Some of the world’s best blade shearers made a visit to Naracoorte on Saturday, to demonstrate their skill and expertise.
Alan Oldfield (New Zealand), Danny Wilson (United Kingdom) and Richie Foster (Apsley, Victoria) showed the crowd at the Sheep’s Back Museum how to get wool off a sheep using blades rather than machine clippers.
Alan’s father was a blade shearer, who studied the practice with Richie. The Oldfields have toured the world, teaching others how to blade shear.
Blade shearing is a popular practice in England and other parts of the UK, where Danny is from. This is because the extra wool that is left on the sheep keeps them warm in cold weather.
Richie is one of the only blade shearers in Australia, with the practice declining due to the efficiency of machine operated clippers.
Blade shearing is a skill which requires accuracy and stamina, and blades have to be sharpened regularly.
The demonstration drew a large crowd at the markets, with Richie and Alan taking the time to explain the history behind blade shearing to the audience, and answer questions.
The demonstration was co-sponsored by the Naracoorte Historic Vehicle Club.