Shear Hard Work

With shearing underway on many sheep farms, we’ve unearthed a vintage video about the Bowen Shearing Technique from 1958, featuring a demonstration by Kiwi legend himself, Godfrey Bowen.

Godfrey Bowen’s arms flow with the grace of a Nureyev shaping up to an arabesque, or a Barbirolli bringing in the cellos. Watching him shear is even more remarkable that seeing a finely tuned machine.

The Guardian
Shearing Technique from Archives New Zealand

Godfrey Bowen MBE. (1922-1994) came from a talented shearing family with three brothers. He effectively changed shearing in New Zealand, and around the world, by developing a practical, time-saving continuous method with his brother Ivan. They also advocated a second shear, doubling up on the amount of wool production and boosting the economy. He elevated the profession by establishing a shearing school as chief shearing instructor for the New Zealand Wool Board, and was invited to teach the Bowen Technique all around the world.

Shearing is back-breaking, requiring great endurance, and Bowen was a master at it. In 1953 he sheared an astonishing 456 full-wool sheep in 9 hours, breaking the world record. He broke the record again three years later with a total of 463. In 1960, he shore 559 Welsh mountain sheep in the same amount of time.

Read more about Godfrey Bowen in this NZ Edge article. And watch an interview with his champion shearer brother, Ivan Bowen.

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