New marketing push for book “Mateship and Moneymaking” relates history behind Australia’s wide comb shearing dispute

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Rory O’Malley presents his research, analysis to offer better understanding of mateship’s strengths, weaknesses

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DUNEDIN, New Zealand – In the 1990s, author Rory O'Malley became interested in Australian history, more or less as a hobby, and stumbled on the Wide Comb Shearing Dispute. “It was hard to understand why the width of the shearing combs on the machine could arouse such passions and hatred,” said O’Malley. “I found that I had to delve into the largely forgotten history of shearing through the 20th century to find answers.” His book “Mateship and Moneymaking” (published by Xlibris AU), shares the fruits of this research.

A brief summary on the origins of the dispute is as follows:
Shearing in Australia was dominated by the Australian Workers Union, which forged its powerful position as the result of a series of violent strikes in the late-1890s. The union developed a mythology of solidarity, which amounted to “class war” with sheep owners, who were painted as large and ruthless landowners (“squatters” in the Australian vernacular). The reality was somewhat different as properties and sheep flocks became smaller. Many shearers were self-improving individualists who did not buy into the “great union” myth. The union was aware of this and straddled the ideological impasse with a mixture of pragmatic cooperation with the graziers and belligerent rhetoric. As the 20th century wore on, this became more and more untenable and the moneymakers rebelled against union control in the 1980s.

O’Malley saw the whole thing as a most interesting event that seemed quite out of place in the 1980s, when it took place. The involvement of New Zealand shearers in conflict with Australians was his initial point of interest, but things soon proved to be more complicated. He saw that there was a lot of lost history that no one had bothered to unravel or interpret. It proved to be an ideal vehicle to explore the impact of the economic transformation which began in the 1980s.

In reading “Mateship and Moneymaking,” O’Malley wants his readers to gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of “mateship” and what is often seen as Australian’s cherished notions of “the fair go.” He points out that, “Egalitarianism can be a barrier to progress and achievement.”

“Mateship and Moneymaking”
By Rory O'Malley
Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 379 pages | ISBN 9781483600895
Softcover | 6 x 9in | 379 pages | ISBN 9781483600888
E-Book | 379 pages | ISBN 9781483600901
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Rory O’Malley was born in Central Otago, New Zealand in 1946 and grew up in Dunedin. After studying agricultural science and economics at Lincoln Agricultural College in the 1960s, he spent 30 years as an economist.

Xlibris Publishing Australia, an Author Solutions, LLC imprint, is a self-publishing services provider dedicated to serving Australian authors. By focusing on the needs of creative writers and artists and adopting the latest print-on-demand publishing technology and strategies, we provide expert publishing services with direct and personal access to quality publication in hardcover, trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full-color formats. To date, Xlibris has helped to publish more than 60,000 titles.For more information, visit or call 1800 455 039 to receive a free publishing guide. Follow us @XlibrisAus on Twitter for the latest news.

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