Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Click Go The Shears Boys!

Since receiving this month's copy of SA Life, I haven't been able to stop looking at this image. I defy anyone who's spent any time at all in Aussie shearing sheds not to be spell-bound. The familiar aroma came flooding back to me - a heady mixture of lanolin from the thousands of freshly clipped fleeces tossed onto the wooden floor, the buckets of perspiration dripped from the shearers & the rich, overpowering scent of the oil used to grease the mechanics of the shears. Just breath in deeply & I promise your senses will be spinning!

The shed sits on the Adelaide Hills property of Sue Tweddell. She & her late husband Ed purchased the 1840's property 11 years ago originally as offices for their Nepenthe wine business. The cottage was derelict, but as the restoration process moved on, Sue realised she wanted to make the property into a private family retreat. Following the sale of Nepenthe & Ed's sad & untimely death 3 years ago, Sue has spent considerable time here & finds it a wonderful place to entertain guests informally. She still keeps her town-home in Adelaide, but just a few minutes up the Freeway, the magical properties of Gumbank await her.

Sue is a great supporter of the South Australian arts. The formal dining room provides a perfect back-drop for one of her beautiful pieces.

The downstairs living room features neutral tones, with a botanical theme. The antique wood duck decoys came from the U.S.

Sue didn't want to continue the neutral theme here in the winter sitting room, so she used a strong crimson colour give the room warmth & vitality.

Sitting perfectly in one of the old windows is this antique dressmaker's mannequin.

The small eat-in kitchen which Sue uses for informal candlelit dinners for friends & family. It was originally the cottage's pantry.

These West African wooden soldiers which Sue found here in South Australia line the corridor to the new bathroom.

The upstairs sitting room has sweeping views across the property's gardens.

Sue's used a mixture of antique Australian, European & Scandinavian pieces to lend an warm & inviting ambiance to her cottage.

The back verandah provides a dry spot for winter firewood.

The wide, shady verandahs are typical for an Aussie cottage of this vintage.

Images SA Life & Peter Hoare


  1. Beautiful post! I spent every May holidays as a child with my family staying in shearers quarters in country NSW. Like you I can smell the sheds so distinctly. At one time I had hoped to use a wool classing table (with a glass top put on to it) as a dining room table. Was never able to source one sadly. Thank you for stirring up special memories.

  2. I love Nepenthe's sauvignon blanc, so thanks for a little bit of history behind the wine.
    Great friends of my parents owned Emeroo Station near Port Augusta when I was a kid and now ever I smell freshly-shorn wool it takes me back there every time.

  3. I think I'm in love! How wonderful it would be to have dinner at that beautiful table in that wonderful room! What a heavenly place to live .... mmmmm

  4. I grew up on sheep farms, and have fond memories of wool bales twice our size lined up from one end of the shed to the other.
    We used to run along the top of them and hide when the grown ups came to tell us off for knocking them over....great fun!

  5. The shearing shed shots Millie....I don't need to write a word I suspect you understand, except to say that I have a massive dose of homesickness looking at them...
    Thank you for the lily comment and one day you never know I might be in your beautiful Adelaide Hills and take you up on that lovely thought. Fingers crossed, xv.

  6. I love that painting in the dining room. The colours are magnificent.

    That shearers shed would make a great shop, bedroom.....
    Ness xx

  7. A wonderful post Millie! I grew up on a farm and have very fond memories of our big shed and beautiful old Queenslander cottage. Amanda x

  8. There is so much atmosphere in shearing sheds..we were recently at Parachilna in SA & visited some beautiful old shearing sheds, lovely old hand made baskets, my hubby was amused I was taking photos of old baskets! one of my artists won a $20,000 first prize in a Rotary show of the "inside of a shearing shed" painting,it was devine. Stunning images, thanks so much Millie. from Janet

  9. Millie - thank you for so deftly transporting me back to my country childhood. I was a townie but had friends who had a sheep farm & I remember their shearing sheds with great fondness.

    BTW, I loved the way you described the sheds; you certainly have a wonderful way with words.

    Lee :)

  10. I love the photographs of the old stables! So rustic and weathered!

  11. Beautiful post Millie - nothing better than the smell of a shearing shed, seriously. Haven't seen this issue yet - must get. Ed's death was a great shock, especially to my friend who nannied (spelling?) their grandchildren for many years while we studied. Their daughter's home just outside of Hahndorf which she has since sold was heaven sent as well, my favourite? the paintings they commissioned David Bromley to do of their girls. I had to literally had to stop myself drooling when I visited x


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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