Saving an historic woolshed

Project to restore a significant pastoral history

Wool
Shearing history: Between the Sturt Highway and the Murrumbidgee River, the Toganmain woolshed sits forlorn and waits for restoration. Photo: Darren Ripper

Shearing history: Between the Sturt Highway and the Murrumbidgee River, the Toganmain woolshed sits forlorn and waits for restoration. Photo: Darren Ripper

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Funds are being sought by the Friends of Toganmain to restore and reopen the Toganmain Woolshed Precinct situated between Darlington Point and Carrathool.

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Funds are being sought by the Friends of Toganmain to restore and reopen the Toganmain Woolshed Precinct situated between Darlington Point and Carrathool.

Once a bustling hub of activity the Toganmain shearing shed now sits abandoned, a silent monument to Australian history.

Apparently built in 1875, the Toganmain woolshed is the largest remaining woolshed in the NSW Riverina region, and holds an iconic status in Australian pastoral folklore.

During the period it was the centre of a large pastoral enterprise, the Toganmain woolshed saw more than seven million sheep pass through its doors; in September 1876 a total of 202,292 sheep were shorn by 92 blade shearers.

It is an Australian record and unlikely ever to be beaten.

Even today in it's sad state the woolshed has the power to conjure memories of the great pastoral holdings in the Riverina which occupied Murrumbidgee River frontages.

In his book, The woolshed: a Riverina Anthology, architect Peter Freeman recorded Toganmain as the first shed to shear 100 sheep in one day using the recently developed mechanical shearing handpiece in 1887.

After visiting the Toganmain woolshed in 2014 Grahame Nalder was impressed with its size and history, and instigated the project.

"Toganmain is at the pinnacle of an extraordinary group of historic shearing sheds still standing," he said.

"I think it is important to save this shed, they are an important part of Australia's history and they are disappearing."

Mr Freeman is committed to the restoration of the Toganmain woolshed, a project started five years ago.

"We need to look after our vernacular buildings," he said.

"We have already lost many significant buildings across Australia.

"Our vision is to create a cultural attraction that will educate visitors and preserve that piece of history for generations to come."

Mr Freeman said the restoration will provide the local community and the wider heritage tourism sector with access to an iconic Australian shearing shed, bringing to life the communities they supported and its relationships to local communities, Indigenous culture and the natural environment.

The vision for the site is an immersive curated museum that will use recorded oral shearers stories, written accounts and interpretative signage, to bring to life Australia's vital pastoral history in an environment which stimulates all the senses.

The crowd funding campaign has been launched on GoFundMe and will offer supporters pledge rewards, including stunning contemporary and historic images of the precinct and its buildings, and a 'Celebration at Sunset' launch event.

Funds are already pledged with a target of $25,000 set and gold supporters will experience an exclusive tour of the woolshed guided by historians and woolshed experts.

https://www.gofundme.com/friends-of-toganmain-woolshed-precinct

The story Saving an historic woolshed first appeared on The Land.

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