Jackie Howe Park is a rest stop park on the northern end of Warwick and the location of the Big Shears in tribute to Jackie Howe.
Jackie Howe was a shearer in Queensland whose feats made him a legend, setting a record in the late 1800s that still stands today.
Commonly known as Jackie Howe or Jack, he was born in the 1860s as John Robert Howe in Killarney, near Warwick, and learnt the art of blade shearing in the woolsheds in the district before moving to Central Queensland in the 1880s.
It was after a gun shearer insulted Jackie Howe, he was determined to put him in his place. Normally shearing about 100 sheep in a day, Jackie sheared 211 sheep, a record that was attempted to be beaten around the country when word travelled.
In 1892, two gold medals were offered to find Australia’s fastest shearer. With his competitive spirit spurring him on, Jackie Howe shore 321 sheep, using hand shears, in 7 hours and 40 minutes. He had already set the record for the most sheep shorn in 7 days, at 1,437 sheep in 44 hours and 30 minutes, earning him the 2 gold medals.
Jackie set another record the following year using machine shears but didn’t break his own record with only 237 sheep.
The record was broken nearly 60 years later in 1950 with the use of a mechanical shearer, however, the record for the most sheep shorn by hand shears remains with Jackie Howe, over 125 years later. The most sheep sheared in 7 days also stands.
Jackie Howe became the name for the navy blue singlet tops that were popular with shearers and other rural workers.
The park is a rest stop with a shaded playground and a monument dedicated to Jackie Howe. The monument has large blocks (presumably representing bails of wool) with a big pair of hand shears on top of a stack of the blocks.
The monument has two plaques in tribute to Jackie Howe and the unveiling of the monument.
John Robert Howe Better Known As Jackie Howe was Born On Canning Downs Near Warwick On 26th July, 1861.
He Learned The Art Of Blade Shearing In The Woolsheds Of This District Before Moving To Central Queensland In the 1880s.
At “Alice Downs” Blackall, On 10th October, 1892, He Shore A Total Of 321 Sheep In A Standard Working Day Of Eight Hours And Thereby Established A Record That Was Never Equalled By Blade Shearers.
By Adopting A Sleeveless Shirt Which Facilitated The Action Of The Blade Shearer, He Gave His Name To Its Modern Counterpart : The ‘Jackie Howe’ Singlet.
Jackie Howe Died At Blackall On 21st July, 1920
The unveiling plaque has the following:
This Monument Was Unveiled By Hon. J. A. Elliott
Minister For Tourism, National Parks, Sport & The Arts
On 29th January, 1983
There is a toilet block with a couple of murals on the back wall of a drover with sheep and of shearers in a shearing shed. A water tap is at the back of the toilet block.
There are two covered picnic table areas, one is nearer and larger than the other. Next to the playground is a wood BBQ, not overly useful for a rest stop as there is nowhere handy to get wood for it.
To get there:
Coming into Warwick from the north, continue along Cunningham Hwy for about 1.2km and turn right into Jackie Howe Dr with after crossing the bridge over the railway line. Jackie Howe Park is on the right with the brown sign in the corner of the park near the highway.
Coming into Warwick from the south, follow the Cunningham Hwy all the way into town to the traffic lights, about 2.5kms from entering into Warwick. Turn right following the signs towards Brisbane, then after 1.4km turn left at the lights. Follow Albion St (Cunningham Hwy) for 1.7km and turn left into Jackie Howe Dr with the brown sign in the corner of the park. Jackie Howe Park is on the right.
Coming into Warwick from the west, follow the Cunningham Hwy all the way into town to the traffic lights, about 1.3kms from entering into Warwick 60 zone. Continue straight ahead following the signs towards Brisbane, then after 1.4km turn left at the lights. Follow Albion St (Cunningham Hwy) for 1.7km and turn left into Jackie Howe Dr with the brown sign in the corner of the park. Jackie Howe Park is on the right.
Water: Yes, tap at back of the toilet block
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Pets: Yes, on leash
BBQ: Yes, wood, bring your own wood