Inducted into the Shearers' Hall of Fame, 2002
"all he used was a pair of glorified scissors ...."
Born near Warwick in Southeast Queensland, John Robert Howe (known as Jackie) was probably taught by Chinese shearing teams working in the district.
He set the (still unbroken) blade shearing record of 321 sheep in seven hours 40 minutes at Alice Downs near Blackall, Qld. on 10th October 1892.
His legendary speed, skill and grace was rewarded with competition medals and cash prizes. Like most other shearers of the time he was a dedicated unionist, but unlike others who walked or cycled between sheds, Howe could afford to arrive on horseback, trailing a packhorse.
With hands the size of 'small tennis racquets' and a physique to match, Jackie found that short-sleeved flannel shearing shirts restricted his biceps. He removed the sleeves from his shirts and this was the inspiration for the famous 'Jackie Howe' blue singlet that was a shearers' uniform for the next 100 years.