Shear Outback, the centre at Hay which honours those who without their contribution the wool industry would not have reached its pre-eminence will hold its biennial Festival of the Blades during the Easter weekend.
Five shearing legends will be formally inducted into The Australian Shearers Hall of Fame joining the 38 already recognised.
Brian Joseph Morrison
Brian Morrison grew up in Longwood where he learnt to shear and play football well enough to play for Richmond in the VFL, a career he gave up to go shearing at Longreach. He won the Australian Open shearing title twice. Brian and his wife Judy began a shearing contract business before opening 'The Wool Bin', a shearing supplies business in Euroa in 1973 which developed into 'Morrisons of Euroa', a high quality country style clothing business. In 1972, Brian claimed a world record for shearing 410 merino weaners in the RSL Hall in Euroa. He is the father of local shearing contractor Andrew Morrison.
John William Harris
Bill Harris was known far and wide as 'Taggerty Bill' to distinguish him from a cousin of the same name. He lived at Taggerty on the Acheron River for some years after he married Edna Parker. He was born in Mansfield in 1913 and tragically lost his father at an early age. He grew up at Merton before pursuing a 65 year career in the shearing industry. Bill loved his horses and while at Merton trained, rode and won the Merton Cup in 1940 and 1941. A non-drinker and non-smoker Bill Harris was a credit to the industry. His commitment to making any young shearer a better shearer was to make it easier for them. This great old shearer passed away in February 1997 in Euroa. The late John William Harris was the father of John Thomas Harris who was inducted in 2009 - the first father and son honoured in the Shearers Hall of Fame!
Denis George Ryan
Denis Ryan (not related to fellow Inductee David Ryan) was born in Sydney in 1930. Drawing on his experiences, Denis was aware of the needs of the expedition shearers roaming Australia and New Zealand. He and his wife Fay pioneered the 'Shearmaster' brand and Milro Mail Order Co to address these needs. This business also enabled Denis to stay in touch with the shearing community. Once the Mecca of shearers, Milro closed its doors in 2014 after 58 years. It is a little known fact their iconic 'Shearmaster' clothing was part of the wardrobe of the film 'Crocodile Dundee'.
David 'Daffy' James Ryan
David (Daffy) Ryan was raised at Balmoral, Victoria, and began shearing aged 16. He travelled all over Australia shearing, always learning by watching the best shearers. He soon established himself as one of the fastest shearers in Australia and proved it when he shore 466 six month old merino lambs in August 1978. The following year he pushed the tally up to 501 using narrow gear. In September 1994 he reclaimed the record when he shore 625 merino lambs. David's shearing career was interrupted by two years National Service which included a year in Vietnam. He was a regular competitor at Golden Shears at Euroa. Today he and his wife Regina live at Wongaling Beach, Far North Queensland.
David Neville Lawrence
David Lawrence was raised on the family farm at Southern Brook east of Northam, Western Australia. He is one of six brothers who all became shearers, and it was a proud moment, when all six shore together at the 1989 Perth Royal Show. David began shearing in 1975 under the watchful eyes of his brothers. Since then he has shorn in all areas of the State, and travelled to shear in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania many times as well as a few short seasons in New Zealand. David has enjoyed a good deal of success in competitions and has represented Australia six times in Trans-Tasman teams.
The inductees will join the thirty eight legends already honoured since Shear Outback opened in 2002 bringing the total to forty three and will take place in the historic restored Murray Downs woolshed.
Of interest will be the hand piece presented to Jack Howe by the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company in January 1893 and borrowed from the National Museum of Australia.
It will be on display until 29 May.
Jack Howe continues to be renowned for his extraordinary shearing prowess performed in the shearing sheds of central Queensland in 1892.
During October, at Alice Downs north of Blackall Jack shore 1437 Merino sheep over five days, and it is reported to be a feat which remains unbroken.
He was just starting to warm up because in the following week he set a new record, shearing 321 Merino sheep in seven hours and forty minutes.
Before the invention of the shearing hand piece, Jack established those records using blade shears.
His record of 321 sheep in a day remained intact until 1950.
With the introduction of shearing machines, Jack shore 327 Merino sheep in one day, establishing a new record when he was on the board at Barcaldine Downs, Barcaldine.
The new technology was developed by Frederick Wolseley and Robert Savage and revolutionised the sheep shearing industry in Australia and around the wool growing areas of the globe.