The clock is ticking on the future of an extensive collection of shearing memorabilia with its owner currently looking for a new home to house the priceless articles.
Trevor Keating arrived in Western Australia in 1968 as a 16-year-old boy eager to work.
A shearer all his life, Mr Keating has collected countless items of memorabilia in his travels, which he has since established as a museum in a shed on Jan Starr’s farm in Jarrahdale.
However, the invaluable collection has a use-by date with Mr Keating faced with the decision to either sell it off as a complete collection, which he would prefer, or split it up and sell it separately.
“I started doing this in 2011, I had cancer at the time and as part of my recovery I started to put together the collection and it just snowballed,” he said.
“The collection is priceless.
“If we can’t find a home for it in the next 12 to 18 months then I will have to start splitting it up.
“It is important to keep it together because if one bloke had this bit and another bloke had a bit and someone else had another bit, people aren’t going to appreciate the whole significance of our shearing history.”
Serpentine Jarrahdale Men’s Shed member Ray Schmidt said he first heard of the collection when the men’s shed was looking to secure a home at the old mill site in Jarrahdale.
“We were located in the old cow shed down the hill and we had plans to build a huge men’s shed and incorporate some sort of a museum in Jarrahdale but the total price was up about the million dollar mark and it just wasn’t feasible,” he said.
“The shire then offered the men’s shed the old scouts building which we are in now but unfortunately Trevor and his collection were left in the lurch.”
The pair are now pleading with the shire, any wealthy benefactors and the local community to find a suitable place within the region to house the collection.
Mr Keating said he would like to see the collection stay together in the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to keep the history and memories alive for the people of WA and beyond.
“But if nothing comes in the next 12 months to find the collection a suitable home, I will have to look further afield,” he said.
If you have any suggestions or can help find a suitable home, call Trevor on 0411 043 792.
Photographs – Richard Polden.