Changes in recruiting, training and treatment of shearers are revolutionising the wool industry.

Story John Dunn

When he was just 14, Jim Murray started shearing. “It was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” he says, four decades down the track. “I was delighted to get a place in a shed at Waterloo Station, near Trangie in the central west of New South Wales, and I’ve been in the industry in one form or another since.”

Today, Jim is the manager of shearing industry development for Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), in an industry that is undergoing revolutionary changes. His job is to keep up with the technological advances and ensure that the nation’s 2482 shearers are equipped with the necessary skills to make the best use of new processes. He organises workshops, training camps, exhibitions and annual championships to ensure shearing standards remain high. His role also includes encouraging flock owners to implement modifications, such as better shed design.

“The aim is to provide a constant flow of information to our shearers so that they can be better and quicker at what they do,” he says. “And at the same time we want to keep the nation’s 45,000 graziers in the picture, and seek their help because it’s in their interests to see that this most important aspect of the industry operates as smoothly as possible.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #121

Outback Magazine: October/November 2018