As published in the Border Watch.
Written by Brooke Littlewood.
Photo: Thank Ewe: Congolese migrants Esther Mbuyu, Mery Masika and Joseph Kambale thanked Glencoe farmers Ruth (pictured) and Dale Price for providing them with the opportunity to get up close to their livestock and witness a shearing demonstration.
Migrants explore life on the land
Glencoe farm opens gates to some of Limestone Coast’s newest arrivals
The event was planned by the Mount Gambier Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) and Centacare in partnership with the National Trust of South Australia Glencoe branch.
Australian MRC Mount Gambier manager Anelia Blackie said the family fun-day also offered migrants an insight into work roles available in the wool industry.
“It is not something that is familiar to them in their own countries and it is possibly something they might be interested in pursuing as a career,” she said.
“As far as I know there are no refugees employed as sheep shearers and I want to introduce them to a new opportunity they are not familiar with.
“You cannot just ask migrants, are you interested in sheep shearing?
“They do not know what you are talking about, they need to see it and I thought a practical demonstration would be a great way to do so.”
The group, as young as four months and as old as 70 years, were given the opportunity to witness a sheep shearing demonstration firsthand and were presented information about the work roles available in the wool industry.
They also were given a tour of the historical Glencoe Woolshed and learned of the past practices of woolshed workings. Ms Blackie said while many of the refugees came from regional areas and farming communities, they were not familiar with sheep shearing and this was the first-time they had seen the practice.
“In Burma and Congo I do not think they work with sheep shearing or produce wool,” she said.
“They only use sheep for meat.
“The refugees are from regional areas and farming communities, mostly planting, which is why they come to regional South Australia.”
Ms Blackie added it was also the first time the MRC had organised a demonstration for the refugees and, depending on its success, it would look to expand the program further.
The MRC helps migrants to be “work-ready” through workshops and sessions, which provide information on tax, superannuation, pay slips and casual, full-time and part-time work.
“The sessions are important because every country is different and some of the migrants have never worked before because they have been in refugee camps for a number of years.”
Dale and Ruth Price said they fully supported the sheep shearing demonstration, adding it was a great opportunity for the migrants for a number of reasons.
“It builds understanding of what agriculture is all about in Australia,” Mr Price said.
“There are also career opportunities.
“If we can get local people interested in working then that is fantastic.
“From what I can see most migrants are genuine, hardworking and have serious aspirations in terms of trying to create a future for themselves.”
Following the demonstration and tour of the Woolshed a number of migrants asked questions and expressed interest in working in the sheep shearing industry.
To finish the group enjoyed an “Aussie” lunch, which included a sausage sizzle and other popular Australian treats.