Heritage of the Packhorse Sep 2012
Pack horses have been entwined in the European history of the High Country from the time the mountains were first glimpsed by the early explorers and pioneer settlers. The rugged, un-roaded terrain was mostly unsuited to wheeled vehicles and the packhorse became the means of moving goods and supporting enterprise as the mountains were opened up. Even today there remain places where only a pack horse can go.
And we only ride with the flowing tide
as we follow the blazed line back,
so we drink the toast of the vanguard host
and “The Men who blazed the Track!”
Will Oglivie Saddle for a Throne
Over time as many tracks were cut, including 100’s of miles of government ‘4 foot’ roads for the gold miners, and the remote mountain settlements and camps were linked. Commerce grew and so did packhorse loads of gold ore, meat and potatoes, butter, equipment and a regular traffic of cattlemen, police, mailmen, horse breeders and duffers, early artists and naturalists, all accompanied by packhorses.
Into the twentieth century pack horses continued to be used by cattlemen, brumby runners and horse breeders, government doggers, hut builders, hydro surveyors and a growing number of adventurers and tourists. In the late 1930’s you could buy a ticket for a Victorian Railways ‘Skyline Tour’ at a suburban railway station, and head off to the mountains for a multi day journey supported by local cattlemen and packhorses.
The consistent theme running through this rich cultural history of the High Country is the reliance on packhorse travel. Bogong Horseback Adventures strives to continue those traditions. Our tours supported only by packhorses, travel the old pack tracks, camp in long established remote mountain places far from roads and 4WDs. The types of gear we use, our camp routines and our packhorse team are all a continuation of the tradition.
Bogong Horseback Adventures are introducing a new clinic, Professional Packing School, scheduled for 21st April 2013