Australian Folk Songs

songs | books | records | articles | glossary | links | search | responses | home

An Improvement in Ward And Payne's Sheep Shears (1884)

The steady-going farmer of the old country, accustomed to the leisurely
sheep-shearing of an English village, would regard as fabulous the shearing
records of our Australian wool sheds, where sheep-shearing has reached, under
keen competition, a development previously unthought of. But it is not alone
the emulation and rivalry of the shearers which have contributed to this result,
but the careful attention paid by them to the tools of their craft ; for in
sheep-shearing the shearer knows, not only what he wants, but why he wants it.

We have now before us a specimen pair of shears which shows that an English
firm, already favourably known amongst shearers, is enterprising enough to keep
fully up to the requirements of the times. The necessity for every pair of shears
to have blades of equal temper is evident, and yet to insure the absolute equal
temper of any two pieces of steel is nearly impossible, and many attempts have
been made to overcome tbe difficulty.

In the shears before us Messrs. Ward and Payne make all blades interchangeable.
Two small projecting bosses on each blade, right and left, fit into corresponding
cavities in the otherblade, and absolutely ensure that the blades when thus paired
This position, as will be seen from the accompanying diagram, is maintained by a
small bolt and nut, tightened by means of a pocket spanner supplied with each pair,
of shears.

Any practical shearer will hail with satisfaction the prospect of being able to
match his shear-blades to suit himself, not to speak of the advantage gained by
being able to separate the blades for grinding ; The new shears are thus an
entirely fresh departure, which we owe to the efforts of Mr. Ward, jun., now on
his second tour through the colonies, with the special objectof devising means
of meeting the wants of the shearers.


From the Melbourne Newspaper the Australasian Saturday 10 May 1884 p. 26.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory