Luke Vernon, a sheep shearer from Ettrick, Southern New Zealand, has secured a groundbreaking achievement by shearing 500 Merino ewes in an eight-hour stint, marking a new world record.

The attempt took place at Thornton Park, Wandering in West Australian, approximately 120km southeast of Perth. Vernon, aged 28, surpassed the previous record of 497 set by Lou Brown in 2019, despite facing challenges throughout the day.

Following a 7am start, with mentor Michael-James ‘MJ’ Terry by his side, Vernon rallied in the final hours, achieving an astounding 130 ewes in the last run just minutes before the 5pm finish. The attempt was marked with suspense, including a failed initial wool-weigh shear to meet the minimum average requirement of 3.4kg per ewe, which was rectified in subsequent attempts.

Looking ahead, Vernon remains modest about his future endeavours but acknowledges the possibility of aiming for the nine-hour record, currently held at 540 by Kiwi Floyd Neil, is tantalizingly close after his impressive performance. He highlights the importance of staying prepared and maintaining physical fitness for potential future challenges.

Vernon’s journey into shearing began while working as a shepherd in New Zealand before relocating to Australia in search of farm work. His commitment and adaptability led him to shearing school and eventually to this historic achievement.

Key figures instrumental to Vernon’s success included his mentor Terry and contractor Rob Christinelli.

The record stands as the latest triumph in a string of successful solo shearing attempts in both Australia and New Zealand over the past year.