Fireman's tangible connection to his country home

BLADES MOVE QUICK: Shane Cartwright in action at Steeles’ shearing shed.
BLADES MOVE QUICK: Shane Cartwright in action at Steeles’ shearing shed. Toni Somes

WHEN you sell your sheep property, offload the gear through a clearing sale and shift 700km east, you realistically expect to leave that life behind.

Former shearer turned Warwick fireman Shane Cartwright did just that about eight years ago.

So the last thing he expected to find when he turned up at the property of Brad and Gail Steele in the Pikedale region for a casual shearing job, was his old shearing plant.

But there it was, with Mayfield - the name of his old family property - and the initials SC marked on the side.

And to make things more interesting Brad, who had also worked in western Queensland for a time, had actually bought the plant locally.

"I bought the plant from a bloke called Kevin," Brad explained.

"And I really didn't have any idea where it came from; I just knew I needed some gear."

For Shane, it was one of those nostalgic reminders of his time out along the Paroo.

His family owned two properties, totalling more than 48,600ha (120,000ac), between Charleville and Quilpie.

They made the decision to wind up the family partnership in 2004 and Shane and his young family shifted to Warwick.

These days he divides his time between being a fireman and casual shearing.

"I used to work with sheep 365 days a year. But these days it's very casual, just to keep my hand in."

Topics:  rural lifestyle shearer

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