After decades in the shearing industry, Riverina contractor Peter O'Brien is retiring, paving the way for another young gun to take over the successful business.
At 86 years of age, Mr O'Brien has shorn thousands of sheep, travelled many miles, eaten numerous meals from shearing team cooks and seen changes in the industry, but it all started growing up on a farm at Coolamon.
"There were 10 in my family, and we all had to go to work," he said.
Mr O'Brien left school at 14 years and eight months and worked for his father on the farm before working for others, including a farmer at Wagga Wagga in 1967.
"I learnt to shear when I was about 20," he said.
"You taught yourself in those days."
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After shearing for a few contractors in the Wagga Wagga area, Mr O'Brien said he started working for Stan Henwood, Henwood Pastoral Co.
"I used to shear with a guy called Greg George. He had a run and wanted out of it, so I took it over from him in about 1974," he said.
"I started really contracting in 1976."
And he has not looked back since building up relationships with wool producers and has gone as far as Wilcannia shearing.
Mr O'Brien said he was doing a fair bit of work out west around Booligal and Hillston, including going to one shed at Booligal for 40 years. On these trips, he said he would get bogged in the area before they had bitumen roads.
Mr O'Brien also said how good a shearers' cook was on camp jobs, and he's known several good ones as part of his time.
Over the years, one of the most important things for Mr O'Brien has been able to train the next generation of shearers.
"Kids come with me straight out of school," he said.
"You get kids with you, click with them, and keep them with you."
Mr O'Brien said he used to take kids out west with him and taught them to shear.
"I used to take them out to Yarto, at Booligal, and by the time they came back, they could shear 100, and they were ready to go out and get a pen," he said.
"They've got to have the ability; you can see straight up if they've got the ability and whether they'll stay in the industry."
Mr O'Brien said his top tip for those starting out was to "keep your cool".
"Think of the quality of your work, not the quantity when you're starting off," he said.
"After a while, the speed will come."
And Mr O'Brien said the quality was key to keeping business.
"We do a good job everywhere - the sheep are not cut about, not bashed about or anything like that," he said.
"That's the way we've operated all the time, and that's how you can keep going back. It's taken years and years to build up my run like it is."
While Mr O'Brien said he wasn't much of a gun shearer himself, many of his team have been, and having a good team around him had always been important.
"You wouldn't find much better shearers anywhere," he said.
"You're only as good as the worst man in your side."
Mr O'Brien said another important part of his team was his dogs.
"They're my right hand," he said.
Mr O'Brien said the industry has improved for shearers, including introducing superannuation.
"You've got to stick to the rules with workers comp and super - that's a big difference now, but that's a good thing," he said.
"Blokes go into the industry and go out with nothing, but now super is a good thing for them."
"I've been through strikes and the wide comb dispute. That first strike when I was only 20, they were talking about they were going to make shearers redundant and through the wide comb dispute, they were talking about it too, but they haven't changed it yet."
Mr O'Brien said years ago, there was much more group shearing than the contracting now, with other changes including more women in the sheds.
"Farmers have got to sort of change and cater for women in the industry," he said.
"They've got to change their facilities and do more. A lot of them haven't got toilets and no decent place to sit down and have your meal."
While he has not shorn a sheep himself for about 15 years, Mr O'Brien has been penning sheep and skirting the wool, but after all his years of working in the industry, including once having his leg broken and carried out of the shed, it was time to retire.