Ralph Sartori’s life in the shed

Ralph Sartori clocks up a lifetime of memories in a single shed


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After shearing on the one stand for 52 years, Strangways wool man, shearer and roustabout, Ralph Sartori, continues to clock up the hours and has now notched up 60 years in the one shed.

After shearing on the one stand for 52 years, Strangways wool man, shearer and roustabout, Ralph Sartori, continues to clock up the hours and has now notched up 60 years in the one shed.

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FAMILY: Adrian Sartori and his father Ralph Sartori with the Ebery family - Tika, Rob Ebery with Marlowe, Elwood, Dawson and Nick Ebery recognising Ralph's 60 years of working in the shed.

FAMILY: Adrian Sartori and his father Ralph Sartori with the Ebery family - Tika, Rob Ebery with Marlowe, Elwood, Dawson and Nick Ebery recognising Ralph's 60 years of working in the shed.

He began working in the Ebery family shed near Newstead in 1958 with Frank Ebery, then the late Bill Ebery, and now with Rob and son Nick.

Ralph shore at the shed, on the same stand, for 52 years before relinquishing the shearing and has worked the last eight years on the board as a roustabout. 

Ralph is “one of the family and even shares my birthday”, Rob Ebery said.

Mr Ebery said he had worked in the shed with Ralph for 45 years.

He said there had always been plenty of fun in the shed during shearing. Shearers of the past included Wayne Dodson, Lewis McPherson, Bill Harrington, Noel Culvenor and Ian Bright – “but Ralph was always the sensible one”, Mr Ebery said.

Mr Ebery said Ralph loved his Merino sheep and would sometimes sit and talk about sheep.

Ralph said he had started shearing at 15 years old in about 1954 and got a start at the Ebery shed in 1958 when electric machines came in and the shed needed a third shearer.

Back then he had a run that started at nearby Plaistow in August and went until Christmas.

He said wide combs, raised boards and the new shearing plants had all been huge advancements in the industry.

He has great memories of Bill Ebery, a former parliamentarian and noted footballer and coach.

He said the Eberys had been “good for him and I’ve been good for them”.

Today, coming to the shed was “good fun and I like the company”, he said.

Ralph and his son Adrian (the classer) operated a farm at Strangways where Ralph still worked about the place.

“You never learn anything staying at home,” he said.

Ralph said wool had changed greatly over the years and was now much softer and removed a bit of the wrinkle – while still cutting well.

“As a shearer you get to learn about sheep. You learn what you like and what you don’t like,” he said.

Son, Adrian Sartori, said their’s was “a typical father/son relationship”. “He brings 60 years of experience – that doesn’t just come.”

He said the Ebery shed was the only one they worked now – “it’s more for the sentimental reasons”.

Current shearer Kane “Tex” Mortlock, said he had shorn with Ralph for a number of years.

He, along with fellow shearer Jason O’Shea, also shear the Satori flock. “We work with him and for him,” he said.

“He (Ralph) is a tough bugger.”

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