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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Whip Cracking Champion Colin Erbacher Visits Narangba

It was tools down for Packer Leather staff when champion whip cracker Colin Erbacher visited the Narangba factory to perform a whip cracking demonstration showcasing the company’s high performance kangaroo leather, K-Whip.

Fifth year sponsors of The Packer Leather Stockwhip Challenge at the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka), Packer Leather Chairman of the Board, Lindsay Packer, invited Colin to perform for staff after meeting him at this year’s event.

“Colin was there as a judge, and whilst the other judges were adding up the scores, Colin did a little fill-in whip cracking display which was quite impressive,” explains Packer Leather International Marketing Manager Mark Hourigan.

“Lindsay approached Colin about coming to the factory to put on a demo for the staff, because for a lot of the staff here they’ve worked on and produced the leather that goes into the whips, but like a lot of us they have never actually seen it plaited into a whip, let alone cracked.”

Using custom made whips fashioned from K-Whip, Packer Leather’s premium quality, veg tanned and drum stuffed kangaroo leather ideally suitable for whip making and braiding, Colin thrilled the gathered crowd with a variety of single and double handed whip cracking routines including cracking a pair of whips to the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

“What I’m trying to do [by having Colin here] is make a connection between what the staff are making and where the product goes into, and to show the staff that they are a part of that rather than it being abstract,” says Lindsay.

Discussing Colin’s demonstration, Factory Worker Beryl says, “It’s great to see the actual end result of a product that our leather goes into, and to see the whips used so well by the champion that Colin is was amazing. It helps us understand a bit more what we’re working on.”

Whip cracking since 2009, Colin has won the Men’s Outback Whip Cracking Championships at Winton’s Outback Festival since 2011, and has won The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival Open Men’s Bushman’s Whipcrack Competition in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

“It’s amazing what you can end up doing with good leather,” says Colin. “I used to use cow hide, but these whips are incredible. They crack unbelievably. A flick of the wrist and bang! Out they go.”

Over 5,000 whips a year are made using kangaroo leather produced by Packer Leather.

“Our traditional veg tanned kangaroo leather is a firm favourite of whip makers and plaiters across the country,” says Graham Packer, International Marketing Director for Packer Leather. “It’s pleasing to be part of such a worthwhile and traditional craft.”

Colin’s prized collection of whips are made primarily by Tasmanian master whip maker, Simon Martin, whose whips are used and recommended by World Champion Whip Cracker, Ben Hughes.

“I’ve had a few of the best whip crackers in Australia have a crack at them for only a minute, and they want to buy them off me straight away,” says Colin. “They are so finely tuned.”

“Our kangaroo leather is recognised as the premium leather for whips,” adds Mark Hourigan, “so much so that in times of high demand people are prepared to wait to get their K-Whip from us.”

K-Whip is available at the Packer Direct Leather Shop located at 101 Boundary Road, Narangba.


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