Around the Sheds

around_the_sheds

The subtitle for this sequel to last year's bestseller, Woolsheds, says it all: life in and around the woolsheds.  

There's no denying that Australia is still predominantly a country of farmland and grazing country. Woolsheds are central to the wool industry and shearers have worked in them for decades, sweating over the heavy struggling sheep as they removed the valuable creamy fleeces.

Andrew Chapman touched the national interest with his first book and this next one seems set to do the same. There's something for everyone, here. City folk have a curiosity about these icons of agriculture, and rural people understand them. Best of all Chapman has taken his camera and his artistic eye to every state, creating a visual social history of both the architecture and the industry. 

But the human interest is there too as he records stories from farmers old and young, and shares it with his readers. 

What is also inescapable is his respect for the country and the people who farm it or work with the farmers on it. Readers will meet the farm dogs, see eccentric collections accumulated over years, and rusting car bodies in the paddock. But most of all the focus is on the sheep, the shearers - and, of course, the sheds.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

Around the Sheds, by Andrew Chapman, published by The Five Mile Press, 2012, hardcover, illustrated, ISBN 9781743 460047, rrp A$39.95.

 

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