The Shearers' Hall of Fame
Hay Travel Blog› entry 21 of 51 › view all entries
December 27th, 2008 – by: Adrian_Liston
We learnt about wool production in Australia, which has been steadily declining since its peak of 180 million sheep and 900 million kilos of wool in 1969. The exhibit was interactive, allowing us to try shearing a dummy sheep and to sniff sheep urine. They also gave us a glossary, to learn the lingo. Here are some examples of shearers' talk:
- Crutching - removal of wool from the sheep's crutch
- Dag - wool around a sheep's bum
- Jackie Howe - sleevless singlet
- Lambing down - when a pub owner cheated a drunk shearer out of his pay check
- Pink'em - very close, high quality shearing.
- Pizzle - the penis of a sheep
- Snagger, snob or tomahawker - a rough untalented shearer
- Sweat extractor - contractor (rhyming slange)
- Sweatlocks - frizzy ends of a fleece around the shoulder and crutch, carrying a lot of grease and lanolin
- Gun - an extremely fast, competent shearer
We learnt about the heroes of the shearing world, such as Kevin Sarre (1935-1995), who won 67 shearing titles and was Australian champion in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1961. He also developed a standard method of shearing for the Australian Wool Corporation in 1963, the "Tally-hi" technique, which reduced shearing times by up to 30 seconds. On the 26th of October 1965, Kevin set an Australian record tally of 346 sheep. Another hero was Julian Stuart (1866-1929), not so much for his ability to shear, but for being a union activist after a series of harsh new contracts were forced on the workers.
And Lydia's favourite part was getting a watch a sheep being clipped, she couldn't stop giggling and grinning as the sheep calmly got its full-body haircut, got a pat on its bare bottom and ran back to the other sheep.
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