Japanese visitors to Braidwood enjoyed the spectacle of shearing at Yasmar on Monday morning.
The group had been in Canberra this weekend competing in the Friendship Cup with the organisation Sailability. Sailability is a worldwide non for profit volunteer run organisation that aims to get people of all abilities sailing. Terry Peek the Vice Chairman of Sailability ACT says of the Canberra group that it is for all people rather than just disabled people, saying “in Canberra our philosophy is: you want to go sailing, let’s go sailing.”
The group uses specially designed boats, with lead-weighted centreboards. Mr Peek says this means that “the chance of capsizing or spilling over is fairly remote.”
The two groups are sister organisation, with the Japanese organisation modeled on the ACT’s Sailability. Mr Peek says that when in 1998 the Japanese were looking at what was happening in other countries “they came to Canberra, they saw the way we operated, our attitude and philosophy and they said ‘we like that’, so from that time onwards they’ve based their development on us.”
The group of 44 from Hiroshima had competed in the Friendship Cup on Lake Tuggeranong on Sunday. Mr Peek says that as well as fostering ties of friendship between the two groups, the cup is a great opportunity for the Japanese sailors to experience Australian culture. He said that, “for a lot of these people because of their disabilities, they’ll never get out to travel.” The first thing they did with the group was to take the group sailing around Sydney Harbour.
Mr Peek says he wanted to show the group sheering because as a cultural experience “a lot of people in Japan… have never seen a sheep shorn” and “it’s something that’s uniquely Australian.” He added that the experience was quintessential element of Australian culture saying that up until at least the 1920s “this country was built on the sheep’s back,” and that it gave the group the opportunity to see “something that’s different.”
Phil Shoemark demonstrated the shearing, which was rounded off by another Australian cultural experience, a sausage in bread.
More information at: sailability.org
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