One-armed shearer Josh Talbot impresses everyone on Kangaroo Island

South Australian shearer Josh Talbot may have lost an arm but that has not stopped him pursuing a career in shearing.

He is now regular in Kangaroo Island shearing sheds, working as part of a shearing contract team based on Burra that heads over to the Island about four times a year.

He has been asked to speak at the Kangaroo Island Shearing Hall of Fame 2019 induction lunch at the Parndana Hotel on Sunday, December 8.

Mr Talbot, now 28 years old, lost his arm in a car accident driving home to Jamestown in the Mid North at age 16, not long after he received his P Plates.

One-armed shearer in action

He first started shearing at age 13 with his brother-in-law back in Jamestown working in the sheds during school holidays and weekends.

Then his accident happened, but only two weeks after being back home, he picked up the shears and started having a go.

Even while he was still in hospital, his brother-in-law started trying to shear with one arm so he could help Mr Talbot get back into it.

His return to shearing is all the more remarkable given he used to be right-handed and he lost his right arm.

"I would have now sheared many more sheep with this arm than my old arm," he said. "You have your good days but I've had a lot of rough days.

"If you have it in your mind that you want to do it and you stick with it, then you are half-way there. I've had a lot of help from a lot of good people along the way."

Farmers and shearing crew on Kangaroo Island have been blown away by his tenacity and abilities in the shed. The use of his legs is key to grip the sheep while he shears.

Mr Talbot now works full time for TMT Shearing out of Burra and enjoys travelling around SA.

His latest stint on KI is working for Ron Hams Jnr at his Warrawee farm at Seddon on the south coast, where 5200 merinos are being shorn over two weeks.

Mr Hams himself has a lifetime of experience with sheep and shearing around Australia, even a brief stint in the USA, and said he has never seen anything like it.

Experienced shearers such as John Vigar were amazed at what the young man could do with only one arm, he said.

"There's nobody like him anywhere that I know of and he is an amazing story," Mr Hams said.

"He's got a huge, big heart and just wants to do it, where most people after an accident like that would just give up."

Mr Talbot said it has been a long hard road back to shearing and he could not have done it without the support of his family and colleagues.

In particular, he paid tribute to his fellow Jamestown shearer Paka Mataha, who also works for TMT Shearing.

"He's been there for me every day," he said. "If I've got any troubles, I just go and ask him."

He said he loved visiting Kangaroo Island and it was a great honour to be asked to speak at the Hall of Fame, although he was not quite sure exactly what he was going to say.

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