New Zealand-born shearer Lou Brown has put in the quickest-ever day of merino shearing to smash a world record which has withstood at least four other attempts since it was set 16 years ago.
The 31-year-old Brown, based in Bunbury, south of Perth, but raised in Napier till he crossed the Tasman at the age of 13, shore 497 merino ewes in eight hours in a woolshed near Kojonup in West Australia on Saturday.
At just under 58 seconds a sheep when no one previously in a day's record shearing had averaged under a minute on merino ewes or wethers, it was 31 more than the previous record of 466 set by fellow-Kiwi Cartwright Terry in a two-stand record with brother Michael James Terry in 2003, also in West Australia.
It was also just 33 shy of New Zealand shearer Stacey Te Huia's nine-hour record of 530 set in New South Wales four years ago and regarded as one of the greatest tally shears in Australian woolshed history.
Brown was always well ahead of the target, with successive two-hour runs of 120, 126, 126 and 125, which compared with runs of 114, 119, 118 and 115 shorn by Cartwright Terry, who along with his brother was prominent in the running of Saturday's challenge.
Another prominent in the staging of the record was Dwayne Black, who holds the eight-hours merino lambshearing record of 570 and the nine-hours record of 664, both set in 2004.
The standard of shearing was monitored by an international panel of four judges appointed by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, headed by Northern Hawke's Bay farmer Bart Hadfield, who will also judge at the world shearing and woolhandling championships in France in July.