Thank you to Berkley and Mariella for this story
Hi, I am Berkley, I live in a caravan and travel around Australia. This means my life is a little different to most… We own a house in SA and occasionally stay there, but for the majority of the time, were out and about all over Australia.
Since the beginning of this year, we have travelled from eastern Ballarat to South WA, and all over the southernmost parts of Australia. The reason for our travels is because our mum is a wool classer.
So her job is to: efficiently runs the shed alongside with all shearers and shed hands. The classer (mum) maximises profits by sorting wool types into appropriate groups. She also assists the presser with pressing, weighing and branding the bales. But basically she runs the shed.
Each shed can vary between 40,000 to 2,000 sheep. Some of these sheds can go for up weeks so we spend a lot of time at one shed before we move to another. We have to travel because a shed only lasts a few weeks and they are all quite spread out over Australia.
Whilst mum works we occupy ourselves by helping her in the shed, doing our OAC lessons, playing games and helping the farmer.
Where have we been
Through-out our travelling experiences, we have gone quite far and wide. At the beginning of the year we mostly worked near home, Karoonda(SA), and around Ballarat(VIC). But for the last two months, we have been in and around Esperance and Albany(WA).
Unfortunately this means that the time zones were a bit different. We were quite happy with time changes at first because it meant that we gained 2:30 hours, but it also turned out that our OAC lessons were 2:30 hours earlier. Some of us had to get up at 6:00am to have breakfast and get ready for a 6:30am lesson.
Whilst in WA we have been working for a contractor named David, but we call him a boss man. He tells us where the shed is, how many sheep and who the staff are.
Is it isolating? Friends we make/culture/people
I have been asked before if I find working all over the place lonely. And to many people's surprise, they are quite wrong. We live in a caravan, which is big for most caravans, but is small compared to a house and as I am one of six (but only one of four when travelling) life is never lonely.
We work at many sheds meeting many new farmers and the farmer’s family. On many occasions, we have met kids our age who love to work, play and socialize just like us. We create many new games together and play fun sports all the time.
Through our adventures, we have met more people than we can count and so we never lack social interaction. This makes the weekend relaxing as we can rest with just the family and wait for Monday to come.
We joined OAC because it has allowed me to have a more flexible lifestyle while travelling. At the moment I have 7 lessons, and they take up ¾ hours each. This is around 5 ½ hours of actual school and then around 5 hours of homework.
As the school has been really early and I do my homework pretty late, I have all day to myself. This time I have been working with mum in the shed. OAC has allowed me to utilize my time more efficiently. Also unlike normal schooling, I can be anywhere in Australia ( as long as it has a signal ). This is the main reason for being with OAC.
In our spare time/ holidays/beaches/road trips/animals
When it's not school and work we all love to go to all the beaches in the area. As our work normally is quite near the sea we frequently visit. I love spending this time together at beaches or nearby attractions, seeing as much of Australia as possible, because most of the time we are new to the area. We have got many memories of stunning beaches and pictures of places, but not all can be remembered and here are a few.
Sights new Animals
Aussie bight: Octopus
Betty beach: Seal
90 mile straight: Stingray
Port Augusta: Bald eagle
York peninsula: Malleefowl
Nullarbor: Dingo (howling)
Flinders ranges: Dolphins (surfing)
Dundas nature reserve: Red Belly black snake
Samons beach: Yabbies
also, Many painted Silos
The brig amity (old famous ship)
Cargo ships with thousands of shipping containers aboard
My job is “peneruper” or “sheepo” as we call it. I work behind the shed with the sheep. I have to continuously keep pushing the sheep from a big pen with lots of sheep into a smaller pen, this is so the sheerer doesn't have to catch and drag the sheep far.
To put it simply I cant let the “catching pen” run out of sheep. I would say I am pretty good at this job as I can do it even at my age. But it isnt easy, sheep are a nightmare and can be extremely dumb, Yet I still manage. The biggest shed I have worked at was a 6 stand (which means 6 shearers can shear at once) and I coped fine and was paid $500 per week. OAC has allowed me to work without missing schooling.
I love my traveling life. We see Australia and travel all the time, I meet new people and see new places, while never missing a beat with school. Traveling has allowed me to work and learn and I think everyone should live how we do.