FOR many overseas backpackers, farm work holds the 'golden ticket' to fulfill their Australian dream. They spend at least 88 days in a rural area, save money, secure a one-year visa extension and move on - usually to a capital city. And while this was British expatriate Anna Scrivens' expectation when moving to Western Australia, it has certainly not been her reality. The 24-year-old joined Henderson Shearing contractors last year and completed three months roustabouting - only to return for another season. It wasn't part of her plan, it just kind of happened. "I thought I would be fruit picking to be honest," Ms Scrivens said. "My mindset with woolshed work was, I probably won't enjoy it, but at least it's only 88 days. "I'll get it done and I won't have to do it again. "Obviously that was not the case, I absolutely loved it." Read also: Ms Scrivens' roots trace back to a small village in Cumbria, in north west England, where prosperity is driven by agriculture and tourism. Despite not growing up on a farm, she spent time helping at her aunt and uncle's property and also covered night shifts in a local family's lambing shed. Admittedly, she wasn't overly interested in sheep. "There are a lot of hill farms back home, so I guess it's what I've always been around," Ms Scrivens said. "In saying that, I did enjoy lambing. "It was both difficult - because things happen in the circle of life - and rewarding." With a dream to visit family in Adelaide, Ms Scrivens found an opportunity to save money during COVID-19. She kept her head down, continued working in the shed and booked a one-way ticket for August. After three weeks on Australian soil, she ventured to the small Wheatbelt town of Badgingarra. "I didn't have any plans, I just kind of winged it," she said. "I asked my dad's friend, Cartwright Terry (shearing world record holder), if he knew of any work going. "Terry passed on the contact details for Henderson Shearing owner Mike Henderson and that's how I ended up there." Reflecting on her first day, Ms Scrivens remembered jumping into a van, with a group of strangers, in the early hours of the morning. It was dark and cold, but she was excited, despite not knowing what to expect. "The only time I had ever been around shearers at home, was if my uncle shouted to me for a hand," she said. "He would have a two-stand trailer and turn up in one of his fields. "I knew it was going to be different here, but I didn't expect to love it. "As soon as I jumped into the van, I sort of had this feeling like, 'I'm going to be fine, everyone is lovely'." What shocked Ms Scrivens most was the sheer and flatness of the land and the distance travelled to get places. Typically, in Cumbria only two to three shearers work in each shed, compared to at least five in WA. The nearest town is also half-an-hour away versus - in many cases - several hours, sheds are used for lambing instead of paddocks and there is a bigger focus on breeding sheep than quality of wool. Like any new job, Ms Scrivens knew wool work was going to be tough, with plenty of listening and learning required. However, her workmates' encouraging nature gave her the confidence to get the job done. She labelled the atmosphere in the shearing shed, when it was running at full-steam, as energising. "Everyone is super-friendly, helpful and up for a chat - it is a big team game," she said. "You trust your colleagues have your back, which means you aren't stressed out and can enjoy the job. "I remember on my first day, I didn't even know how to set-up or throw a fleece properly. "Even now after about five months' work, I'm still learning. "If you are willing to listen, people are willing to teach you." Ms Scrivens quickly learned the ropes and went on to enter the novice wool handling competition at Kojonup, Katanning and Boddington shows. Not a bad achievement, for someone who has only been in the industry for about eight months. Through friendships forged, she was also offered work in New Zealand's spring shearing season. Again, it wasn't part of her plan. "I spent six weeks over there, purely because of a lovely couple I met in my crew with Michael Henderson,'' she said. "I wouldn't say the sheds over there are any easier, there is still a lot of work to do, it's just different." Ms Scrivens' focus in New Zealand shifted entirely to broom work, including cleaning and sweeping. She was able to transfer skills learned this season at Australia's largest operating sheep station, Rawlinna. Working at a station, which covers an area roughly the size of Sydney and just over 3000 square kilometres more than the whole of Cumbria, was an eye opening experience. "The number of sheep on any farm in Australia is way more than at home," she said. "When I was at Rawlinna, I looked at the paddock and was like, 'wait, sheep live here?' "I embraced it though and was very fortunate to have a good crew working with me again." In the months since, Ms Scrivens has continued working in local sheds. With the season drawing to an end, she plans to visit her family in the UK for three weeks, before the spring season is in full swing. This will help her secure her third-year working holiday visa. "I plan on continuing to work in the wool industry," Ms Scrivens said. "I do love Australia, but I haven't seen much of the country - such as New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory or Tasmania - yet. "Maybe I could incorporate a bit of travel with my work." When asked what she loves most about what she does, Ms Scrivens said: "The people and atmosphere make it - because of them I wake up every morning looking forward to the day. "If you were working with people who are grumpy all down, you'd probably hate your job. "Anyone who is considering working in a shearing shed, should definitely go for it."