Sheep shearing
Photo by Magic Foundry used under a Creative Commons license.

Roger McDonald, Shearers’ Motel (Picador, 1992).
Wrestling with a yearning he is hard put to explain, in1989 McDonald left his family and farm to be the cook for sheep-shearing crews, a position for which his ancient 1-ton truck was a bigger asset than his inexperience counted against him. As the “cookie,” he prepared several meals a day for a half-dozen or more shearers for stints of a week or twoat remote sheep stations across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Shearers are a crusty lot, and his account is full of terrific characters with names like Davo, Quinn, Wade, Bertram Jr., and Louella. Many of them are Kiwis, Maoris come over to a vast, dry, red-rock country to earn a dollar. I just adore this book, and if it’s hard to track down a copy, rest assured that it’s worth it. It won the 1993 Banjo Award for Non-Fiction.

Here is Wikipedia’s page on McDonald. Perry Middlemiss posted the synopsis from the dustjacket and the book’s first paragraphs. In 2003, Libby Robin reviewed Wood: The Asutralian Story; she says it’s not as good as Shearers’ Motel, but her review gives some sense of the Australian wool industry.

Buy it now at If that link no longer works, you might try Boomerang Books or another Australian bookseller.