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Beaten by a Blow
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One man's story of life as a shearer, a tearaway and a young father trying to make ends meet. Dennis McIntosh was always determined not to get stuck in a factory like his father, but it's only once he takes a job as a roustabout that he discovers what he really wants to be: a shearer. Travelling from station to station, he revels in the smell and feel of the sheds, and the freedom of being answerable to no man except his mates. And it's a thrilling time to be in this legendary occupation. There's a fight on: the union is defending its workers against scab labourers' use of the wide comb. But while shearing's a fine life for a nineteen-year-old, it's a hard one for a man. As the added weight of adulthood settles on Dennis's shoulders, the sheds take their unforgiving toll. Beaten by a Blow shows us the reality behind the romance of the shearer. Most of all, it tells the story of a boy full of hope crashing headlong into life - into work, into drink, into responsibilities he isn't ready for, which come closer to breaking his back than shearing ever did.
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