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Australia Literature and Language

What do Australians call a sheepherder?

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October 22, 2012 1:29AM

Someone who musters (rounds up) the sheep is usually not distinguished from those who round up cattle. They are generally called jackaroos or, if driving the animals over long distances, they are known as drovers.

Someone who owns a large station with thousands of head of sheep is simply a sheep station owner.

This is not strictly true. In the old days people were actually employed to camp out with the sheep to guard them from dingoes and theft. They were called shepherds. As dingoes were more controlled and the Aboriginals (who resented the intrusion of the sheep) were decimated, this practice ceased and the word fell out of use.

The description of a drover is correct but a jackaroo (or if a woman a jillaroo) is actually someone who is learning the ropes so that he or she can eventually become a manager. The people who do the day-to-day work on a large grazing property ( a station) are known as station hands, while workers on smaller properties are called farmhands.