Rouseabouts work to remove the shorn wool from the shearer’s work space.
The first wool to be removed from each sheep is the stained and matted wool of the belly. The shearer pushes it to one side and the rouseabout picks it up, removes dags (faecal matter) from the wool, and throws the wool into a waiting wool pack.
The rest of the fleece is shorn so it remains in one piece, to be gathered together and picked up by the rouseabout, taken to the wool table and thrown out so it spreads open and unfolded on the table.
Here it is ‘skirted‘: the dirty fragments, which would have been on the underside of the sheep, are removed, along with the thin and dusty wool of the shoulders. The remaining fleece is then placed in a bin of similar fleeces at the classer’s direction. In the meantime, another rouseabout sweeps the fragments of wool or ‘locks’ from the board (floor) and collects them for placing in a separate bale for later pressing.
While the shearer works hard, so too does the rouseabout, for there is little time to pause as fleece follows fleece on the board. Speed is of the essence to avoid abuse from both shearer and classer.