Pursuing a life on the land

Young man has his sights set on the bush.

Young man has his sights set on the bush.

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Gisborne's Jeremy Parker is home for the holidays from South Australia where he works as a junior shearer. His move into farming as a 16-year-old has "turned his life around". Focus on the Land caught up with him for a coffee outside Snackisfaction Cafe in Lowe Street. Picture by Liam Clayton
WOOL CLIP: He spent some time on Rawlinna Station in Western Australia where the wool clip amounted to 1651 bales. He's pictured at left with a workmate. The yards outside the woolshed were packed with Merinos. Pictures supplied.
DINGO BAITS: The wild dogs in and around Rawlinna Station are controlled with 1080 poison baits, seen here laid out before dispersal around the property and its 950-kilometre-long boundaries. Picture supplied

YOUNG ex-Gisborne “townie” Jeremy Parker credits farming for his transformation from shy teen and early school leaver to a more confident individual determined to pursue a life on the land.

The 20-year-old, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, has been home for Christmas from where he works in South Australia as a shearer. He is the son of Darren and Marylou Parker of Gisborne.

“Farming has changed my life around and the change in me has been massive,” he said.

Jeremy left school as a 16-year-old and spent a year completing the EIT agriculture course.

“I didn’t enjoy school much and wanted to go out working and I had decided that being a ‘townie’ was not for me. I got a taste for farming when I was younger, working during the holidays on my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm at Rotorua.”

During his EIT course he worked the holidays at Mangaheia Station at Tolaga Bay and after he finished the polytech course he went as a junior shepherd to Tangihau Station at Rere for 15 months.

“I went to the job interview from Mangaheia to Tangihau on a 50cc scooter. It was a long ride there and back.”

Jeremy decided to cross the ditch after that and worked as a jackaroo on the 2.5 million acre Rawlinna Station in Western Australia.

“Rawlinna runs 65,000 head of Merinos within its 950-kilometre perimeter.

“It’s a huge property on the edge of the Nullabor Plain. From the highway to the homestead is 200 kilometres,” Jeremy said.

“I started out working as a general hand on Rawlinna and then went shearing for four months in South Australia. I liked it so I completed a shearing course and now work as a junior shearer for contractor George Wilson in South Australia.”

80-100 head a day

So far he is up to 80-100 head of Merinos a day.

Jeremy described himself as “very shy” when he was younger and said that was why he did not do so well at school.

“But since I started in farming I think I’ve blossomed. It’s built my confidence up so much and I’m a lot happier because of it.

“Now I can talk to people so much easier. The farming life has also taught me a good attitude to hard work. The job is not done each day until the animals are fed and watered.”

He works 12 days out of 14, with every other weekend off.

“Six months of the year we are out on the ‘swag’, working out in the bush and camping out, living out of a camp kitchen. It’s awesome.”

It is harsh country.

“Heaps of saltbush scrub and trees, rocks and not a lot of green country. But it’s so different to a life in a town, and while it’s good to come to town and meet people you know, the bush is a different world and I like it.”

Jeremy plans to keep shearing for perhaps the next 10 years and probably mostly in Australia.

“That will probably be long enough and I expect I will come back here then, start up a team of dogs, and go shepherding.

“It’s my dream to one day be a station manager, but right now I want to keep building my experience and confidence and learning new skills. Farming is definitely the life for me,” he said.

“It has given me a sense of who I am.”

Jeremy enjoyed the final night of R&V and heads back to work in South Australia on Tuesday.

YOUNG ex-Gisborne “townie” Jeremy Parker credits farming for his transformation from shy teen and early school leaver to a more confident individual determined to pursue a life on the land.

The 20-year-old, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, has been home for Christmas from where he works in South Australia as a shearer. He is the son of Darren and Marylou Parker of Gisborne.

“Farming has changed my life around and the change in me has been massive,” he said.

Jeremy left school as a 16-year-old and spent a year completing the EIT agriculture course.

“I didn’t enjoy school much and wanted to go out working and I had decided that being a ‘townie’ was not for me. I got a taste for farming when I was younger, working during the holidays on my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm at Rotorua.”

During his EIT course he worked the holidays at Mangaheia Station at Tolaga Bay and after he finished the polytech course he went as a junior shepherd to Tangihau Station at Rere for 15 months.

“I went to the job interview from Mangaheia to Tangihau on a 50cc scooter. It was a long ride there and back.”

Jeremy decided to cross the ditch after that and worked as a jackaroo on the 2.5 million acre Rawlinna Station in Western Australia.

“Rawlinna runs 65,000 head of Merinos within its 950-kilometre perimeter.

“It’s a huge property on the edge of the Nullabor Plain. From the highway to the homestead is 200 kilometres,” Jeremy said.

“I started out working as a general hand on Rawlinna and then went shearing for four months in South Australia. I liked it so I completed a shearing course and now work as a junior shearer for contractor George Wilson in South Australia.”

80-100 head a day

So far he is up to 80-100 head of Merinos a day.

Jeremy described himself as “very shy” when he was younger and said that was why he did not do so well at school.

“But since I started in farming I think I’ve blossomed. It’s built my confidence up so much and I’m a lot happier because of it.

“Now I can talk to people so much easier. The farming life has also taught me a good attitude to hard work. The job is not done each day until the animals are fed and watered.”

He works 12 days out of 14, with every other weekend off.

“Six months of the year we are out on the ‘swag’, working out in the bush and camping out, living out of a camp kitchen. It’s awesome.”

It is harsh country.

“Heaps of saltbush scrub and trees, rocks and not a lot of green country. But it’s so different to a life in a town, and while it’s good to come to town and meet people you know, the bush is a different world and I like it.”

Jeremy plans to keep shearing for perhaps the next 10 years and probably mostly in Australia.

“That will probably be long enough and I expect I will come back here then, start up a team of dogs, and go shepherding.

“It’s my dream to one day be a station manager, but right now I want to keep building my experience and confidence and learning new skills. Farming is definitely the life for me,” he said.

“It has given me a sense of who I am.”

Jeremy enjoyed the final night of R&V and heads back to work in South Australia on Tuesday.

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