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
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.