Strong shearer is a cut above

Bob GarnantCountryman
Shearer Dwayne Humes is following in his father's footsteps by taking up the handpiece.
Camera IconShearer Dwayne Humes is following in his father's footsteps by taking up the handpiece. Credit: Bob Garnant

At 188cm tall, Dwayne Humes delivers a mighty blow — or in shearing terms, a long sweeping movement with held handpiece across the sheep’s back, taking the fleece off in quick time.

Dwayne finished only seconds behind the intermediate winner at the Australian National Shearing Competition in Dubbo on November 30.

“I sheared eight sheep as fast and clean as possible finishing in 12 minutes, and 38 seconds and placing runner-up, but the win was so near my grasp,” he said.

“It was awesome, I surprised myself.”

Dwayne said his father, Alister, tried to steer him away from shearing, as he addressed past experiences and distinct memories of how hard the toil was.

“My father was very proud of my success at Dubbo, plus how I met so many interesting people who were very helpful,” he said.

“As a relatively new entrant into shearing, I have been able to pick up the trade quickly, I might qualify as a natural.”

Shearer Dwayne Humes is passionate about wool.
Camera IconShearer Dwayne Humes is passionate about wool. Credit: Bob Garnant

Dwayne spent some earlier years as a farm hand while playing footy for the Boddington Football Club and the Albany Sharks Football Club before taking on work in the Goldfields for three years.

Countryman caught up with Dwayne last week in the midst of his daily shed shearing duties at Neil and Jane Campbell’s ‘The Angle’ woolshed, at Darkan, where 13,000 mostly merinos and some crossbreds are shorn each year.

Mr Campbell said he was pleased to see a few of the younger generation taking up the shearing trade.

“Woolgrowers are anxious to see more new entrants take up shearing and woolhandling to combat the ageing work force.” he said.

Dwayne, who works for Williams-based S & R Cowcher Shearing under boss Steven Cowcher, was halfway through his eight-hour, 170 shorn sheep day, seemingly enjoying every minute with his workmates as he relished very moderately his success at Dubbo.

“Shearing has giving me so much, I am now able to be home every night after work,” he said.

“I am a true blue family man, with much appreciation for my wife Mel and our son Bodhi, 2, and daughter Xaiya,1.”

Mr Cowcher said Dwayne was a credit to himself.

“He is very reliable and second to none,” he said.

Dwayne qualified for the nationals by winning five WA country shows in 2018 intermediate events.

“I particularly enjoy the Darkan show and have won the intermediate title now two years running,” he said.

“As a fifth generation Aboriginal man from Wandering, taking up a trade that my grandfather, Owen, undertook, I am very proud of what I have accomplished.”

Dwayne has been selected to mentor Aboriginal shearing trainees in an initiative to be launched next year by the Aboriginal organisation Mhunga Whalla, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Australian Wool Innovation.

“Shearing is an honest career and those that take it up can earn good money,” he said.

“I am looking forward to next year’s national competition in Bendigo, but first priority is ... a well-earned Christmas holiday with my family.”

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