Kangaroo Island Shearing Hall of Fame inducts newest members

The Kangaroo Island Shearing Hall of Fame Committee held its 14th annual induction ceremony at the Parndana Hotel on Sunday, December 2.

Ron Hams and Kerry Brinkley are the latest inductees and stories were told about their long and illustrious shearing careers. 

Committee president Sean Gaskin oversaw the proceedings that started with guest speaker Deputy Premier and Attorney General Vickie Chapman, whose father Ted is in the hall of fame.

“Shearing has been big part of my family’s life and I’ve unsuccessfully tried to make shearing a participatory sport in the Olympic Games,” Ms Chapman said. “Not only is it an incredibly proud profession, it’s an incredible skill.”

She spoke about changes in the industry from the Riot Act in 1972 to the arrival of New Zealanders and the wide comb. She brought with her father’s cheque book from 1959 that proved just how many sheep Ron shore in one day.

“I’m very pleased to see Kerry and Ron join the kaleidoscope of characters up there,” she said.

Mr Gaskin then introduced Graham Smith, who nominated Mr Brinkley and who spoke about the shearer’s career. He then called up Richard Trethewey, who while not able to attend, spoke to the crowd over the phone.

Speaking about Mr Hams career were graziers Kingsley Pledge, George Barrett and Mike Bald, who over the years had employed him.

Mr Gaskin started the KI Hall of Fame when he was managing the pub 14 years ago and now it had grown to 31 inductees.

“We’ve got three or four guys waiting to be inducted and few more we are looking at and we would like people to nominate shearers,” he said.

The criteria is inductees must have worked in the shearing industry for at least 20 years on Kangaroo Island.

Shearing was still a great profession for young people, who could potentially earn $2000 a week. And when the shearing season ended on KI, young shearers could now travel the world shearing flocks on many continents.

“There is a lack of shearers and we would love more young people to come on through,” Mr Gaskin said.

Getting started on KI with local mentors was definitely a possibility, but these days there were several shearing schools on the mainland where young people could learn from the experts, he said.

Read more about two men’s careers here: