A Truly Australian Artefact

Australians have entered a period of self appreciation and growing confidence in their history and their arts.

These articles are an attempt to rekindle interest and appreciation of a truly Australian artefact, the Australian stockwhip.

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The stockwhip originated from English and US prototypes, but it evolved to meet Australian needs and conditions. Working with stock was the primary use of the whip, it became part of the stockman’s identity; the hat horse dog whip combination.

Showmanship with whips developed from the stockmen themselves, beginning as competition of skill among them. It developed from this into a widespread form of competition and entertainment.

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The best whipmakers have taken their secrets to the grave. This is the great single threat to the industry. Whipmaking is a complex trade, covering an extensive range of articles and requiring great versatility. An apprenticeship of 5 years was required to gain the necessary skills. This, combined with the fact that the average whipmaker earned only a modest income, aided the dying-out process.

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