"In 1938, before all the stop banks that are now there were built, a devastating flood came through like a wall of water, killing 6000 sheep."

History unfolds in living color and informative detail as the author takes readers on a tour of historically significant woolsheds in and around the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand. For over a century, sheep farming was the country’s most important agricultural industry. While it’s exceeded today by dairy farming, the wool business remains a key part of that nation’s economy, and its history of rolling lands, colorful characters, and picturesque sheds recall a time when sheep were sheared by the hands of individuals who were more than a match for the rugged environment and the hardships they faced.

Gordon mandated that the sheds highlighted in his book must be at least one hundred years old. That enabled him to highlight a booming period of the industry as well as a time when a number of the early farming estates were being subdivided, creating both new properties and additional sheds. Full-color photography captures what many of the sheds look like today, but there’s also a wealth of period pictures from the 1800s, giving readers insights into the roughhewn workplaces and the even rougher people who toiled within them.

The author has also done an exceptional job of delineating the changing ownerships of the highlighted sheds. Readers not only see what the historic buildings have become, they also get an annotated journey of those who kept them going from one decade to the next. From Akitio to Cape Kidnappers to Porangahau and many, many more, Gordon has compiled an edifying tribute to the farms and farmers that helped build an industry and a nation.

Return to USR Home