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Wednesday, 11 March  2009  Jackaroo School

Visit a jackaroo school that's based on a large sheep property. The students come and learn the jobs that are involved in running the farm all year round.

SEAN MURPHY: Egelabra Station runs more than 40,000 sheep and 3,000 cattle across 55,000 hectares of prime grazing country near Warren on the western plains of New South Wales. Throw in up to 10,000 hectares under cultivation and it's easy to see why the operation relies heavily on well-trained, reliable jackaroos.

GEOFF BASTION: Just hold your saw up at about that angle, full revs and let the saw drop into the log. Then we're going to get the spikes, or dogs, on the side of the saw to grip into the log.

SEAN MURPHY: Egelabra's success in training jackaroos owes much to its relationship with the Dubbo-based Western Institute of TAFE, which pioneered an on-farm training program here, featuring skills such as safe chainsaw operation, small mechanics, fencing, and livestock management.

GEOFF BASTION: We established this program about eight years ago and ran it as a pilot for one year, which was very successful and it has continued here at Egelabra ever since, but we've continued that with other major pastoral companies and merino studs across New South Wales.

CAM MUNRO: First of all, you just want to check its mouth. Eating is most important. If you can't eat, the production of sheep level drops off immensely.

SEAN MURPHY: Cam Munro is Egelabra's general manager and a keen participant in the TAFE training process.

CAM MUNRO: So once we're coming to the wool, we're looking for things such as staple length, we're looking for definition of crimp.

SEAN MURPHY: All the Egelabra boys learn the basics of shearing from teachers such as Frank Roberts. He is one of 16 TAFE shearing teachers who provide on-farm training from novice level up to experienced shearers handling 150 sheep a day.

CAM MUNRO: They're learning as they go. They can take it back to their properties and, you know, we're getting the job done at the same time. So, there is that sort of win-win situation for both employee and employer.

It's all about attitude, and if they've got the right attitude, you're home and hosed with them. If they like being here and they make mates that's what really makes it. So just seeing them progress, it's pretty rewarding.

SEAN MURPHY: 19-year-old Ryan Watson joined the program early last year after finishing high school in Sydney. He had very little prior experience.
And what is it you like most of all about being a jackaroo?

RYAN WATSON: Oh, the mates, the social life, working out in the outdoors is probably the best thing. Yeah, wide open spaces, fresh air, I don't think you can get any better than that, coming from the city.

SEAN MURPHY: Mateship is an important ingredient in Egelabra's recipe for success. Living and working together, there is a big emphasis on teamwork.

WILL LUCAS: Oh, well, I just like - you've got all your mates working with you. It's a great lifestyle. You work pretty hard during the day, but at night you can go out and have a bit of fun on the weekends, get involved in the town, play footy, get involved in the other sports in town. Yeah, just a really good lifestyle.

SEAN MURPHY: The Egelabra jackaroos leave with a strong sense of community, but their two-year contract also ends with a basic certificate of agriculture.

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English Bites - Jackaroo School
story notes

A station is a large farm, one that has sheep or cattle.

 throw in
Example: You should throw in a few more quotes to improve the essay.

Jackaroos are farm trainees, people who work helping out on farms.

Dubbo is a town in NSW.

TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. TAFE institutes are training colleges.

on real working stations

Ran is the past tense of the irregular verb run. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: run

 drops off
declines; reduces
Example: The rain is starting to drop off.

 win-win situation
A win-win situation is a situation in which all the people involved benefit.
Example: I let the beekeeper feed his bees on my fruit trees because I get more fruit from better pollination. He gets the honey, so it's a win-win situation.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 home and hosed
Home and hosed means that someone has finished something successfully or is certain to win
Example: If they score another goal they're home and hosed.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

A mate is friend. Mateship is friendship. It's when people are friends and get along well together.

way of living

 sense of community
A community here means a group of people who all live in the same place. Here, a sense of community means a strong feeling for all the people they’ve worked with on the station, and in the surrounding areas.

 certificate of agriculture
A certificate of agriculture is a formal qualification that recognises the skills they’ve learnt.

What's the past tense of run?

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