On the land

Life on the land was tough as these photographs of men working with sheep, cutting timber or harvesting sugar cane show. The success of the wool clip depended on a host of operations performed by a great number of workers whose activities centred round the shearing shed. Cutting and loading cane was tough, dirty and strenuous; out in the open in all weathers, contending with vermin and disease. Cutters generally worked in gangs of six to eight, for between 40 and 44 hours a week. Cane cutting gangs were paid by the ton and every man in the gang had to keep up the pace or be forced to leave.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s the bulk of the timber used was produced by splitting and hewing. Sawing was slow, hard manual labour. Logs and sawn timber were transported using the 'power of the muscle' - either man or bullock and, later, horse. In Australia's pioneering days heavy loads were hauled by horse, bullock and even camel teams. Outback stations were often inaccessible to wheeled vehicles so camels, being sturdier than horses or bullocks and not requiring an established track to follow, were often the preferred means of transport.