Legendary New Zealand shearer Colin Bosher dies in Western Australia

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand. May 31, 2017

Colin Bosher shearing in the 1960s. with his trademark cigarette. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ.

LEGENDARY New Zealand shearer Colin Bosher has died in hospital in the West Australian town of Boyup Brook.

Donna Bosher, of Mount Maunganui, confirmed her father had died early Tuesday New Zealand time. He was 85.

Missing the first Golden Shears in 1961 and at the time having never shorn in competition, Bosher shore in four Golden Shears Open finals, finishing fourth to winner Bing Macdonald in 1962 and second to Brian Waterson in 1963, when he was the top qualifier from the semi-finals. He placed fifth to Stewart Symon in 1964 and fifth in Macdonald’s second win in 1966.

As a 1962 finalist, he shore before the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in a Royal Command performance at Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, on February 11, 1963, and finished fourth behind Alan Williamson, Symon and Macdonald.

His performances in the woolshed were also notorious. In particular, his 565 ewes at Awakino in North Taranaki on April 13, 1964; smashing a record of 463 shorn by Godfrey Bowen in January 1961.

While never again competing at the Golden Shears after his fourth final, in 1975 Bosher was in the first group of 29 shearers accorded Master Shearer status by the New Zealand Wool Board.

Towering almost two metres tall, Bosher was; however, possibly wider-known for his physical strength, constitution and dexterity, which were displayed in an array of antics, tricks and pranks in woolsheds and bars on both sides of the Tasman.

Many defied description and were retold in disbelief, his daughters now hoping they will hear them all at a memorial gathering they expect to be held at a time and place yet to be determined.

Colin Bosher at home last year in Western Australia. Picture: Shearing Sports NZ.

Donna Bosher and sisters Eileen, of Hamilton, and Colleen, of Tauranga, are keen to hear as many of the stories and see any of the photos and other stories that have been published over the years.

There was; however, a wide gap, for Colin Bosher, having lived in such places as Otorohanga, Te Awamutu and Taihape, left for Australia in 1977 after a period shearing in Hawke’s Bay and made few trips home.

In Boyup Brook, New Zealand-born shearer and contractor David Johansen, who has lived and shorn in West Australia for many years, said Colin Bosher was well-known.

“He died with no regrets, a shearing legend like no other,” Johansen said.

Although Colin Bosher’s son Kevin died in 2009, he is survived by two brothers, Kelvin and Ray, who live in Auckland.

Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.


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  1. Alison Fraser, March 5, 2023

    Colin was a legend.

  2. Harvey Hatch, June 13, 2017

    Mataroa gang, 1952-53, great memories, RIP.

  3. Victoria O'Brien, June 12, 2017

    I had the absolute pleasure of nursing Colin in his final months and days, and he remained a wonderful character to the end. Always a joke and a smile to brighten everyone’s days. Fantastic stories of days gone by. Never once did Colin ever complain, no matter what his ailment. Very much missed in the town of Boyup Brook. RIP Col.

  4. Keera Thorne, June 1, 2017

    I had the pleasure of having Colin Bosher work for my family’s shearing team in Latham, Western Australia. As a kid, my brother and myself had a great vocabulary lessens — “salubrious” was one most commonly used. Card tricks and jokes galore. Oh and don’t forget the drinking shooters in the pub and the station runs. Always a great story to be told. I will never forget our time with Bosher, it made our childhood growing up in the sheds. Another great shearing legend who will always been remembered. RIP Colin.

  5. Tom Casey, May 31, 2017

    A life fully lived. I worked with Col around Broken Hill. Never a dull day or after work beer. When he turned 65, he got the pension card. Most people hook the caravan on and head north. Col put the old Falcon on the Indian Pacific train at Broken Hill and went off to Perth for the spring shearing. Not sure if we worked for Tim or Fred that year. His name came up at Horace’s wake on Sunday. RIP Col — never forgotten.

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