The sheep census started by the Australian Bureau of Statistics back in 1950 is still no closer to completion due to all the census takers falling asleep five minutes after the start of each working day.
“You’d think it would be an easy task counting all the sheep in Australia but despite making our census takers drink a whole jug of coffee every morning, they still drift off into a dreamy doze before they even finish the first paddock’s worth,” admitted Brian Bellcurve, head of the agricultural department at the ABS.
“Australia desperately needs an accurate count of its sheep population so we know how many shearers to train, sheepdogs to breed and woollen sock factories to build. But at the moment the best estimate we can give for sheep population is somewhere between five and infinity.”
“I start each day determined to stay awake and get through several thousand sheep but most usually I’m out like a light before morning tea,” said census taker Audrey Suffolk. “The ironic part is that I suffer dreadfully from insomnia, but don’t want to count sheep to get to sleep at night because the last thing I want to do when I’m in bed is think about work.”
While the ABS has had problems with finding its workers crashed out in fields at the end of the day, the New Zealand Bureau of Statistics has reported no such hassles in its sheep census.
“Our sheep counters are way to excited to ever fall asleep,” said Trevor Jandal from the NZBS. “In fact most of them go out into paddocks to count sheep even on their days off. We have the best counted sheep in the world ay.”
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