this possible you ask. Electricity was produced from steam. The hand pieces the shearers used were driven by steam also. The shed could utilize 52 shearer's. All the wool pressers were stream driven and there was also a little steam driven train which had carriages to cart the wool from the main shearing shed to what was called the 'dump shed' where wool was 'dumped' into bigger bales to then be loaded ..by a steam driven loading system on to the first steam driven 'road train' which carted the wool to Blackall wool scour 100 miles away.
Teams of men worked for weeks before shearing to stock pile enough wood to keep the fires burning.
|A group of Isis Downs jackaroo's 1920|
|Isis Downs station hands about to start a days work. 1915|
On the other hand also employed were ' station hands'. These men were of a very different class and means to the 'jackaroo'. They were workers and most didn't stand to gain anything other than employment. These men didn't usually have a lot of time or patience with their ' upper-class' work mates and sometimes went out of their way to make the others life a misery.
|Sunday afternoon tennis party. Isis Downs 1915|
|The grand old Isis Downs Homestead|
The lovely old Isis Downs homestead. This was taken in 1915. It was one of the few station homesteads that sported a lawn. Most others didn't have the water supply for such a luxury. But Isis had a weir in the near by Thornleigh Creek which made this possible .
This I suppose was the 1900's answer to the 'Pergola'. Looks awful hot to me!!
|Isis Downs thatched shelter 1915|
Isis Downs as it is today
It is now owned by Consolidated Press Company. All trace of the once mighty sheep station has all but gone....except for the shed ...it has not seen a sheep dragged across it's dusty board for a number of years ..but it is maintained to preserve history so that future generations can see how Australia was once built on the sheep's back.
Until next time