Monday 18 July 2016

Buying Walers - Australian horse traders.

"No greater or gamer breed of horse ever sniffed the wind."

Tom Ronan, Strangers on the Ophir.

janet lane
'The new mode of shipping horses to India.'
- ramps were safer and faster than slings -
wood engraving, 1880.
 State Library of Victoria.

Australian horse traders chiefly sold horses to India - where the Waler got its name, shortened from "New South Waler" - a horse from Australia.

We sent horses as an export commodity early - for example in 1817 the Fame took 25 horses to Batavia and the Lynx took 3 horses following a late 1816 ad wanting a match pair of bay, brown or black geldings 14.2hh for carriage and a brown riding gelding, for a person in Calcutta; found and shipped by Alexander Riley. The Lynx left on the 7th January 1817 for China thence to Calcutta. Nor was it the first ship to take export horses for us. 

Further early examples - 1818 the Laurel took 23 horses to Batavia, and 1818 the Pilot took 34 horses to Batavia from Hobart. 

In 1834 40 horses were sent on the Henry Tanner to Madras for the Hon. East India Co, by Capt. J.G. Collins, previously of the 13th Light Dragoons, he sent another 50 on the City of Edinburgh and more in 1835. 

Ships constantly advertised wanting horses as cargo, wishing to sail with paying cargo. The Lonarch took horses to Madras 1835. Other loads went away. 

By the mid 1840's the trade was established. 

Some horses got better homes than people. This castle is the horse stables of Government House, NSW.
Painted by Conrad Martins, 1842. State Library NSW.
Macarthur had these built. Among his horses were many illegal and undocumented imports. One was a valuable stallion from America named Washington, and at least five good small Indian mares. He was careful to have no written documents tracing him to these horses; other people's breeding records and various sources have been used to trace shiploads of illegally imported horses to Macarthur.

By 1851, only two years before his death, Sir Walter Gilbert - hero of the British army in India and nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh - was in charge of the army's Horse Commission in India and heartily recommended Australian horses as the best available. Walers were recognised by name, looks, endurance, agility, courage. Gilbert put the trade into top gear.

Some traders specialised in supplying one country, most sold wherever a horse was wanted. They also had a jolly good time - Christmases in India wi
th all the trimmings including the Viceroy's ball, the races in Calcutta, polo in Bombay, the Imperial Delhi Horse Show where famous horse traders were asked to judge - polo, pig sticking - all the pleasures of being in a foreign land with plenty of money in their pockets and respect from their peers. waler horse horses

Walers - indispensable for gathering Christmas decorations in southern India... 
The Graphic 1884.

Most horse traders started with nothing. The odd one like Henry Madden was born into wealth but grew wealthier selling horses to India. It was a time a good horseman could make it big. They aquired an enviable reputation - the mix of horses, the military, business savvy, wealth, the high seas, outback, sale yards and exotic locations was charismatic.

Others traded within Australia - remounts, wool and wheat wagon horses, vanners, delivery, pack horses, tram horses, coach horses, stock horses, carriage horses, hacks and hunters and race ponies.

Horse power once did everything. A good horse was both useful and a status symbol.

While the remount trade was a way to get rid of slow
racehorses for some, remounts were especially bred to be hardier, more solid, more frugal, more intelligent, better leg action, not nervous, plenty of good bone, high head/neck carriage. As time went by of course, the Thoroughbred itself changed from a tough horse of mixed breeds, to an inbred animal bred for running inside a fenced circle, on flat ground, that broke down often, thin bone and low knee action hence unsafe over normal going. 

Once we only bred stayers, now we only breed sprinters. The Waler was a breed created from the Thoroughbred in it's early days when it was various breeds itself and whatever breeders thought appropriate to create a military, work and sport horse - a touch of draught, harness breeds and pony. British native ponies, particularly the Welsh came here, and loads of Timor ponies as well as Lombock, Sandalwood (Sumba), Aceh and Java ponies. Chile horses came for decades, by the shipload, from Valparaiso. Arabs and native Indian ponies from India. Old breeds now extinct, such as the Hobie, Galloway and Roadster were going strong when we were colonised; they all went into the melting pot. 

Ponies sold almost well as remounts. Pony racing was huge in many countries and established in Australia by 1810.

The key to success was the climate, big country and keen breeders using the best of the best. Bred from stayers and raised on tough country meant survival traits became normal - good bone, hard hooves, endurance, ability to thrive on low quality feed, wisdom. The best sellers were remounts. They needed to be strong and hardy. Carriage and work horses were in huge demand.

The Grand Hotel in Calcutta (now the Oberoi) had a "Waler Corner" where Australian horse traders met; often after the horses were sold at the Army Remount Depot at Alipore. Some traders such as Jim Robb stayed here.

Once types thus created bred true, a breed was born. Walers were definite types by the 1850's in many areas, and breeding true - while many of course were still being developed by crossbreeding.

The term Waler was used in the 1840's and championed by Captain (Bill) Apperley, father of the horse trade. Many breeds such as the TB did not even have a type when their studbook was closed. There was a one horse 'breed', Justin Morgan. Those without a studbook like roadsters became extinct, their blood going into other breeds such as TB's and hackneys. Studbooks were a new phenomena in the nineteenth century, not all breeds got one, most breeds were in the process of being shaped. We had Walers that bred true to the types (best defined as Artillery/light delivery, Troopers, Officers, Pony); while in many areas the methods of creating Walers (crossbreeding) went on throughout the trade - it was a breed in the making - using the best of the best when horses were at their best
The Waler could be loosely defined as any horse that was not a purebred of one breed, before the importation of breeds that were never here in the heyday of the horse trade, such as Quarter Horses - simply - a word for an Australian bred horse. Most were bred for military and work purposes, largely stock work and cartage. Types had been created from heavy through to pony. At the end of the trade Walers were left to breed true. No studbook meant they were in critical danger of extinction until one was formed in the 1980's. They had many generations without crossing out and bred true. All breeds begin somewhere. The Waler had a far better start than most.
DNA tests have now  proved they are a breed.

Ashton Brothers, polo players and pony traders. The Ashtons took polo ponies to England, and traded them to India, where they obtained top price - 1,700 guineas for one. The Ashtons also traded polo ponies to North America. 

Carrington horses. Australians were known to be horse mad. In 1885 when the new Governor of N.S.W. arrived with his wife - Lord and Lady Carrington - they were greatly touched a huge crowd turned out to welcome them. This turned to surprise when they realised no-one was interested in them - everyone was straining to see their eight horses led off the ship! They were magnificent animals, each described in lavish details in the papers; the Carringtons got much approval!


Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, August 1830.
Stock of the Australian Agricultural Company.
Ditto, improved Colonial.............9
Colonial........... 151
Welsh Ponies............16
Timor Ponies......................10

This company imported many horses, including Cleveland Bays, from the 1820's.


Without Manipur the world would be a poorer place - here we learned polo - polo became a game that in many ways, did more than ambassadors to promote goodwill in the days a man was judged by his horse and sport replaced war. Manipuri ponies are legendary.

In the usual 'coals to Newcastle' scenario, it was often blood from India that bred great ponies. Countless examples from earliest colonial days - all from India. For example four Arab ponies bought in India became celebrated sires in Australia, their progeny sent back to India as polo ponies (in Stephen Ralli bio below). Five Arab pony stallions (two galloway size, three 13.2hh) arrived in 1899 on the Darius from Calcutta, three to polo pony playing and breeding homes. With them was a mare, Maid Marion, that had won cross country races in India - bought by Ralli for breeding polo ponies. All were described as 'remarkably sweet tempered.'  In 1898 the Maharajah of Patiala gifted horse trader Dick McKenna a flea-bitten grey Arab stallion, winner of many races, named Blue Devil, 13.3hh. Indian ponies, thus described, were also imported. Thousands of ponies from India came in, in ones and two and threes, over a century, with traders returning from selling Walers.

They were indeed true Arab ponies - the Bussorah trade to India was constant. The town of Bussorah is now called Basrah, on the Euphrates River, a big horse trading port. Turkish horses came down the Euphrates too. Both Turkey and Arabia (Bussorah was in Mesopotamia, now Iraq; also called Arabia at one stage) had a ban on selling horses to the British, but bribes meant the trade continued covertly although in heavily restricted numbers. Horses from Bussorah were invariably praised to the skies and got top prices. Many were used here to breed polo and race ponies.

Books have rightfully been written on India and polo. In 1933 a full team from Jaipur went to England to play, in their string of 39 ponies, 16 were Australian. They won brilliantly. The Maharaja of Jaipur was an excellent customer.

'... I have seen many studs of polo ponies, including those of the American International sides and the Argentine Polo Federation side, but I have never seen any to compare with that of the Jodhpur side. The ponies are all perfectly trained ; they have pluck and handiness and speed, and most of them are the nearest approach to the perfect pony that any man could find. The majority of them are high-class Waler ponies, selected with great care on their arrival in India from Australia, and trained in the Maharajah's stables. A certain number are Indian country breds ; there are a few English thoroughbreds, and one or two Argentines....' 
Lord Wodehouse, The Spectator, 1925.

The Maharajah of Rajasthan, another title for the Maharajah of Jaipur, was an excellent customer for Walers. Rudyard Kipling was showed through his immense stables, and the 800 or so horses there, and wrote about them. In 2021 on the Waler Data Base page I run on Facebook, Andrea commented she used to work there, and the Maharajah of Rajasthan was proud his horses were, to this day, descendants of Walers his ancestors had bought! She used to take his high profile guests out on several stallions to see the sights in old hunting grounds - how wonderful some Waler genes have been kept up - it says a lot for the breed and for the horse people there. Magic.
When the height was pony sized, Welsh stallions were popular for breeding polo ponies. Dyoll Starlight, a Welsh import, won first prize in 1913 at the Polo and Riding Society's show. However the plethora of ponies - at any horse sales it was nothing to see 250 pony stallions being auctioned - meant all sorts were used. It was the best at racing and polo whose lines were continued, and most of the best stallions traced back to a small 'cobby' TB named Walton, that had several crosses of Galloway blood in his line - being of the Bald Galloway, the Mixbury Galloway and the Shield Galloway. Galloways, a Scottish breed, became extinct due to no studbook being formed, and were absorbed into the TB studbook.

It's believed the highest priced polo pony sold in India in those days was an Australian pony sold by Ashton Brothers of West Maitland to the Maharaja of Kashmir for 1,700 guineas - it was named Maitland. Another famous polo pony was Lady Jane, sold by Jim Robb to Prince Hanu Singh of Jodhpur for a thousand pounds - the Prince later refused double the price for her (News, Adelaide, 7th April 1947). In 1910 2,700 rupees was paid for an Australian polo pony by a regimental team, after the Simla tournament, to prevent their opposition getting it. 

Polo rules changed over the years to raise the height, it was an open height by 1919. Each country however maintained their own rules so this was not universal, the game being traditionally played on ponies in its homeland. Australia had been playing on 14.1hh then 14.2 hh since the game came here, due to our players being tall. Thoroughbreds became used rather than true ponies. There were notable exceptions.

In 1934 Major T.C. Duigud of the 20th Burma Rifles visited Australia to buy polo ponies. He played for the regimental team. At their hill station Meymyo they preferred to play on ponies 13.2 hands and under. This was traditional and kept the game affordable for all. He said most Australian polo ponies sent over were too big - 14 to 15 hands. He'd come to choose his own smaller ponies. They weren't trained for polo, being considered too small in Australia, all he could do was select the right types with good mouths and train them himself. He'd bought several the year before, in North Maitland, NSW. He went home via Fremantle where he and the ponies had a little break, and again in Singapore.

In 1937 one of Western Australia's best polo ponies "Moonlight" was sold to a banker in Batavia, Java. Another champion W.A. polo pony named Creamy (deep gold dun, black points) which belonged to Irwin Burges and was also a top campdrafter, remained in W.A. despite being valued at 500 pounds. 

Several other top polo ponies were creamies - in those days it meant single dilute, but in the modern era it means double dilute, genetically and phenotypically; to be simplistic. One popular polo pony stallion was  a Welsh foaled 1889, named Cupid. He was 13.1hh and was bred by the A.A.Co. (Australian Agricultural Company). He stood in NSW and Queensland. Cupid was bay but his dam was creamy (single dilute) so he carried the cream gene. While army horses were usually required to be bay, black, chestnut and at times grey, other colours found plenty of sales for polo, carriage horses, hacks, deliveries etc. Cupid won at many shows and his progeny were top polo ponies, race ponies and harness ponies. There was a belief in Australia that creamies were the toughest horses of all, because it was a 'primitive' colour, hence they were sought for stock horses. Some properties specialised in breeding only creamies for stockhorses. Some creamies went to India - as single dilutes it was considered lucky if they were seen among other horses. Many Rajahs liked showy horses and bought matched teams of creamies (single dilutes) for carriage horses. Sir Rupert Clarke sold 6 matched creamy Walers of 16hh to the Nizam for carriage horses, they fetched a vast sum. Many creamies made it into the Indian army because traditional belief meant it was very lucky to see one among other horses, so good fortune to have at least one in a regiment. 

Australian horses also had success at the fabulous and giant horse shows in India. Slorihi won the lightweight polo pony class at the 1929 Simla show for example. Australian horses traders judged at this show and others. Military horses, carriage horses - all sorts were shown. Tent pegging and other competitions held.

Photo from The Land (Sydney), 25th May, 1934.
Curtis Skene sent polo ponies to Assam. His first shipment was 40 in 1931, and in 1937 his last shipment was 85 ponies. It was tough work as he cared for them himself on the voyages. 

Born in Australia, Curtis moved to India as a tea plantation manager in Assam where he played polo in its very heartland for years; before moving back to Australia. He called his first team here the Assamanders. While in Assam he imported quite a few Australian polo ponies, sent over by his brother. A shipload in 1920, and another 50 in 1924.

His son Bob, born in India, become an internationally known polo player.  Daughter Phyllis was considered one of the world's best polo players too. Curtis  had an enviable reputation as a trainer of polo ponies, they commanded the best prices. R.M. Williams among others bought polo ponies from Curtis Skene. Curtis was still playing polo in his 70's. 

Curtis sold several polo ponies (horses) to Hawaii and America. Photo from The Referee, Sydney, March 1919. 

We sold polo ponies to the Philippines - the Elizaldes brothers, Joachin (Miguel), Manolo (Mike), Juan and Angel were great customers. The Manila Polo Club started in 1909. William Cameron Forbes, a banker and diplomat, funded the creation of an excellent field and facilities. It boomed. The Los Tamaros Polo Club started in 1937, with 35 Australian horses imported by Joachin Elizalde, one of the famous polo brothers who founded the club, ace players. 

Joachin, known better by his middle name Miguel, had been over in 1936, buying at West Maitland and playing here - dismayed at the state of our polo grounds but too polite to say other than he'd had a wonderful time and one may find the better the ground, the better the polo!  His wife, an excellent horse woman, accompanied him. The Elizaldes team thrashed the Australian team from the Hunter at the inauguration of their club. 

'In a work on "Modern Polo," by E. D. Miller, just published, we, says an exchange, get some remarks about the various breeds of ponies. Polo is a game that has a very strong hold in India, and Australia apparently leads the way in supplying India with the first-rate animals. The Maharajah of Cooch Bebar possesses the best Australian polo pony Mr. Miller has ever seen, his Highness buying bought the animal from Captain Orr Ewing for 3000 rupees. Mr. Miller says:-"Captain de Lisle, a great Indian polo player, and Captain of the Durham Light Infantry Polo Team, which is the best infantry team in India, is a great admirer of Australian ponies, and prefers them to all other for polo in the East.' He is an excellent authority on this subject. Probably he takes more trouble than anyone in India in the drilling of his team, and in the training of his own and of his brother officers' ponies. He owns a pair of beauties, and tells me they are quicker starters and faster than Arabs. These Australia ponies, with all the good points of English ponies, have legs and feet able to stand galloping on hard ground. The best racing pony now in India is Comewell, an Australian, who can beat out there all the English ponies, which are the pick of the finest English racing ponies, and fetch immense sums in India.'Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, 16th May 1896.
Polo was played in Singapore and Malaya, and still is. We supplied thousands of horses there over the years. Their polo club websites have historical info and photos.

Sultan Ibrahim, the Sultan of Johor, Malaya, bought many polo ponies from Australia and was a great player, inviting the Australian team over there to compete too. There were several notable Sultans from the various Malaysian states and prominent families who were excellent polo players. 

The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskander, and his brother, were ace players and great customers for Australian ponies too - they had the Iskander Polo Club, founded in 1923.  Also in 1923 Sultan Iskander gave some polo ponies to his new son in law Sultan Abu Bakar, to celebrate the wedding -  thus a new fan was born and Sultan Abu created the Royal Pahang Polo Club in 1926. 

When Sultan Iskander died, both clubs ceased and their fields became used for other sports. The Iskander Club later moved to Ipoh. Many of the Royal families of Malaya played polo.

Polo is now associated with the elite, once it was more broad spectrum, when anyone with the desire could buy ponies, a bit of gear, and get stuck into it. Ponies once well trained could be sold to fund more. Polocrosse in Australia took off as an alternative not requiring wealth, as one pony/horse was all that was needed for a game, not a string of ponies.


600 horses being mustered on Oakland Downs station, N.S.W.

The government did well out of it too. In 1892 parliament amended the tax on "Indian Horses" - meaning horses leaving the country, the presumption being they were all going to India -  raising it to three pounds a head. With a rebate of two pounds applying to most, it meant the government was sure of a pound a head for every horse shipped away. In today's money, millions annually. As ballast was need when shipping horses this too became cargo - usually coal was used, sometimes wool bales. More export duties for the government.



Another legacy was the influence of cultures. Australian horse traders to exotic lands brought back art, books, furnishings, music, clothing, culinary tastes, fine teas and words - especially the names of place they admired.
One suburb of Melbourne is named because of the India trade - Travancore. This was where Richard McKenna and his wife Emily owned their house Emilyville in Ascot Vale Road - he had paddocks and great stables, he trained racehorses. Not far from Flemington and Moonee Valley racecourses. McKenna got into India horse trading and started making a fortune - it became more important to him than his beloved racing. He'd sold racehorses to India, which sparked his interest. He was respected in India as he sold them the best horses he could find. He was at Emilyville in 1884, and still there after 1910. 

Hugh Glass bought the original Flemington House and sold it to horse trader Sir Henry Madden in 1906 who re-named it Travancore for the area in India he traded horses to. When the original mansion was pulled down in 1940 and the paddocks made into a suburb, it kept the name Travancore. Streets there also got Indian names - Bengal Street, Lucknow Street, Cashemere Street, Mangalore Street. The grounds were planted with tea, coffee, limes and orchards; there was a lake, summerhouse, stables, carriage houses, gym, library, ballroom larger than the Melbourne Town Hall, 24 fireplaces, servants quarters, gatehouse, boat house etc. Madden kept about 60 acres around the house. White swan from England graced the lake.

Above - Travencore, horse trader Sir Henry Madden's house in Melbourne.
Below - part of the extensive grounds.

All around Australia houses, properties, streets, roads, suburbs and towns got named after places we traded horses to. Ships too.   


Costs... The horse trader, not the shipping company, usually paid to build the stalls on a ship. For example in 1895 G. Baldock sent 250 horses from Melbourne on the Mombassa. He paid 700 pounds for the stalls to be built, and 7 pounds per head travel fee to Calcutta. The traders also supplied the grooms and fodder. After all these costs, they still made a handsome return. It was all about choosing the right horses - quality sold at quality prices. In 1892 Steve Margrett paid 3,000 pounds for stalls to be built on the Boolinda, these were pulled down and sold as scrap in India. Before the trade kicked off, ship owners would pay for stalls and supply water in the hopes of attracting horse cargo. Once it was in full swing, they had less to worry about on the bottom line.

Shipping season... August to January for India. Government buying season from 1873 was 1st October to 31st March there, our main market - but traders took horses over earlier so they'd be rested and ready - starting in August. They finished sending in January, as late in the season prices dropped too much.

This gave horse traders 6 months to source, buy, transport, handle horses, and book ships and buy fodder. 

It was an enormously busy and exciting time in India. Officers came in from the outlying areas to buy horses, private people too. 

Many ships were built for the horse trade - professional traders loved these ships as they didn't have to pay for stalls being built - they were in place. Accommodation was good.

Some ships dismantled and stowed the stalls after a trip. Some sold the stalls as scrap to clear room for cargo on the return trip. Others stowed cargo in the stalls. The big horse ships had good quarters for the many staff - traders and grooms. They had excellent ventilation for the horses - with large opening doors down to the waterline; pressure hosing systems, waste outlets to clean stalls easily, walkways for horse exercise. 

Horses on Surbiton Station, Queensland, circa 1940.
Good artillery types.
State library of Queensland.

Some buyers sold to others, for example J.S. O'Donnell at Maitland might buy local horses for Julius Gove. The order might be 20 polo ponies, 3 tried racehorses, and 120 remounts. Gove would trust in his fellow buyers choice - O'Donnell would buy the horses and ship them from Newcastle straight to Bombay, to be sold there by Gove, who lived in Melbourne but stayed in India for months over selling season.

Mobs were often walked 850 miles to the saleyards through some of the world's toughest country. Others walked even further - 1,000 miles to a railhead, to face a further long journey by train. On top of being raised on hard country and having to be self reliant, it's no wonder they gained an enviable reputation for hardiness, steadiness and intelligence.

The horse trade was immensely valuable to Australia for a good century, vital to building our country. Men like James Love of Queensland became so rich he bought many large properties and left a great legacy to his state of Queensland with a scholarship for Queenslanders and perpetual amount given to charities annually. 


Crackers! Steve Margrett, the dapper "Colonel" celebrated every Christmas in Calcutta - 50 years of them. Everyone knew when he arrived at Kidman's big horse sale each year - he loved to let off a big firecracker called a penny bunger to herald his arrival... and threw them into the gallery of onlookers throughout the sales, and into shops in Adelaide - Steve Margrett was in town! He was described as the heart and soul of that sale.


Incentive...  as well as the army in India paying good prices, the government put up enormous prizes for breeding horse classes (of good cavalry type) at shows throughout India. The shows were breath-takingly huge. In the 1870's for example, a good horse from locals, Australia, the Cape or Persia might fetch 600 rupees from government army buyers. However first prize for the breeding class at a show was usually 3,000 rupees - second and third places also paid over 1,000 rupees. These classes were open to all with stallions and mares, locals, importers, military people, private citizens. Mares were always given preference by government buyers as they could have a career on government stud farms after service, a good mare threw more consistently than a stallion.

The catch was that the government reserved the right to aquire winners - but at a price agree before the class - hence people simply named an outrageous figure if they wanted to keep the animal.

The Tolly (Tollygunge Club) a country club near Calcutta formed in 1895, put up a valuable prize for best imported remount. In 1907 Steve Margrett won it. In 1932 Jim Robb won first and second. The Tolly is still going strong. A solid white building set in extensive grounds with abundant trees, rolling grass and wildlife, it was a welcome respite from the streets.

The Tolly. source

In 1897 a grand Australian pony named Midnight, owned by the Powells, jumped an amazing 5 feet 1 inch at the Tollygunge Gymkhana - Midnight was 13 hands and half an inch tall, counting his shoes. As the ground was very chopped up the jump was probably higher. Reg Powell was riding him. In Australia he jumped 5 feet 11 inches carrying over 9 stone. Second to him at the Tolly was the pony Werocata (doubtlessly bred by Ralli) which was a hand and a half higher, but could not beat Midnight's jump. Midnight was by the pony stallion Jack Spratt out of a half bred mare. He hunted with the Melbourne Hounds for years where he learned to jump, as the jumps were huge and solid, many dangerous having barb wire etc. The Maharajah of Patiala bought Midnight for 250 pounds (4,000 rupees), an outstanding sum.

News article and photos by 'Waler' about a picnic race meeting at the Tolly

Soldiers of the 1st Duke of York's Own Lancers (Skinners Horse - the famous Yellow Boys!) Hindustani Musalman and 3rd Skinner's Horse, Musalman Rajput. 

Illustration for 'Armies of India' by Major Alfred C. Lovett; book authored by Major G.F. MacMunn, published 1911.  Lovett's art of military subjects in India is iconic. 
A lot of banter at the horse sales in Australia entertained the big crowds attending. The traders need a good horseman's eye and needed to know the market - a gunner was a wheeler or leader, a remount was sturdy, a polo pony or officers charger lighter than a troopers horse. When polo was played on ponies, you bought ponies the right size. Pig stickers were different to polo ponies. A carriage horse needed style. Conformation, colour, age - he needed to sum a horse up almost instantly - his reputation depended on it. Unsuitable horses were rejected on arrival overseas; a serious loss of investment. They had to get it right. 


Shipping horses to India from Australia usually took place between August and January. One groom for every 50 horses on a ship was considered manageable but most shippers, once established, employed a standard of one man for every 20 horses. Some had a man for every 5 horses. 

Many grooms spent a lifetime at this job, enjoying their regular trips away and the good regard of all. It was hard work but a good living. They were invariably Australians as no-one else would get in to muck out the horses. Sometimes other nationalities were employed to feed and water. 

It was a busy job, first feed round was at 4 a.m. There were four feeding and water rounds, and mucking out, hosing, walking horses on ships which allowed this, and grooming. On long voyages horses occasionally fell while asleep, and had to be gotten to their feet in the small stalls. 

In severe weather grooms came into their own, bravely going to the assistance of terrified horses, and helping the fallen back to their feet, capturing those whose stalls broke. At times of shipwreck they did all they could to save the horses lives. When horses died, grooms were badly affected, many reports of their distress in the papers.

Up to the mid 1870's Australia had immigration in pretty much unlimited numbers - unemployment was a problem. Seasonal work meant many were out of work when shearing and cropping cut out. The horse season offered a chance at work, it started as other work cut out. Due to rumours saying there was plenty of work in India, many grooms signed on for a one way trip. The pay was low - ten to 20 pounds a trip - for arduous work starting at 4 am. Payment in advance meant some drank the money before leaving and arrived destitute. The result was there became an influx of unemployed Australian men in India during the 1850's to 1870's. Many felt betrayed by promises of well paid work on plantations, railways etc from some shippers, that proved fairytales. With great difficulty these men had to beg money get back home. Many were too proud to beg and became despised as loafers, although worked at anything for survival. Some never returned.

Articles in the papers, from unfortunates who'd ventured over as a one-way groom, meant people became more wary. Good professional shippers were coming into their own and paid better rates plus always included return travel. 

It became a vocation for many, with the off season being a time they could break and handle horses for the shippers, some mustered up country and drove horses to sales and depots for handling

Countless thousands of fine horsemen were employed in the horse trade. Grooms, also called stockmen, and sometimes ostlers, acquired a good reputation. A surprising amount of women became grooms on the horse ships.  

On board... 
Ships carried anything from one to 1,400 horses. The horses stood all the way, tied in narrow stalls. Many ships were especially built and fitted for the horse trade. Horses could be taken for a walk daily while their stall was cleaned, on the walkway or deck near their stalls. On some ships walking was not an option. Australians taking their horses over to war (WW1) were particular about walking their horses. Japanese fitted bigger stalls on steamers than others, they were very particular about horse care and successfully transported mares and foals often. Bigger stalls were regarded as dangerous by the traders due to horses falling and being smashed about in cyclones. The Japanese somehow avoided any damage to their horses and always took plenty of grooms.

For horses to India six gallons of water (about 23 litres) per day per horse was carried, and 30 pounds (about 14 kilos) of fodder per day allowed. The fodder market was huge for the horse trade, and supported many farmers. 

Steam ships could condense fresh water from sea water (part of the process to wash the motors at the start of the trip, steam people would know). Two condensers were always carried in case one broke, as well as spare supplies of fresh water in case. Engine failure would mean the condensors could not operate. Sailing ships of course had to carry loads of water. Stopping en route for more water was standard on most trade routes.

Horses were fed from feed bins and watered from buckets or troughs for some time before shipping to get them used to this. Those not container educated would eat their stall rails instead of realising food and water was in containers - tar was used on the rails if this happened - it also stopped boredom vices of crib-biting and windsucking forming. 

Loading on board ship could be by sling, or later and more for valuable racehorses, a special box lifted by crane. Early attempts at box loading, by winch, were singlarly unsuccessful, wild horses becoming panicky. A ramp with high sides was the usual loading method, introduced about 1881. Ramps were very successful - a tame lead pony was used, the horses following it on board - often horses being shipped only had a headstall on for the first time in the yards at the dock. Their first leading "lesson' was onto the ship. Many lead ponies became old friends to the horse buyers, one little chap called Ginger at Port Melbourne was known to all. Another bigger Ginger led horses on in Port Adelaide. These lead ponies worked 6 months of the year loading horses, then had the rest of the year off in comfort. They were valuable workers. 

Coconut matting was laid down to prevent slipping, also when horses were being walked while at sea.

Where ships couldn't dock due to shallow water or heavy seas, the horses were lifted over the side by sling and lowered into small waiting boats, such at Calcutta at times, at Madras, and at Ujina in Japan. Sling design became vastly improved. 

Breeders got famous too. Saleyards, ports, shipping lines, auctioneers. Railways and rail yards were built especially to transport horses - Queensland owes its vast network of rail to the horse trade. Massive ports put in.

Jack Alderson with a good Waler in Calcutta, India, 1929. State Library of Queensland.

Queensland horse dealers in Calcutta 1929. State Library of Queensland.


SALES were held all over the country. Queensland became the major supplier at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Most horses were sold unbroken and unhandled - often called 'bounders' in India. Others had basic handling, some were completely trained - reflected in the price. Many good horsemen liked their horses untouched, so they could make it themselves - it also made them affordable. Others were happy to pay for broken in horses. Some traders such as Stephen Ralli and Jim Robb sent entire shiploads of well trained horses away as ordered, both remounts and artillery - expensive animals. 

Most horses buyers like Steve Margrett would hop onto any horse in the remount saleyards in India to prove they were tractable, and once ridden bareback around the yard would say the price should go up now it was broken in! Game as Ned. McKenna, Gibney, Margrett and other good buyers  liked horses with plenty of bone - they refused to buy "weeds," nor would weeds get a prize at any show they judged at - India buyers were popular as horse show judges at the major shows in Australia too.

Pig-stickers... Australian horses won prizes at notable Indian horse shows. Polo ponies and pigsticking horses became famous too.The grey mare Granite was a grand pig sticker. She belonged to Lt-Col Douglas Gray, a great horseman. Pig stickers had to have tremendous courage, stamina, speed and agility - it was the most dangerous horse 'sport' - hunting large wild boars (never sows) that had ruined crops and often killed people - armed only with a spear. Noted pigstickers said Walers were the best.  The book 'Modern Pig Sticking' by Major Wardrop, published in 1914, speaks of his great love and admiration for Walers.

Gray with Hermione and Granite, his Walers that were courageous pig-stickers, from above link.

illustration from Maj. Wardrop's book.

Horses in McPhie and Company's saleyards, Toowoomba, Queensland, 1936.
Photo: Queensland State Library.


Ports of departure, Australia ...

Victoria: Port Melbourne, Geelong, Williamstown.
New South Wales: Sydney, Newcastle, Port Stephens.
Queensland: Brisbane (Pinkenba and private wharf on the Brisbane River), Townsville, Cairns, Cooktown, Bowen, Rockhampton, Gladstone (Port Curtis), Bundaberg.
Western Australia: Fremantle (Perth), Geraldton (Champion Bay), Bunbury, Wyndham, Cossack (previously Tsien Tsin, name change 1872. Now a ghost town in the Port Walcott area). Port Walcott.
South Australia: Adelaide (Port Adelaide), Port Augusta.
Northern Territory: Darwin (Port Darwin).

Tasmania: Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Emu Bay, George Town.

Ports above were used for shipping export horses. Other ports were used to ship horses for us for war, chiefly the Boer War and WW1 e.g. Albany; covered elsewhere by others. And even more ports for coastal shipping etc.

Queensland was blessed with many good ports and good horses. Those inland were sometimes overlanded down to South Australia (some great stories and characters, and horses being swapped and dropped here and there!). Brisbane and Townsville were unsafe, shallow ports until the horse trade started and demand led to the building of decent wharves and dredging etc took place - horse trading meant these places getting big decent port facilities, vital for all trade. Likewise rail systems went in to bring horses from sale-yards to ports. Horses first went from Gladstone in 1859, for Captain O'Connell, grandson of Captain William Bligh - the same year Queensland was declared a separate state. O'Connell had horses only, no cattle, on his pioneering station of Riverston. Riverston was the name the family gave to their properties.

'P. E. Hawkins on horse 'Shamrock' at Lyrian Downs, Cloncurry. Shamrock came 2nd in the camp draft.' 

A magnificent Queensland horse. Cloncurry horse sales were held from 1908, horses from the Gulf sold there too.

State Library of Queensland

 Mob of yarded  horses, Newcastle Waters Station
Northern Territory, 1930.

Territory - Central Australia - few horses went from Port Darwin, most were overlanded to South Australian ports by droving and rail. Important and vast horse breeding areas. A depot at Port Darwin would have helped, one was mooted in 1868-9 but due to various reasons didn't appear. Lord Napier and Lord Seymour Fitzgerald, highly experienced cavalry men who had campaigned Australian horses over immense distances, were keen for a Port Darwin depot, Napier even wanted army ships to bring horses over to India from Darwin. They were outvoted by seat polishers in army admin.

Tasmania - from the 1830's a huge trade for decades - some to India and elsewhere - but most to mainland breeders and NZ.  Petered out dramatically after Federation, 1901, when Tasmania was no longer able to control import/export duties etc. After WW1 Walers were brought in rather than out (from an interview I did in Launceston in 2004, with an old farmer & WW2 soldier in his 90's who'd attended sales at Remount Road of Walers brought over by ship from the mainland, the best you could buy he said, tireless, great workers and for riding; he'd lived on a dairy farm near Deloraine). In 1845 a cavalry officer authorised to buy for the East India service, arrived in Hobart to buy horses.

Western Australia had a tremendous trade. Tsien Tien and Cossack were both ships - a small settlement in the north west was named after first one, then the other. Horses were shipped from Cossack regularly. Of interest, Tsien Tien the ship took 50 horses from WA for export in 1862. She was well known in WA and had taken parties with livestock including horses to the north west. The port of Cossack, being on a tidal creek, was eventually forsaken. While coastal horse trade used other ports along the vast WA coastline, not all were not used to take commercial loads out - often taking the horses to Fremantle instead for shipping on bigger vessels. Western Australia started early, a great trade on many small ships from the 1840's. It went into the late nineteenth century, then petered out. Geraldton could be a dangerous place to moor at times. Fremantle, the port of the state capital, Perth, was an extremely busy port.

South Australia started exporting early, in the 1850's sending to India, Mauritius etc. It remained a large trade for over a century, due in later times to Sir Sid Kidman's active promotion of the horse trade through his famous sales and trips to India. Traders such as Stephen Ralli attracted purpose-built horse ships to call there, but horses were often railed to Victoria. Jim Robb also got them to call at Port Adelaide assuring them of a full load. The main reason was the government being tardy about setting up port facilities for large ships - ships wasted a lot of time waiting to berth. Many more horses could have been exported if they had been as proactive as other places. W.A. suffered the same problem of politicians doing too little to help trade by improving ports, rail to ports, and having livestock depots. Many S.A. horses went by rail and ship to W.A. for the domestic trade - the Rasheed Brothers had this trade well in hand. 

Adelaide Steamship Company was castigated in the news in 1889 for taking more care loading and unloading horses from ships than women and children, who had to wait for the horses to be taken care of first, and which took hours, they took very good care of horses. The Tenasserim took 50 horses to Calcutta from Port Adelaide in 1850 for breeder Captain John Ellis; said to be the first load to India from that port.


Countries & ports of arrival 
for our horses 

Aden (mostly en route to Suakim)
Burma (Myanmar), Rangoon.
Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Colombo.
China, Shanghai, Tsiensin, Newchang, Tangu/Taku (for Pekin), Canton, Wei-Hai-Wei, Foochow (Fuzhou); umpteen others.
Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Batavia, Samarang, Sourabya, Belawin Deli (Java), Denpassar (Bali).
Egypt, Port Said.

French Somaliland, Africa, Djibouti.
Eastern Cape, Africa, East London.

England, London,
Fiji, Levuka, Suva, Labassa.
German East Africa (Tanzania), Dar es Salaam.
German South West Africa (Namibia),Angra Pequena (now Luderitz).

Germany, Hamburg, Bremerhaven.
Guam, Port of Guam.
Hawaii, Honolulu.
India, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon.
Japan, Ujina, Yokohama, Kobe, Tokyo.
Hong Kong
New Caledonia, Noumea
New Hebrides, Port Vila
Norfolk Island
New Guinea, Port Moresby, Madang. 
Mauritius, Port Louis, 
Manchuria (now part of China), Port Arthur.
Marquesas (part of French Polynesia).
New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington, Otago, Dunedin (Port Chalmers and Port Dunedin), Invercargill, Lyttleton, Canterbury, Bay of Islands, Hotitika.
Philippines, Manila
Portugese East Africa (Mozambique), Beira.
Reunion, St Denis.
Russia, Leningrad, Vladivostok.
Siam (Thailand), Bangkok.
Singapore (was part of Malaya until 1965, a British colony).
South Africa, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town.
Straits Settlements.
Sudan, Suakim, Port Sudan.
Tahiti, Port of Tahiti (Papeete).
Tonga, Port of Nukualofa.
Turkey, Alexandretta.
United States of America, San Francisco (California).
Vietnam, Saigon, Hai Phong.

Numerous WW1 and WW2 ports, covered by military ppl.


Japan, Dutch East Indies, Siam, Abyssinia, New Caledonia covered in separate blogs.


Etymology of change
Historical and modern names of some places we traded to
One uses the name of the era 


Aden (once a British colony) ........ Yemen
Cathay .............................................China
Ceylon, Kingdom of Kandy............Sri Lanka
Copang/Coupang (Timor).................Kupang
Friendly Islands.............................Tonga
Dutch East Indies............................Indonesia
German South West Africa..............Namibia
Ile de France....................................Mauritius
Isle de Bourbon................................Réunion
Navigator Islands..........................Samoa
New Hebrides................................Vanuatu
Port de France.......Noumea, New Caledonia
Port Nicholson...................Wellington, NZ
Port Raffles/Port of Raffles.........Singapore
Portugese East Africa................Mozambique
Sandwich Islands..........................Hawaii


Bounder........... unbroken and wild horse
India trader............Horse buyer/trader
India trade.............overseas horse trade
Griffin.......unraced, unbroken pony of unknown breeding
Gunner, wheeler, leader.........artillery horses

Note - the term 'Griffin' is used in some places in modern times, but has changed to mean a Thoroughbred in its maiden race.

Russia... a small market for obvious reasons - being so far away and having plenty of good horses themselves - but the Russians did buy a few from us, notably Thoroughbreds for breeding racehorses, hacks and military horses. The Russian government bought a horse from Australia in 1898 for stud duties, this horse was bred in NZ, a stallion named Pounamu of impeccable lineage, being by Nordenfeldt, he by Musket which also sired the immortal Carbine; out of Lady Beryl.

They also captured a couple of thousand Walers in the Russo-Japanese war when their Navy caught Australian and Japanese horse ships as prizes, some of these horses were taken to Vladivostock. 

Russians bought many horses at the Kalgan horse sales (Kalgan is also called Zhangjiakou) in 1904 in particular. Kalgun is 110 miles north-west of Pekin (Beijing) - where Tea Horse Road horses were bought and sold, particularly Mongolian ponies. It was the old caravan route to Russia from China in the imperial horse pastures - vast grasslands - a gate-town in the Great Wall; the Great Wall has its highest point there. An important place for horses for centuries. 

"The horse fair just outside the Mongol side of the Great Wall at Chan-kia-kow, and which is held every morning on an esplanade there, is a most exciting scene... We do not doubt it, or the qualities of the Mongol ponies... It appears that the Chinese are invariably the brokers between them and the purchasers of their ponies..." Alexander Mitchie, The Siberian Overland Route, Pekin to St Petersburg, published 1863. Mitchie and James Grant travelled this route in 1861-2. Mitchie's book describes the horse sales at Kalgun, tea caravans, Russians travelling to Pekin in carriages, horses and ponies along the way etc.

Russians stationed in China had for decades bought Australian horses and ponies for racing and hacks, so were familiar with them; some were taken home.

Russians were trying to get a railway to Kalgan from Moscow built in the early twentieth century. It's possible a few Australian horses were among the horses the Russians bought at Kalgan - nearby Pekin (port of Taku) being a regular port of call for our ships, they took a few horses most trips.

The Russians also captured a good Australian stud stallion, Hyman, from the Germans in WW1, at the Trakehner stud.

Russians were admired here for being great horsemen - the way to an Australian's heart before motors came along was to be good with horses. Horses from the Don were praised in the press, reports on Russian horse-breeding appeared in the news regularly. Russians migrated here at times. A Russian horse-breaker from Moscow was among the convicts sent to Australia details

Travellers reports always praised the horses in Vladivostock in glowing terms. Our trading ships finished their Asia run at Vladivostock, taking wool, wheat, frozen meat etc, many were ships that also carried horses, usually dropped off en route through Asia.

In October 1901 the British army bought 16,000 horses from Russia to send to the war in South Africa. At the end of that war, horse trader Alfred Cotton went over to South Africa, he was buying up horses to bring back to Australia, to sell on, mostly to India. He said the Russian horses stood the work best of all there, and were getting the biggest prices from authorities at wars end. High praise indeed, as Cotton was a top supplier and had sent the best of the Australian horses there. In 1903 at a government Select Committee looking into getting foreign horses to improve Queensland horses, he recommended getting Russian horses. Bio on Cotton further down blog. It is probably these in fact were the Hungarian horses bought by the British for that war (shall investigate and update).

In 1911 the Russian government sent a strong contingent of horses to the Olympia Horse Show in England, which was held during Coronation week. The  horses were army remounts and trotters, and much admired, and written up here.

Russians bought Thoroughbreds (Australian-bred) from us - such as the outstanding horse Great Scot - a chestnut son of Lochiel and Scotch Mary which won the Australian Cup and other good races. His sire Lochiel had beaten Carbine in a race thus becoming a legend himself. Great Scot was taken to our hearts as a valiant champion.

The Thoroughbred Great Scot source
Great Scot was bought by noted horse trader Dick McKenna in 1903 for 2,000 guineas - a huge sum. McKenna had been given unlimited money to buy a good racehorse for the Hon. A.A. Apcar (later Sir) of India.

Great Scot was sent to India and covered himself in glory by winning two
Viceroy's Cups, 1903 and 1904 - the Viceroy's Cup was the equivalent of the Melbourne Cup in international prestige. News articles here followed his career with lengthy, emotional reporting. Australians were nuts over great horses. He won all prizes at the Bangalore horse show.

From India Great Scot was sold to England where he won more races.
There was an uproar of disbelief in Australian news when in 1913 he failed to get a prize at the King's horse show. He went to stud briefly in England then was bought by Russia in 1913 for 1,000 guineas, to go to a government stud to be put over half-bred mares for military horses. Thus, using a proven stayer over half breds was the same method used to create Walers, and the same method used in Prussia-Germany.

Figaro, Blackadder, Wisemac and other Australian racehorses were also bought by the Russians prior to the Bolshevik era, in the early twentieth century, to breed racehorses and military horses. They were bought from England, having gone there from India. In 1937 the Soviet government, which was improving horse breeding, paid 100,000 pounds for 127 Thoroughbred mares and stallions from England, with a further 27 Arabian horses from Lady Wentworth for 30,000 pounds article.

Dear old Great Scot, a flashy fellow of three white stockings and blaze standing 16.2 hh, was keenly reported on here, the Russians kindly letting us know how he was - even in the midst of war! - in 1916 it was reported he was well thought of and cared for, at a Russian government stud but not bred to Thoroughbreds and private breeders were also sending mares to him. In the Leader (Melbourne) in 1918, it was reported Great Scot had thrown some good 2 year olds. Hilariously, in the horse-mad spirit of the day, the opinion was given the Bolsheviks must not be as bad as they were portrayed for they looked after horses! article and articles on horse racing in Russia  showing the respect for horsemen and this article tells how similar it was to racing in Australia.

In WW1 Australians on Walers fought alongside Russians on their horses in Mesopotamia and Persia when our 1st Wireless Squadron supported Baratov's Russian Force (1st Caucasian Division). They had a lot of good horses there which stood the work as well as ours. Several photos in the AWM (Australian War Memorial).

In 1917 were discussions in the news referring to an article by Mr. de Pravohensky of Petrograd, about the breeding of light horses for military purposes - this man knew the Orloff trotters. He lamented the Norfolk trotter or cob had been lost to the modern hackney, which was bred for show, and to race trotters; neither of which had stamina, endurance or the temperament of the old Norfolks. Many here would have agreed wholeheartedly. Petrograd of course is the area where the famous Orlov horses are bred. 

In 1914 also during the war, a gallant Russian cavalry charge at Balaclava was written up, the Nizhny Hussars, which included  the famous Horse Guards who guarded the Czar article. Papers were full of praise for the small but strong Russian cavalry horses, throughout the war. The Russian prayer for their horses before battle was published, while noting how Russians trusted their horses in times of peace too, it being such a vast country where, like Australia, a person and their horse were often alone.

Russian film The Horseman was ardently watched here in 1954.

Russian horses, the odd one came here, usually via England. For example in 1890 a black "Orlov roadster from Russia" 16hh, with the inappropriate name of Caledonia, was in the stallion parade at Kirks. 

As Canada was a short sail to Russia, it was a good trade for Canadian horse breeders and continued late. In 1928 for example, over 10,000 horses were sold from Canada to Russia.

Straits Settlements... Often a destination for horses leaving Australia. They were the British crown colony of Malacca, Dinding, Penang (also called Prince of Wales Island) and Singapore which went from 1868 until 1946. Christmas Island and Cocos Island were in the Settlements.

These days Singapore is independent, Christmas and Cocos Islands with Australia and the rest with Malaysia. One needs to look for Straits Settlements as a destination when researching; it was a very good trade.

The Straits Settlements, a British Crown Colony, bought a lot of horses and ponies from us.

Germany &  German South West Africa... in 1908 Germany bought horses for their colony of German South West Africa. In papers at the time here it was called erroneously German East Africa, but once the destination port was known correct news went out.

German South West Africa was a Portuguese, then British, then German colony, belonging to Germany 1884-1915; now called Namibia. 

German officers went looking at horses at Chartres Towers in Queensland, the heart of Queensland Waler country in 1908. Wolfgang Schmidt of Baulkham Hills N.S.W. was chosen as one agent for buying up young horses for German orders for army remounts, in 1908. He bought some from around the Hawkesbury area, all were taken to Castle Hill - near his home - for handling and breaking before being sent away. An interesting character who at times ran a riding school, Schmidt dabbled in horse trading. 

In 1908 420 horses went over on the Dorset, closely followed by another 200 on the Everton Grange, part of an order for 2,000 for German South West Africa. Both ships went to Angra Pequena (now called Luderitz) the port of German South West Africa. The horses were very favourably reported on. It appears no more were bought, perhaps due to matters on the ground there (grim, atrocities).

The year before in 1907 a load of artillery horses was sent to Hamburg, Germany, from Queensland. German agents came and sourced these horses in February, on advice they were bought from a tick free area - for a while the Qld govt stopped horses crossing the Tweed into Qld, so ticks would not be given to any horses the Germans chose. It was not reported how this trial shipment was received (will post if found).

There was a lot of interest in Germany as many early Australian settlers were German/Prussian. There was an early British-Australian immigration department in Hamburg where immigrants were given information about Australia in German and an assisted passage available (same as the 10 pound poms) to make it affordable to come out. 

There were regular reports here of the Imperial (German/Prussian) horse breeding from the 1840's, and on. In 1869 the Trakehnen stud was discussed. Various antics of Royalty and their horses reported (being of course the same family as the Royals in England). Travellers sent reports back to our newspapers, for example in 1882 a lengthy report on how they trained their cavalry horses and men, and the breeding studs for cavalry and artillery horses. 

In 1884 lengthy reviews and quotes from Count Georg von Lehndorff's books Horse Breeding Reminiscences (published in English) and extracts in English from his Manual of Horse Breeding (Master of Horse to the Imperial German Emperor) - his ideas and discussion of Thoroughbred lines being avidly read here, where horse breeding was an obssession. No doubt many breeders here, producing Walers from top staying Thoroughbred lines, wisely nodded in agreement with the Count! They would have sympathised with his wife who once served oats instead of soup at dinner, so much horse talk filled the house! 

In 1910 our papers had lengthy discussions about Burchard von Oettingen's book Horse Breeding in Theory and Practise - the director at the Trakehnen stud at that time, mentions of the East Prussian Studbook etc, he didn't like Arabs; like Lehendorff, Oettingen chose TB's proven in racing and importantly draughts proven in work, not bought on looks. Australian breeders of military horses by then were losing their affection for the TB, which was changing, this was pointed out in articles, also the disagreements about the method of raising young stock.

1895 reports of a big cattle and horse show at Hamburg where it was hoped Australia could show animals (can't find it happening). 1899 a good report by the Australian Reik family on cattle and horses in Germany, while on holiday there, spoke in glowing terms of the Friesian and Oldenburg horses. Many others similar. In 1908 reports of the German studs mentioned the draughts used for artillery horses - Shires, Clydes, and Germanic/French/Dutch breeds.  They also made excellent work horses, the same with artillery Walers.

In 1898 a very expensive Australian TB, Carnage (Nordenfeldt - Mersey) was purchased by Germany for stud duties, price 10,000 guineas. Mersey being the dam of the immortal Carbine. Carnage was bred in NZ, in fact. In 1899 a traveller to the stud at Graditz (near Berlin) where Count Lehndorff, world famous horseman ran things, and to Trakehnen (Prussia) mentioned Carnage was among the stallions there, and spoke highly of the studs. The Count, admired more than anyone in the horse world, was a keen racing man and had ridden winners himself - his first in 1851, his last in 1879. It transpired Carnage wasn't good at throwing top racehorses, but he threw good military horses. In June 1914 an article mentioning the Count said Australia needed a man like him to breed our army horses, and that he'd done more for entente cordial between Britain and Germany than anyone.

In 1905 Dr Mackellar M.L.C. of  NSW went over to study German horse breeding, and met the Count. It seemed TB and a dash of Arab was their breeding ideal at that stage. They'd bought super expensive Irish TB stallions. Mackellar went as India complained our horse quality was dropping off - it was because we were selling giant amounts of good horses to Japan that year - they were paying well. He brought back photos ... news report from Mackellar

Anyway the Germans liked our horses - thousands had been bought by them for the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 - one order was 9,000 horses - it appears this was filled; more went - making a total of some 15,000 horses so far found searching through archives. At the same time we were sending horses to other nations at the Boxer Rebellion, Boer War, Philippines, India for the Sudan war raging throughout the horn of Africa, Dutch East Indies etc. Demand for horses was huge. A July 1901 edition of German newspaper Kreutz Zeitung praised the Australian horses in an article sent by their Pekin correspondant.

In 1902 Germany shipped many of these Boxer Rebellion horses to Germany from China at considerable cost. They let the Chinese choose some chargers before taking their Australian horses to Germany, landing them at Bremerhaven (400 went on the steamer Alesia) where the geldings went to Lockstedt near Hamburg, a military base. The mares were sent to East Prussia for remount breeding. Germany's best military horses were bred there, so they had a high opinion of Walers. In 1912 the Kaiser was chuffed that horses from this stud performed brilliantly at the Olympics. Perhaps it was the magic ingredient, ahem.

When German agents were looking at horses for sale in 1900 in Australia they were very particular and chose wisely. Where possible they personally hopped on and tried the horses out, breeders didn't mind this as they paid for quality. Herr Von Ploenies, the German Imperial Consul, oversaw the horse purchases before they were shipped, travelling to Bowen to check many of them out with veterinary surgeon Mr Irving and Mr Breymann. They also took care with travel arrangements, looking after their horses very well and cussing roundly when our railways were not brisk enough. Good horsemen who cared every step of the way. McDougall and Co bought 500 good horses for them in the Warwick area. Glasscock bought thousands in Victoria.

There was strong competition between the English and German agents for good horses here at Boxer Rebellion time so prices soared. The South Australian government feted the German buyers - great customers. 1900 was a year everyone wanted horses including ourselves. 

Thousands went to the Germans  from SA, NSW, Vic and Qld all in the year 1900 - on steamers the Kirklee which carried 210, the Claverdon 300, Ness 585, the Boveric 600, the Ras Dara 250, the Willehad hundreds, the Guthrie hundreds, the Chingtu 160, the Isleworth 400 hundred, and the Hyson a massive load of 925 horses. Tens of thousands of tons of fodder for them was shipped with the horses etc. A contract for 3,000 horses to be supplied within 2 months was filled, these were the horses on above steamers.

Ness was caught by severe heat on the way, in Torres Strait - and half her horses went mad and died. It was terrible, and 20 of the crew were badly affected. The Captain deviated his course to escape the heat, went through the Malacca Straits and stood out in the Pacific Ocean to get breezes to save the poor horses. The Captain landed them at Taku. He spent 10 days looking about Tongu and Tientsin, shocked at the widespread devastation from the war and the barbaric savagery of the Russians which the British were trying to stop, and the looting by all. At one stage he hid on a beach with his revolver for a night as fighting went on.

Herr Breeman, elected a member of the German Empire Judging Commission, wrote to the Agricultural Gazette in April 1901 praising the Australian horses they'd bought in China as being the best of all horses there, saying 500 would be sent back to Germany, recommending the German army to buy more from Australia. Reports whinging about the horses in Germany were untrue he said, adding that Vice Consul Grunow in Australia, a vet, checked the horses before leaving. 

Nine of the steamers mentioned had the horses for the Germans loaded by shipping firm Weber, Lohmann Co., which reported in the news when the horses were landed in China. Five other steamers went through other shippers. Pit, Son and Badgery also bought horses in NSW for the Germans (theirs went on the Gutherie, a vet report on arrival praised them for being landed in splendid condition), while Campbell and Son bought in Melbourne and A. J. Cotton in Bowen and throughout Queensland. All horses for the Germans had to be broken in prior to sailing. They paid handsomely, 40 pounds a horse - the British paid us 14 pounds at the time. 

Mr T. (Tom) Watson, the A.J.C. starter, had a contract for 10,000 horses for the Germans too, he sourced many in Queensland including at Gundagai. He asked for all to be ridden at a canter before buying, and paid whatever was asked - good prices. By August 1900 he had most of his order in hand, and being shipped.

It was reported Count Waldersee, Supreme Allied Commander in the Boxer Rebellion, was greatly pleased with the Australian horses.

German-Australian Line steamers ran regularly from Australia to Hamburg and Bremen (on the same trips usually calling at Antwerp, Belgium and Rotterdam, Holland), they had big cargoes and usually carried a few horses on each trip but it's likely these were for Java or Singapore or Hong Kong - various ports on the way - for example the steamer Flensburg went to Hambu
rg in 1901 with horses but was stopping at Java en route, same with the Essen in 1895 which went to Hamburg but papers reported she dropped 58 horses at Singapore on the way and a further 58 at Colombo. 

Very few went all the way (will add as found) bearing in mind few cargoes itemised... the Weimar took one horse to Bremen in 1902, the Harburg took 26 horses to Hamburg in 1900. 20 horses on the Lothringen, July 1911, to Bremen - a load of Schmidt's jumpers and a brown horse without a hair of white for the Crown Prince, by Skopos out of Welcome, that was champion at Camden Show; and champion pony racer Hauriki. 4 horses on the Cassel, January 1912, to Bremen, another load for Schmidt in 1914 as below.

The 1911 shipment included nine show horses from John Phillips of Mt Kelag Wollongong, bought by Schmidt, they were TB's or by TB sires. Although he was called Lieutenant Schmidt at times it's not known if this was an affectation or if he'd been in the German army. All were at least 16 hands high. He bought more from other people and took the 20 horses to Germany in one load. He personally popped them all over 4 foot 6 inch jumps to try them out, as was his way, Schmidt liked to try horses over big jumps whether they'd jumped before or not, a rather gung-ho chap. He rode to hounds.

January 1914 on the steamer Alrich, a new cargo ship built in Bremen, Australia sent a load of horses over for the German government - jumpers, hacks, breeders and chargers. This was thanks to an outstanding horse named Merman and our old mate Schmidt.
The Thoroughbred Merman
by Grand Flaneur out of Seaweed, foaled 1892.
 A typical stayer, tall and lean, he won over 4,000 metres in first class company. 
Mr Jersey was the name used by Lillie Langtry to race horses.

'The Australian Horse.
That cable that came from the old country the other day about a soldier chap wanting to buy Mrs. Langtry's racehorse, Merman, for a charger wasn't bad. 
A light-legged, pampered thoroughbred like Merman wouldn't be of much account as a charger, He'd look all right, maybe, to dodge about at a review in the park, and so on ; but if it came to right down blood and thunder business, he'd just waste away like a sucked lolly...'
Sydney Stock and Station Journal 18th October 1898
Merman had died at Hanover that year, and an Australian replacement was sought. The Germans looked at our horses with great interest. 

Merman had been bred in Australia. He was shipped to England, bought by famous beauty Lillie Langtry for whom he won the prestigious Goodwood Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Cesarewitch etc. A great staying racehorse and immensely tough (his trainer praised him for never breaking down under a hard regime) but he didn't do much at stud; hence the Germans got him at a good price. They had great success putting him over half-breds for cavalry horses.

The breeding horses Schmidt sent over on this 1914 load were mostly very expensive Thoroughbreds to be used for breeding cavalry and artillery horses, most purchased over December 1913 and included stallions Parsee (Derby winner, Schmidt paid 3,000 guineas for him), Gyarran, Dunmore, Glee Boy, Hyman and Cadonia (Sydney Cup winner), all bought for the Germans by good old Wolfgang with noted horse trader A. J. Morton arranging the purchase of Hyman for 1750 guineas on behalf of Count Sponeck of the Trakehnen Stud. Schmidt also bought the good galloper Nuwara Eliya, a grey (white) reportedly for a German stud where only white horses were bred. Parsee went over first, the Count in charge of the stud where he went thought highly of him hence the others were bought - Schmidt was given a big sum to spend and he shopped for Thoroughbreds. They followed breeding methods used to create Walers too, TB's over draught crosses etc. Cadonia had a bad temperament which was politely pointed out, but Schmidt liked that in him, saying he was a stayer and that bad natured horses threw tough progeny (a bad natured horse would never be used to breed Walers, it would be culled). 

Schmidt had moved here from Germany in 1904 (bio below). A follow up report was published in June 1914 when Mr Schmidt was back in Sydney - he said people's opinions of Cadonia differed - one presumes sensible horse people were not a fan! although he had a letter from Graf (Count) Georg von Lehndorff approving of him. If genuine, one of the last acts by this grand old horseman as the Count died in April that year, he doubtlessly thought the temperament was caused by humans great horsey info about the Count. 

Schmidt reported Cadonia and Hyman were at the Prussian Imperial stud at Graditz mostly going over TB mares, and Parsee, highly regarded, was standing at Trakehnen in East Prussia going over heavy mares. Russia later annexed this area. The story of this stud, like that of the extraordinarily brave von Lehndorff family, is remarkable. 

The famous stud at Trakehnen
In August 1914 Schmidt travelled to Yenda Station to see a TB stallion running there, Flaxen, and arranged to buy him, with Lewis Nathan putting up funds on the strength of Schmidt assuring him the German government wanted good horses, they bought many more - but war had been declared - our government stopped the horses leaving. Left seriously in debt, Lewis Nathan tried racing some of the horse to recoup losses, but went bankrupt.  

Another report published in 1920 said Cadonia broke a leg (so much for a vicious nature being toughness) and was destroyed in 1919, the good horse Hyman was captured by the Russians in the war and not heard of since; and much loved Parsee was at stud at the Trakehnen stud and in splendid condition and had thrown many beautiful foals.

After WW2 the Trakehnen stud had been destroyed by Russians; a handful of the horses saved on the Great Trek, by their dedicated handlers who led them in incredibly gruelling conditions, losing many along the way, to safety. But when war ended even some of these, like all good German horse studs, were robbed by Americans; the best horses taken to the USA. In November 1946 as they took 373 horses across the Atlantic on the inauspiciously named ship Zona Gale, a storm broke most of the deck stalls. 21 of the horses were swept overboard and lost. Many others were badly injured. The storm would not abate so the ship went to Plymouth to wait it out. Many horses their army 'requisitioned' during and after the war that were Thoroughbreds registered with the German Stud Book, were refused registration by the Jockey Club in America. American thieves, mostly army men, had taken them back to the USA under the guise of "cavalry horses." Many of these stolen TB's were of top French, Hungarian and Polish lines, in turn, some had been stolen by Germans during the war and taken to Germany. Others were top class German horses and English bred horses, stolen from Germans, just as they stole the best warmbloods. These lines, the best in the world, were hence lost. Thieves never prosper. Sadly, in this case, the damage was immeasurable.

German horses... 
1890. A German Coaching stallion named Vulcan was standing at Mr. John Hay's property "Coolangatta," Shoalhaven, N.S.W.  He was also shown successfully.

In 1890 a recently imported German coaching stallion was paraded through the streets of Bathurst, he was bred by Mr. Lubin, Oldenburg; he was bought from Germany by Mr Edwards.

1896 three Oldenburgs imported by Mr Louis Breymann on the steamer Solingen to NSW, were sold by Pitt, Badgery and Son; said to be good heavy coacher types.

In 1897 among stallions shown in Sydney were German Coaching stallions Nabob and Gilbert, and mare Jasmund. Nabob won against all comers.

1901 three Oldenburg stallions imported on the steamer Darmstadt to Sydney, probably by Breymann who did much to bring good German sheep, cattle and horses here. A good man and highly esteemed, he moved here from Germany and settled in Sydney where he raised his little family. He died in 1901, at 65 years old.

1902 the Oldenburg stallion Othello which had earlier been imported by Weber, Lohmann and Co. with Breymann, was sold to James McCoy of Bombala-Monaro area, NSW. Othello was exhibited at the Sydney Show and said by the judges to be 'the handsomest horse of his class in Australia.' He was described as a perfect roadster, 16 and a half hh, black, 9 inches of bone. He was bred by Seben Peters, Lysanderpoler; his sire Elginhardt I.

1905 Oldenburg stallion Laban, imported with Othello, was put on view at the famous John Bull Horse Bazaar, Adelaide. A handsome stallion of good temperament and bone. Bred by G. Tholen of Hullenerfehn, foaled in 1898photo and details

1907 imported Oldenburg stallion Gilbert was on Lue station, NSW, owned by Vincent Dowling. He'd been imported in 1896 with Jasmund.

Some were sent bush to breed remounts. An Oldenburg named Corporal, described as a German coaching stallion, ran on Bangheet station in north-west NSW with many mares. Out of a chestnut Waler mare there with a blaze, he threw a black colt with a race (so described often but it looks more like a star and snip) and two socks. The horse grew over 17 hands and was named Black Prince. He was presented to General Baden-Powell by our government for a charger, at Boer War time, taken to Cape Town by horse trader J.G. Rowley with another horse, Orara, also for Baden-Powell. After the war they were taken to England where Black Prince became a favorite with Baden-Powell and his children, and family friend the artist Lucy Kemp-Welch. 

Black Prince became the model for her Forward the Guns painting, and ironically the Forward! war propaganda poster. He was most famously the model for her Black Beauty book illustrations - the 1915 edition which became a success. When Black Prince died peacefully in his stable aged 30, Baden-Powell kindly sent a favorite photo of himself riding the old chap, with letter about his passing, back to Australia.

German bred coachers Nabob and Jasmund won prizes at Sydney Show 1898 etc. Laban and Musketier, both imported by Weber, Lohmann and Co., won and came second in stallion class Sydney Royal 1902.

India... What can I say. Our biggest buyer, worthy of several books. Where the Waler got its name and reputation. Countless horses from the early nineteenth century right up to the 1960's; and some were sold there until the late 1980's. In 1930 for example, 7,000 horses had been shipped from Queensland alone, during September and October. One of the early loads was 50 horses shipped over in 1844 - some sent by a woman, Miss Johnson; another 110 went on the Equestrian that year to Madras. Many famous regiments and people rode Walers, from the Viceroys and Rajah's down. Rudyard Kipling mentions them in his writings, as did his father John Kipling who admired them greatly, but who said he could not afford one - in his time they became the most expensive horses in India. Indian armies have been the backbone of the Allies in world wars and other British wars - the real fighters and most numerous. Tremendous horsemen for centuries, indeed, millenia - one of the oldest horse cultures in the world. Many fine mounted regiments with fabulous histories rode Walers. Also - skilful polo players the British tried hard to emulate but could not better. The Waler was in excellent hands, and shown to advantage by the Indian riders, and the many British there.

R.D. Ross went over in 1869 on a government mission looking into the horse trade, he reported a Commission looking into army horses in India was scathing of Australian horses sent to Madras, however several officers and soldiers there said the opposite - that they were the best. They were about 19% of army horses there at that stage. It appeared many shiploads were going over but some were entrepreneurs, horses were not looked after en route, they arrived thin, dirty and shaky. The professional horse trader had not quite come of age. There was a strong preference for the Persian too, a fashion some clung to. "Colonel Rowlandson, of the Madras Horse Artillery, and Colonel Maxwell, of the Bengal Horse Artillery, I have been talking to, and they agree that the ' Waler' (as they term the Australian horse) is the best animal for hard service that they get now-a-days." R.D. Ross.

In our colonial days we imported horses from India which went into the genesis of the Waler. In 1806 an Indian bred horse named Hector, of no further breeding records but said to be stud bred, was imported to Sydney - he stood 16 hands. He had an impact on early bloodlines, his daughter Betty threw winners; the blood continues in the ASB (Australian Stud Book, for Thoroughbreds). Some were Indian ponies and horses; some were Arab horses (most in fact pony and galloway size). Many colonials here had lived and worked in India, and knew their horses well. The British in India sourced horses from the Levant often - mostly Turkey, Syria and Palestine. The Turkey market became difficult and expensive and sales heavily restricted to the British. So they turned to the Arab traders themselves for horses - those who brought horses directly to India to sell, usually from the great horse port of Bussorah (now Basra), some from Muscat. Levant horses came down to Bussorah to be sold, and horses from all over Arabia and Persia. As the people of Persia and Arabia didn't like mares to go out of their countries, the horses traded were invariably stallions. Over centuries of similar trading - the earlier influx was in the Mughal era - the native horses and ponies of India thus gained a lot of Persian and Arabian horse genes. In Bombay during the British era, Arab horse dealers set up stables for selling - most held 1,000 to 1,500 horses. Their stables were always clean and sweet according to reliable sources, and written up here for example in 1906 in The Queenslander. The British had fallen in love with the Eastern type of light horse from the time of Charles II (many being Barbs and Dongolas from Africa, many from the Levant and Persia and Arabia) - it was a sign of success to own one. Arab and Persian horses were the mount of choice for those who could afford them in India. It took the military in India a time to replace the place in their hearts for this breed with Walers; some preferred Walers, some remained faithful to their Arab steeds. Abdul Rahman was a famous horse dealer in Bombay. 

With this wealth of Arab blood available in India (one must point out the Arab horse was a different kettle of fish to those seen these days, praised here for their good temperament and bone - some measuring 9 inches of bone) needless to say many came here very early, and continued to arrive throughout the horse trading days. Most were expensive.  Hence some of their blood went into the Waler, although not much as other breeds which came here in far greater numbers; the input was more via the Thoroughbred here. The Australian Stud Book (ASB) has more Arab blood than other TB studbooks because of this Indian input in our colonial days. For example Volume Two of the ASB has 90 Arab/Persian stallions and many more mares in it. Anything could get into the ASB until 1912 when they had to trace to at least one already registered, then in 1932 races were restricted to those with registered parents so it became Thoroughbreds only for racing. Hence we see what a smorgasbord the nineteenth and early twentieth century 'Thoroughbred' really was. Many, truly, Walers.

'The Arab steed competes very closely with his brother, the Waler, and as no mares are ever allowed to be shipped from Arabia, the many thousands of Arab horses in use in India are all imported, the trade forming a very large and lucarative business to the men engaged. Most of the animals are sent from one or other of the provinces bordering on the Persian Gulf.
One of the objects of interest noted in the guide books to Bombay are the Arab Stables in the Bhendi Bazaar, where at times are to be seen some of the finest horses in the East.' 

Typical Pictures of Indian Natives by F.M. Coleman, 1902.

India itself of course had grand breeds until colonisation ran roughshod over everything, and some of this blood went into the Waler, thus returned to India in disguised form. 

The British army there bought countless horses from us, and the men bought their own horses for family carriage horses, polo etc. The Indian regiments and Rajah's bought as many.

A good Australian book on horses, of the times, is Edward M. Curr's Pure Saddle Horses and how to breed them in Australia, published 1863. He travelled in England, Europe, Spain and the Middle East and discourses wisely on the Arab horses of the time and the sorts sent to India, thence here. Available to read free online. 

In 1938 the army in India telegrammed the major horse dealers in Australia to say they would no longer be buying horses. It was the end of a great era and caused much consternation among trading families. Sales, far smaller, continued to India for racehorses and polo ponies. The Indian government did buy more horses for military purposes but in smaller orders, through to the late 1980's (Bengal Lancers for example buying that late from us) although the main market had gone after WW2. Mechanisation had taken over.

The Nizam of Deccan (Hyderabad), the wealthiest man in the world and very horsey, chose Walers for his army and stud. He also paid the Indian government for the upkeep of two regiments. His own army included the famous 9th Deccan Horse (various names over its history such as Nizam's Cavalry, finally absorbed into the 20th Deccan). Needless to say like all Indian regiments they served courageously in many wars, at times alongside us in France and Palestine.

20th Deccan Horse at Bazetin Ridge, WW1, on their Walers.
photo: wiki.

Hyderabad Lancers on their Walers at Tel El Kabir, North Egypt. 

A tentpegging competition was part of the Anzac Day celebrations, 25th April, 1916. 

Won by these Hyderabad Lancers against Australian LH and others. Note Lancers made fly veils for their horses.

Referring to the Australian Walers taken by the Indian cavalry to France, M. Gullet, the official press correspondent, writes: "Horses never looked better, and were never more appreciated by their owners than the thousands of Australian Walers in France. Some of the men were mounted on Arabs, and some on'Indian country-breds,' and a few on thick-set horses from England. But there was no doubt as to the favourites. Officers declared the Arabs not up to their heavy task, and, the little horses of the desert, with all their gallant bearing, were obviously over-loaded..." 
Clarence and Richmond Examiner, June 1915. 
(Sir) Henry Gullet later wrote Vol VII of the the official history of WW1 for Australia: A.I.F. in Sinai, Palestine and Syria.

The fabulously wealthy Paigah family of India also bought Walers for their armies, polo and so on. Add the Maharaja's and other people, and one can see it was a big market. Hyderabad had managed to stay free from India until 1948 but co-operated for various wars during nearby British occupation. Of interest it was General El Edroos of the Nizam's army who met Indian officers on surrender terms in 1948 after the Nizam conceded Hyderabad to India. El Edroos, a fine man and great soldier, had earlier spent his long service leave travelling around Australia looking at Waler breeding stations, being a great admirer of the breed, as the Nizam's troops had been mounted on Walers until mechanisation came along. The Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, also donated 5 tons of gold to India for war efforts in 1947, the largest ever gift of a private person to an army. It was 3/4 of his annual income. A frugal man, he politely asked for the boxes back. Hyderabad is still horsey and has a fine mounted police department on nice looking horses, be interesting to know their origins. The last Nizam, Mukarram Jah, moved to Australia in the early 1970's and bought Murchison House Station in WA where he kept busy with improvements and was very happy. Brumbies there at that stage were descendants of Gascards horses, extra good Walers. But back in India some people stole most of his fortune, sadly he was sold up here and moved to live in reduced circumstances in Turkey. The Nizams are fabulous, intelligent people who never abused their privileges and who did Walers proud.

The Maharajah of Cooch Behar was a fabulous customer for horses. Polo ponies, hacks, carriage horses and racehorses. One racehorse he bought, Highborn, had come fourth in the Melbourne Cup, won the Sydney Cup, Australian Cup and went on to win the 1892 and 1893 Viceroy's Cups for the Maharajah. In charge of his Thoroughbred stables was an Australian, Mr. L. Oakley, who proudly sent photos of Highborn back to a newspaper here, showing the gelding in far better condition than he ever was in Australia. He won more races for the Maharajah in 1893 and 1894, then the Maharajah dropped out racing for a while. A champion English racing pony Predominance, that he owned, was sent to Australia and threw many good race ponies here. An Australian pony in turn, First Bell, won the Civil Service Cup for the Maharajah. His Australian racepony Comewell, 13.3 hands, went on to become a champion polo pony for him.

The Maharaja of Ulwur, Mangal Singh, who was a Lieutenant in the British army and Commander-in-Chief of his own native army, came to Australia in 1890 with his brother, the Dewar of Ulwur/Ulwar. Ulwur is in south Delhi. The Maharaja was on a trip to recover from illness, a sea voyage having been prescribed. While here he bought several valuable horses for his stables back home, said to be among the best in India. He visited the eastern states where he bought horses, and also visited WA. A young man, he was written up in glowing terms. 

In 1929 the Maharaja of Dhar's stud master Mr G. Crisp visited, attending the Melbourne Royal where he sought to buy a 14.3 pony and a charger. The Maharaja's stud had 3 stallions and 40 mares, 10 of which were Australian.

The Maharajah of Patiala was another great customer. Teddy Weekes took horses and ponies over for him, George Clark, and others. He bought the pony Midnight for an amazing 4,000 rupees (250 pounds) in 1897; Midnight was a noted high jumper. Great pig sticking contests were held on his lands, hosted wonderfully by the Maharajah, who was also greatly appreciated by horse traders, down to the humblest groom, for his kind hospitality and welcome to them.

The Maharajah of Kolhapur also bought many good horses, a great customer. In 1938 the steamer Muttra took a load of excellent horses over for him including a pair of match greys.

In 1881 G.B. Stewart sent over two beautiful carriage horses, on order, to General Sir Donald Stewart, Bart., Commander-in-Chief of Indian Forces. In 1926 an Australian horse named Bronzewing ridden by Miss L.C. Bucks, won best horse in show at the big Simla show.

We sent horses over during WW2 as India had several mounted units, artillery, mountain batteries using horses. 800 went over in January 1939 on the Quiloa, another shipload in April, 250 went over for the Nizam  of Deccan. 105 breeding racehorses in 1941 (racehorses went over constantly through the war).

Last charge... Walers took part. In March 1942 Captain Arthur Sandeman of the Central India Horse (21st King George's Own) led 60 mounted Sikhs of the Burmese Frontier Force in a sabre charge at Japanese near Toungoo, Burma. He'd thought he was approaching friendly Chinese but it was an ambush - he realised the error too late, it was surrender or charge - he sounded the trumpet. They charged machine guns. Sandeman and most of his men were killed. An example of Indian courage. The wounded died in POW camps. A few survivors and their horses made it back to India. The Indian army was vastly under-equipped at the start at WW2 having been told by Britain they would not be needed. They quickly realised otherwise and got an army together although were under-equipped. At one stage they realised some units were over-mechanised for the terrain and re-horsed a couple. They made a great fighting retreat from Burma and later in January 1945 swept back and with 100,000 Africans who had been holding the Japanese from victory in the toughest conditions, took Burma from the Japanese. Burma was the longest and bloodiest campaign of WW2. These horses were probably the last to charge for the British-Indian forces. The Indians however had more horse action even in WW2. 

The Gwalior Lancers, an Indian state force, charged at Arakan, Burma, in early 1944. Ian Sumner's book The Indian Army 1914-1947, Osprey Publishing 2001, has details.

Much later, in 1953, India's Northern Frontier Tribal Police were in northern Africa fighting Mau Mau. Near Isiolo, Kenya, they came on a large well mounted gang. There was no time to dismount, and knowing rifle accuracy from horseback was naff, Sergeant Yusef Abdulla ordered the charge. They charged and won, suffering only a broken rifle.

random extras... 
1946 shipload of 45 horses, mostly polo ponies, a few racehorses, and some 11 piebalds for the Maharaja of Gwalior who liked 'curiosity horses.'
1947 two big shiploads went from Adelaide, including 150 greys for chargers, also polo ponies.
1949 a shipment of 50 light draughts went over to Calcutta. 
Nice late market. still adding

India itself is an ancient horse culture, possibly the oldest, although it may have been pipped by Indonesia, both were riding horses long before other places. Horses are in the Indian DNA. Walers went to a grand tradition of horsemen there who brought out their best. It can never be forgotten the British era brought immense suffering and several dreadful famines from their time of 1760 to 1943, now known as a deliberate form of genocide. No-one has died of famine there since the British left. 

Ceylon... Ships stopped there to discharge and take on cargo and passengers en route to Madras, Calcutta etc. Stacks of horses went there. Roadsters, carriage horses, ponies, cobs, remounts, chargers, hacks etc. A report of 20 horses selling there at good prices in 1867. In 1881 it was estimated in a govt report there were 7,000 horses in Ceylon, most from Australia either directly or via India. James Lalor went over with several loads from Qld in 1893, 1894 1895. He chose to drive the horses through Rockhampton to Gladstone as fees were lower and loading a far better system. Robert Gordon took a load over from Qld in 1892. One of the Gidney brothers took a load there in 1891. etc. Two army Captains came over in 1890 buying horses.

A popular stopping port en route to India proper. A British possession 1815 - 1948 and always a strategic trading port. A good consistent trade, also for racehorses. Horses went there throughout WW2 and after, mostly racehorses. Over the years many Australians moved to India, many in racing. 

Ceylon was a popular stopping place to have a welcome break once horses were unloaded, while ships re-stocked with fresh food, then went on to Bombay or Calcutta. Everyone looked forward to Colombo. Many ships with damage limped in or were towed there for repairs over the years. 

Independence Day is celebrated on the 4th February each year when Ceylon became an independent dominion. The island gained full independence as a republic in 1972 and changed its name to Sri Lanka. Persecution of the Tamil people became a human rights concern. It is hoped civil peace and tolerance is finally being achieved.

Malaya... Malaysians and the British there bought horses from us. The heaven of Malaya - misty jungles, verdant polo fields, fantastic ancient culture. Glamorous Royal families to fall in love with.

In those days the Straits Settlements, which included Singapore, were not part of Malaya - if one considered them as being so, as they are now, then indeed the trade there was HUGE! Of course these are colonial created borders, as the people there know well. There were Malay kingdoms of big areas before colonisation; not just lands but dynasties and families were hugely changed, displaced at times by colonial aggression. Yet the Sultans were resiliant, they adapted and survived. At present there are 9 Sultans in Malaysia, which consists of 11 states and 2 territories. In our horse trading days, some of the Sultans, enormously wealthy, were great customers and great riders - they put Walers on the international stage. 

Curtis Skene sent over 88 horses from Scone in 1946 to replace horses killed in war. 

In 1959 & 1960 the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, visited NSW and was shown horses as he was greatly interested, he also attended the 1959 Melbourne Cup. This Prime Minister loved horses and had granted 26 acres to the Selangor Polo Club in the 1960's. It became an outstandingly beautiful ground. 

The polo season in Malaysia is longer than most. The Malaysians are great riders with a long horse culture. There's a photo in Aust Archives of a Malaysian student in Australia with a grey hunt horse after a ride.

Malaya was a very good market for us - griffins, carriage horses, hacks, racehorses, race ponies, top quality polo ponies. They adored griffins! They liked griffins 14 to 14.2 hands - galloway size, as well as smaller, pony size. Races were in height classes. Dozens of Australians found employment in Malaysia as trainers and jockeys. There was a Griffin Inn at the Selangor Race Club. Newspaper article re griffins at end of page. Ponies went over for the Singapore Sporting Club, Penang Turf Club, Ipoh Gymkhana Club, Seremban Gymkhana Club, Klang Turf Club, Perak Turf Club and the Selangor Turf Club. The courses were very picturesque.

In 1933 trade figures were published, from the Minister for Commerce Mr. F. H. Stewart which stated 7,400 horses had been sold to British Malaya in 1931-32. However these figures usually included the Straits Settlements - Singapore being a major market.

Australia also gifted Malaya some big horses under the Columbo plan, for making snakebite serum. Due to the proximity with the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) horses and ponies were often bought from there, and of course Singapore is perched at the foot of Malaysia and was a tremendous horse market for us - no doubt many sold there went to Malaya, same with those sold to the Straits Settlements which are on the archipelago of Malaysia. 

His Highness the Sultan of Johore kept great stables in Malaya. He really gave Walers a great international profile, he was one of the wealthiest men in the world, and loved horses.

He kept polo ponies, enough to loan guests too, carriage horses, hacks and race horses and ponies. He also kept stables of horses in London and hunters in Leicestershire, and showed his trappers (trap horses) carriage horses and show hacks in Paris, Berlin and Dublin, winning prizes. 

He also kept a stable in India, all his best racehorses in India were Australian, one was champion hurdler there, many were household names, champions. 

At home in Malaya he had two palaces and his main racing stables were in Singapore, at one of his palaces. He employed many Australians, and talking to trader Arnold Ferry in 1898, who stayed briefly with the Sultan on the way home from India and who was most hospitably looked after, the Sultan said Australians were better horsemen than the English. Many of his harness fittings were solid gold and silver, he had electric light throughout his stables and coach-houses and a stunning array of beautiful horse drawn vehicles. 

Sultan Ibrahim of Johore, left, and his Australian horse trainer George Redfearn. Photo in Adelaide at the races, 1903.

Photo source: The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, June 1903.

The Sultan came to Australia in 1903 to buy horses and ponies, he stayed in Sydney and Melbourne, and bought a dozen racehorses including the Caulfield Cup winner, several hacks, carriage horses from the famous Kirks Bazaar and two top class racing ponies, one a mare named Minerva; a total of 35 quality animals. 

He engaged George Redfearn as his trainer while here, who travelled back with him. George had previously been a jockey, riding to Malvolio to victory in the 1891 Melbourne Cup, trained by his father. He became one of the leading trainers in Malaya.

There was an adventure as they headed home with all the horses plus some ponies shipped by George Kiss for Singapore and Rangoon - 80 head altogether - on the horse steamer Argus. 

Argus on the rocks of Goat Island
photo the Australian Town and Country Journal, August 1903.

Argus was a much loved ship, and this adventure of hers got a lot of news. She was a hard working little ship and met several adventures, she was considered 'lucky' as she usually managed to save her crew (one could say, vica versa!).

It was night when she left, the Sultan had retired for the evening and was in his berth when there was an almighty crash and the ship shook violently. Everyone rushed on deck in panic. The Sultan said after that he was rather excited about saving his horses. The lascar crew, always lauded, were marvellous - as they rushed about trying to save the ship the Sultan quickly released all horses with their help, as he spoke their language. Lascar were Asian and/or Indian crew - the best on horse ships as they were very kind to horses and always went out of their way to help the stockmen, unlike white crews; many accounts of them bringing bits of their dinners to the horses - bananas, curry, bread and standing by frightened horses talking gently to soothe them.

Horses freed, the Sultan set about calming other passengers - it was night and very scary. The ship was obviously sinking. It was a collision with another steamer, Mildura, in Sydney Harbour - Argus was holed so badly at her starboard bow, smashed with Mildura's bow, she started to sink by the head, listing badly. Water was coming fast into the engine room and would extinguish her fires any minute, hence kill her engine and pumps. 

Captain Currie kept his cool and ran her full steam ahead at nearby Goat Island in an attempt to beach her, but just before reaching it her front end struck on a reef so she grounded forward. The Captain kept her motors running full steam ahead to stop her sinking, as her stern end was hanging over deep water - he had lines paid out to determine depth. Boats were swung over the side for people to escape if needed - Argus was almost level again as water ran back from her bow to her stern area, filling her, more gushed in all the time. Soon the water would run back to the stern and pull her down. 

The horses were forward and had water swirling about their feet. Although kind to horses the lascars did not handle them as they were not experienced and were trying to save the ship. They were ship crew not horsemen. The Sultan and his men calmed the horses, ready to jump them off the ship so they could swim to land if the ship went down.

The steam tug Pluvius reached Argus and smartly got her pumps set up to keep pumping Argus out to stop her sinking. A government launch turned up and took all passengers and the Sultan and his men off - only the crew were allowed to remain aboard in case she went down. 

Although it increased damage by grinding over rock, the Captain kept running her motors which kept her afloat. Ropes were run out to the island to help keep her stable - if there had been a wind she'd have swung and sunk. Another tug turned up and got a hawser to keep her from swinging broadside to the island. 

Captain Currie was a great seaman, vastly experienced. Often described as a dour Scot who never smiled, everyone nonetheless praised him for being one of the best skippers ever. A true old salt.

Everyone praised Sultan Ibrahim who had calmed the frightened women and passengers, and praised the lascar crew as there had been much confusion in the darkness. 

The Argus was temporarily repaired on the reef enough to be floated off next day and got back to harbour, two tugs supporting her as she was taking tons of water, with her horses and humans all safe. First she got her horses safely off at the wharf, then headed for the slip. 

An enquiry found the fault was with the skipper of the Mildura, although very experienced it was one just of those things, an accident. The Mildura was holed above the water line and got back to port safely. Argus went into dry dock for extensive repairs. 

The Sultan, his aide de camp Captain Daud - a Malay married to a Melbourne girl who was with him - trainer George Redfearn, James Grant who was in charge of his horses for the trip, Gus Kennedy a groom and the horses and ponies all went on by other ships. The Sultan and Sultana with Captain Daud and Mrs Daud went on the steamer China to England while the others journeyed to Malaya with the horses.

The Sultan left a horse behind to run in the Melbourne Cup. He was full of praise for Flemington racecourse which he'd ridden around on a horse he bought - he even jumped the Cathedral - a frightening large jump there! A small matter of shipwreck at night held no fear for the Sultan of Johore.

In 1899 an Australian horse owned by the Sultan was champion race horse in Singapore - Culzean. That year he ordered two four-in-hand teams from Melbourne Horse Market (Kirks Bazaar), which were sent over.

The Sultan employed several Australians. G.A. Greaves was training for him in 1912. He gave jockey Jack Duval some top rides, guiding this good Australian jockey (and horse trader!) to success in Singapore - Jack later became a trainer there. Several jockeys, trainers and horse traders enjoyed his patronage. The Sultan also made gifts of exotic animals such as panthers and tigers, to Australian zoos.

He studied veterinary science, although not qualified he was said to be the best vet in Malaya and operated on his horses when neccessary. He was a great polo player. 

While a young Prince, his father forbad him to ride in races so he ran away to Cairo, Egypt, taking two Australian galloways with him - with which he beat the Arab horses in races, and sold for 20 times what he'd paid for them. He then went home and was sent for education to England, where he fell in love with hunting. When he got home again, he took up racing and polo.

A top rider, he rode in races himself including over jumps and once had a bad wreck in a jumps race, smashing his leg.  He was also a noted whip (carriage driver), a nonpareil.

In 1912 he bought a hackney here for 100 guineas, through his agent John Phillips.

In 1928 Jack Duval went over with some horses and ponies, he took 2 for the Sultan, one was very special, being 'a hackney' the Duke of York had ridden on his visit to Australia in 1927. This Duke of York was Prince Bertie, who became King George VI. 

In 1933 the Sultan bought more racehorses, 6 polo ponies and 24 hacks per Nieuw Holland in February.

Sultan of Johore in uniform in the 1930's. 
He was an impressive 6 feet 6 inches tall.
The Sultan started his own army, the Johore Military Force, S.E. Asia's only private army. 
A British colony, Malaya was with the Allies in WW2 but when the Japanese over-ran the country, the Sultan was able to call on an old friendshp with an influential Japanese officer to make the occupation less dangerous for his country - for a time at least.
This horse looks a Waler, polo pony/charger type.
Photo source - on several sites, origionally a postcard.

The Sultan did a lot to create forestry reserves in Malaya in an attempt to stop never ending British destruction. An old family friend was a Japanese descended from Shoguns, when WW2 came and they invaded Malaya and drove the Allies out, the Sultan welcomed his old friend. Malaya was occupied by the Japanese but by the end of the war the relationship was extremely strained - they were simply a change in colonials and even worse occupiers than the British. After the war the British returned. There began a solid struggle for independence, various treaties, battles, hard times. The Sultan spent a lot of time in Britain, using diplomacy for good terms for his country. Mixed feelings arose over him being an Anglophile, he indeed ended up living there. He died in Britain in 1959, his body taken home for burial. At last, in 1963, the people had success - Malaysia was officially free. 

The Sultan had had several marriages (one at a time!) and a fascinating lifestyle, he was not perfect but who is. He was exceedingly hospitable to ordinary Australian soldiers there in WW2 before the Japanese invaded. We remember the Sultan fondly and with great respect for his love of horses, great horsemanship, providing work for many Australians and good homes for so many of our horses and for being a wonderful man.

The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskander, another extremely wealthy man, also had to placate the British overlords with vast gifts of money or goods (he bought England a 2 million pound battleship for example). He was a great horseman.

He raced Australian horses, galloways and ponies, employed many Australian jockeys and trainers and played polo on Australian horses - a top player. He was educated at Oxford. The Sultan was extremely hospitable to visiting Australians and the British officers stationed in Perak and loved nothing better than to thrash them on the polo field. Proud of his Malay heritage, he wore traditional garb often. He served excellent wines to guests, but as a Muslim his conscience got to him at some stage while young, and he abstained from then on.

C. Whalan from Newcastle was one jockey he employed, he won the 1929 Taiping Plate for the Sultan, on Caliph. The Sultan also kept stables in Singapore where Phil Logue trained 40 to 50 ponies and horses for him, another Newcastle jockey Olly Davies had great success riding for the Sultan. He and the other jockeys loved the lifestyle there, and earned enough to come home to Australia for holidays. Ex-Newcastle jockeys C. Mayo and C. Minto also had great luck riding for His Highness, Mayo won the Penang Gold Cup in 1925.

In 1928 polo ponies for the Sultan and his brother received high praise, a grey, cream and chestnut being said to be the best they'd ever ridden, the cream the best polo pony in Malaya. They came from Tipperary Station and were sent over by Dr. Ebden. 

All who worked for him reported on the country as gloriously beautiful, a great place to live, work and play, and loved their work and conditions. The Sultan of Perak was a wonderful customer for Australian race ponies, galloways, hacks, polo ponies and horses.

Singapore... enough for a book too; countless horses and ponies. Ships took a few most trips there, weekly at least. will start and add a few... three ships might leave at once full of horses and ponies 'for the East' - Singapore was invariably one stop. will only list as specified port... hardly worth listing as too many...
1840's - 70's many from WA and SA... e.g 1857 a report in the Inquirer and Commercial News, Perth, described how a WA horse, Mozart, had won several races there, and was mostly competing against fields of Van Dieman's Land, NSW and WA horses.
1845 load per Brittomart.
1849 3 per Ranee,January.

1860 - March, 2 per Eliza and 3 per Sydney Griffiths.
1861 30 per Hastings from WA.
1870's - countless loads from WA
1874 21 per Janet Stewart from Freo, June.

1875 12 per Eliza Blanch from WA.
1877 load per Eliza Blanch from Port Walcott WA + several per Lady Louisa, two being sold by Governor Robinson, from Champion Bay WA.
1878 21 per Zephyr + 12 per Laura Gertrude in Feb.
1881 of 20 shipped per Annie Brown from Champion Bay WA only 12 arrived alive, and much knocked about by a rough 
journey, but got outstanding prices + 40 per Laughing Wave.
1885 9 per Gulf of Carpentaria (blood horses).
1889 23 "upstanding hacks and carriage horses" in November
on the Waroonga, to be transhipped from Batavia on a Netherlands Steam Navigation Company vessel.
1893 70 per Clitus, January.
1899 40 per Varzin, June.

1900 56 in August per Euryalus.
1903 80 sent over by George Kiss, 40 for Singapore Club, 300 on the Argus in May. 80 polo ponies, harness horses and hunters sent by O'Donnell in September per Argus.
1904 load per Argus, November + 55 per Gracchus, March.
1905 per Berlin 2 pairs handsome carriage horses, July.
1906 3 per Darius, May.

1907 11 from M. Wool on the Airlie, August.
1908 T. Lalor went over with a load of horses for J. Nicholas in June.
1909 52 per Darius, March + 59 per Gracchus July.
1911 32 per Changsha + 15 per Gracchus, June.
1912 4 from Perth in March.
1913 3 per Gorgon, September.

1916 50 ponies on the Tasman, January + 80 ponies and horses being greys, piebalds, creams, skewbalds (i.e. not military) in May. 
1919 121 horses per Houtman Oct.
1920 3 per Houtman July + 56 per Houtman Oct.
1925 19 from Powell April per Houtman + per Tasman, 25 being trotters and racehorses, Novemebr.
1927 3 per Tasman August,

1928 21 ponies from J.Duval on the Tasman. + 40 ponies one racehorse with Duval in March on the Tasman.
1931 40 per Laura Gertrude from W.A. February.
1934 3 per Marella for the Sultan of Johore, one a racehorse + 6 for J. Duval 

1935 two polo ponies on the Marell, top ponies, one died in the worst typhoon in memory on the Arafura Sea.
1937 2 horses & 1 pony per Nieuw Zeeland August + 8 per Kangaroo in June + several from Fremantle June + 25 per Maetsuycher September + 30 ponies & horses march with F.Christie + 4 June per Nieuw Holland.
1940 4 race ponies and 3 racehorses.
1947 11 per Asphalion, February + 8 per Telemachus, June.

Burma... mostly a griffin market - many sent - which were shipped to Rangoon, 14.1 and under (too hot for big horses to race) also a few polo ponies. Walers went there in WW2, also in the Third Anglo-Burmese War 1885-7 where all horses suffered in the tropical conditions but Australian horses reported to have stood it better than any others (Capt. Heyland who was there). The proximity to India, also a British possession, meant for special occasions e.g when the Viceroy visited in 1902, coach horses, Lancers, etc came in and they usually had Walers. 

Although a good lot of ponies sold there, they had their own ponies and nearby sources. The occupying British brought their horses in via Assam etc, having annexed the coast hence all ports of the area in the first Anglo-Burmese war. Some horses were sent direct for the mostly Indian forces there. Most of their horses were Australian but usually via India.

In 1900 57 went over on the Euryalus to Rangoon.

In 1905 George Kiss sent over 50 good horses to Rangoon,
1912 30 from George Kiss, 28 from Porole and 20 from Gillies all to Rangoon.
1907 9 horses on the Darius. 
1914 30 horses to Rangoon. 
In early 1915 a load of horses went over to Rangoon on the Echunga. Her skipper was Captain Bill Butcher, known for his fluent swearing, seamanship and playing operatic tunes on the concertina - he was the only skipper the government knew could get there in a war and get back, to take horses and bring rice back. Capt. Butcher did the mission safely. The horses were probably for Indian units there and/or the Military Police, as there was a Kachin uprising and the British were throwing a lot of units into this fight, several were mounted. Kachin uprising details.
1919 Harry Gabell said in an interview (Daily News, Perth) the racing was clean in Burma and the Straits Settlements (he and brother Hector had been training there in Rangoon and the Straits Settlements for 7 years) and that in Rangoon most racehorses were crosses of Burma ponies and Australian horses. Harry had just returned to Australia to train.

1933 and 1934 Major Duguid had a shipload of polo ponies (13.2 height) shipped both years to Rangoon, for hill station polo, the 1934 load going over on the Nieuw Zeeland, a Dutch East Indies trading steamer that ran regularly from Australia, usually taking a few horses to Java each trip too.
1939 11 horses went over to Rangoon from W.D. Murray-Smith (Steve Margrett's son in law).

Gradually in the early 1930's the racing ponies breeding went over to English and Arab sires on government studs (the government made money by leasing out race ponies), and Australian ponies were used for griffin racing only. As the Australian pony population fell, so did the Australian, almost no Australians remained in the racing world there; once there were many.

By 1940 the trade had petered out, possibly as bookies were barred by then (totes used instead). An article on pony racing in Burma in 1940, interviewing Mr. L. Burnett of the Rangoon Turf Club, said all the ponies were Burmese, with a bit of French, English and Arab blood, and no Australian blood any more. There were height classes of 13.1 hh and 13.3hh, the highest class 14.1 for the races, at the time the world's richest pony races. Sires over 15.1 hands were not permitted registration. Burnett was visiting Melbourne to seek some racing ponies to take back to Burma.

Earlier, in 1924, Llew Jones who was chief stipendary steward for the Rangoon Turf Club, sent a letter about the club to Australian newspapers. A new course was almost finished, the prize money was generous, and classes were 12.2 hands, 13 hhh and 13.2 hh plus subscription waler races (griffins). Bookies were 'leviathons' running books such as no Australian had seen. Obviously gambling was a teensy bit popular and doubtlessly a problem. The Bishop of Rangoon refused a donation from the Turf Club in 1922, saying it was tainted money. Perhaps he was annoyed as in 1922 the Prince of Wales, Bertie, attended the pony races in Rangoon thus supporting racing. The Prince patted a pony named The Bride before one race. As Burmese are superstitious, they took this as a good sign and rushed to back her, bringing the odds from 30 to 1 into 10 to 1. She won. Her sire was a good race pony from Australia named Red Spec, that then raced in India, and then went to Burma. Her dam also named The Bride had won races at Colac (Australia). before going to Burma. The famous Rangoon Cup - for the 13.2 hands class - was won that year by Hygeia, a pony bred in Australia.

The Rangoon Turf Club did a lot of good too. They supported Daw Tee Tee (Mrs Luce), an amazing Burmese woman who started an orphanage in 1928 especially for street children - saving thousands of boys - the Turf Club funded construction of the main building. She'd studied children's welfare in England for a year. It was bombed in WW2 but the boys had been walked to India for safety. UNESCO listed this orphanage for help.

In WW2 several countries used horses there. The Indians and Chinese got their horses through the best (all Walers), the Indians were great fighters there. 

Burma regained independence from Britain in January 1948 after long term British barbarity; the British finally assassinating the potential new leader, a young law student. Burma however has human rights issues itself now, with the appalling persecution of the Rohingya people.

South Africa... Cape Horses (now the S.A. Boerperd) were vital to breeding horses in colonial Australia and developing the Waler - the first horses to set hoof in Australia were from the Cape, brought on the First Fleet in 1788.  Later we were able to send some horses back.  Some examples... 1895 shipload, included carriage horses. Joe Griffin sent some racehorses over in 1894 for an order and in 1895 he travelled back over with a couple of loads of Walers for Soames and Co. Wonder was Soames a collector of art and beautiful women too? (scusi, Galsworthy!). 

Soames, who described himself as 'an old Africander" had set up a company to bring horses and cattle over from Australia to improve quality. He had trouble finding a ship to take them as by then ships were going the other way, via the Suez, depite him offering a good shipping fee. He managed to get a good ship before too long. It took about 24 days steaming, then 3 days by train to get to Johannesburg (he lived in the Rand where he farmed rather than mined). He included a few racehorses saying it was very risky getting them, and lots of carriage horses, hacks and strong ponies. He looked forward to a good profit after polishing the horses up once home.

Trade list (military numbers not part of this blog)... 

1895 load of horses from Melbourne per Sonneburg for C.C. Strode. 1897 140 horses including one Thoroughbred stallion and one Suffolk Punch stallion, also that year people from Transvaal bid at the Toowoomba horse sales and Tattersalls Horse Bazaar buying Darling Downs remounts and gun horses. Another 120 in 1897 went over from Sydney on a German-Australian line steamer. 
1899 the Kendal Castle took over 51 horses, cattle and sheep; a bad storm washed all the sheep off in deck stalls but the horses and cattle were ok. 
Late 1902 8 for F. Hamilton went over to Durban. 
November 1902 per Ripley 300 horses for mounted constabulary, steeplechaser Crusado for a hunter, 14 stallions for Imperial govt to go to J'burg via Durban, all sent by Kerouse & Madden.
1903 buyer selecting 'heavy ponies' for South Africa + Kerouse and Madden sent over 430 remounts and nine racing ponies + on the steamer (Gracchus) Sol Green, a bookie, sent racehorses, racing ponies and trotters + per Sussex 6 horses, 2 ponies and 1 blood stallion went to Durban and Cape Town + per Queen Louise 200 horses to Port Elizabeth.
In 1904 250 horses from Queensland went over for the Reid Brothers per Euryalus + 231 Qld horses including roadsters and ponies of top quality (one pony 'Commodore' was a champion). 
1905, 500 horses for the constabulary were ordered, sent over in March 1906.
1911 3 horses to Capetown per Bechuana, April.
1921 52 horses per Delgardo Bay sent by Powell Bros.
1934 roughrider Jack Dempsey went over with 11 'outlaws' for a buckjumping display, one named King of the Ranges; due to quarantine he left them behind when he travelled back. Probably more went over at times, will add as found. That's not counting racehorses, quite a lot of those went over, from 1902 when the war finished, to much later e.g. a ship load in 1936.

With the horses sent to the Boer War of 1899-1902, we sent horses for the South African Constabulary. This was a unit raised to patrol British occupied territories and put under the guidance of Baden-Powell. He sent for men from Britain, Canada and Australia. They bought mostly Australian horses. William Nicholas Willis - a colourful character and at the time an M.L.C. (elected to upper house of govt) - had a contract to supply unlimited numbers of horses for this outfit. Butcher Kitchener soon intervened and turned the constabulary into a para-military force, making them unpopular. Many of the men, good fine fellows, subsequently died in conflict. Willis sent several shipments of horses over, he always chose the best, praised in the press. He was careful with shippers and they were invariably described as 'in splendid condition' on arrival. Veterinary Captain Taylor and Colonel Holdsworth inspected the many of the horses before shipping during the war. This trade went on after the war (the force went from 1901-1908). For an unknown reason Willis was an avid supporter of the Boer War and raised the first troops to go there from Australia, and greatly stirred up empirical feeling. Finally he moved there himself after Australia got too hot for him after suspicious business dealings. One shipload he sent in 1902 was 607 horses. Argus took a load of 550 over for him in May 1902, etc. Some of the Surrey's big load also went for the constabulary (which was in Transvaal and Orange Free State). He sent horses over until 1906. All up roughly 4,000 horses. He got them from Qld and N.S.W. Kitchener asked for small nuggety horses. Willis accordingly sought cobs, although he mostly sent remount types, slightly bigger.

A sound trade. One needs to bear in mind hundreds of thousands of horses went there in the Boer War (Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902), those not killed by misuse and war were left behind. A few were bought by military authorities to use for mopping up etc and some were bought by Alfred Cotton to sell to India. A few Australians also chose to stay there. Like all wars, very little news of atrocities made through news propaganda back home, but experiences there of seeing war crimes by British forces - particularly the notorious concentration camps where tens of thousands of women and children were starved to death, the army guards appointed being Australians - meant volunteers for WW1 were reluctant hence conscription was considered by parlt. War, people found, was not the dashing affair the naive had thought, on the contrary, a dirty business of cruelty in which the innocent suffer most. The only person who would send horses over for the constabulary after the war was Willis - despite wide appeals in the papers. No-one else wanted that trade but were happy to supply private people. Willis gave the impression he had an Australian government contract to supply horses but he had merely been using his position during the war to sell to government forces in S.A., and wrongfully used government telegram services to arrange his sales - other horse buyers couldn't compete with this, as telegrams were so expensive.

Can't find us sending horses directly to the First Anglo-Boer War of December 1880 to March 1881. Probably too brief a conflict for logistics to swing into action, but British forces had mounted troops such as the Hussars there who possibly had Walers taken from India.

In the Zululand wars 800 artillery and cavalry were sent for in 1879, from Madras straight down to South Africa, they were well trained and sent for in a hurry. Quite a few horses went from India to this war, probably many were Australian as Madras was a frequent destination for horse ships.

South Africa imported horses from Argentina for decades in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. This would have an impression on the genes including those Cape horses brought to Australia, that went into breeding Walers.

Egypt... Apart from WW1 and our troops which are amply covered by others (we sent thousands there in WW1), we sent horses there at other times. Good trade, largely to the British there as it was British colony at that stage. In 1882- 1885 many shiploads went over and they got glowing reports, said to be the best horses the men had ever had. Artillery horses were sent for urgently in 1885, some to go to Sudan too. Sudan bordered Egypt and the war to get rid of colonials and replace the Khedive (ruler), possibly a colonial puppet,  went on in both places for a long while (called wars of the Dervishes). In 1882 it was reported that 50 tons of horse fodder was sent from Bombay fortnightly for the army horses. 

A few other loads. In 1921 150 mostly polo ponies but also some military horses, on the Rudelsburg, a British officer had come here to select them. In 1923 J.S. Love sent 712 horses to Egypt on the Hymettus from Townsville - Colonel Loch and Gamble of the Imperial Forces had come over to choose them. Colonel Loch had been in India and was a great fan of Walers. In January 1924, races were held as part of the festivies to celebrate the first Parliament there. The King of Egypt won two events with his horse named Australasian.

After WW1, 7,000 of our horses were set from France to Egypt for British forces. A further 6,400 were bought from the Australian government by the British govt. at 35 pounds a head (a good price) in late 1919 - these were already in Egypt after the Armistice because our boys had had them there for WW1. Much loved mounts that had been through a long hard war. An uprising in 1919 saved a lot being killed as mounted troops were suddenly needed; the continued British presence meant they were no longer redundant. So a lot ended up there one way or the other. It's possible they may have had a little impact on local equine genes, as many were mares. Some were sold to locals after use.

Sudan... heaps sent, although for British and Indian troops and the Sudanese who joined the cavalry; not as direct sales. Some went direct, most via India and Egypt. Horses were sent over from India from early 1880's until 1920 for the Dervish wars. Majority were Australian. 

Sudan itself has an ancient horse culture and breeds. These days they have a healthy population of their own breeds - great horses. The Dongola horse which went into so many British and European breeds was from Sudan, Eritrea and Cameroon; in the Darfur area of Sudan their descendants live on. 

There's a chance a little Waler blood has gone into the horses. Sudanese were top cavalrymen and knew a good horse. Their riding always gained high praise, whether riding with or against us. Many Walers went there and many stayed.

New Guinea... apart from WW1 and WW2, horses were sent there commercially at other times. A small trade but sound. Two shiploads of horses went over in 1878. The German steamer Prinz Waldemar took 40 odd horses there in 1908 (and a few to Manila on the same voyage). The western part of New Guinea was a Dutch colony so they bought horses from us, as did the Germans who had German New Guinea also called Kaiser Wilhelm Land, 1884-1914, with neighbouring islands. They'd been there longer but those are the official dates. The Germans there bought quite a few horses from us. In 1906 several families of German extraction went over to German New Guinea from Cairns to settle, they took horses among their livestock. Sadly when Australia annexed the territory as WW1 broke out, our army took all the horses from these families. It upset the women the most apparently. 

In 1922 the Morinda too a load of horses over. In 1949 the Stella Maris took horses and sheep to Madang, she had previously been named Rahra, built in Hobart in 1944 for WW2 military use in the islands, her first captain was my grandfather, during the war, after the war she was bought by the Catholic mission in New Guinea and renamed Stella Maris for their ship lost during the war. Horses went over for plantation work at times, such as a load on the Lautoka in 1953. Others, listing as sighted.

Australia took the German territories at the beginning of WW1 and it became Papua New Guinea, finally gaining independence in 1975.

Hawaii... small trade in horses for us. 
A horsey place where travellers from Australia reported a lot of people rode and women too, astride (1857 ) with special flowing riding habits that covered their feet when mounted; and the 'abundant' horses were good types. An 1844 shipping report also mentioned the abundant horses and bustling port. A traveller in 1870 also mentioned the women riders and that Mexican saddles were universally used (i.e. all made with a horn for roping), another in 1871 said vast numbers of semi wild horses roamed freely on the mountain slopes. 

In 1849 Captain Jackson of the American ship Inez, reported in a Sandwich Island newspaper that he'd turned down 4 thousand dollars for his two Australian horses bought in Sydney for 20 pounds. Another 1849 report said in California the numerous horses were mostly Mexican, and not tall; and Mexicans there were experts with wild horses and lasso-ing, and all horse gear (saddles, large rowelled spurs with chains and bells, bridles, bits etc) were Mexican and horses were very cheap, about 8 dollars for a good mare. One can see these would have gone on ships to Hawaii, or direct from Mexico.

An article in a San Francisco newspaper was reprinted in the Sydney Stock & Station Journal in January 1913, by J. Monserratt. It reported the first known stallion on Hawaii was a chestnut stallion named Oregan from the NA state of that name, imported 1854-58, by Diamon - his progeny could run and also made good cattle horses. In 1852-54 a stallion named Admiral or the Thompson Horse (imported by a Mr Sam Thompson) and thought to be an Arabian, came in from Australia (probably origionally from India, thence Arabia). He was bay and his progeny 'tough as a hickory nut' and stayers. In 1854 a black Australian named Laurel came in, later sent to Guam (gender not given).   Mentions a horse brought in from Chile and one from California supposed to be a Morgan. In 1869 a red roan stallion from Australia named Wonder

In 1928 an Australian polo team (Capt. Pearson, Curtis Skene, F. Beveridge etc) went to Honolulu for a month to play, with 39 ponies, all of which were for sale. The next stop was the US. Ten ponies had been sold ahead before they left. Some were sold on Oahu. In 1929 13 expensive polo ponies went over to the capital city/port, Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu. 

Trading ships came to and from Honolulu regularly - a regular trading stop-over on the 'frisco run from Australia. Horses were usually taken in small numbers as speculations or for private orders. They were not bought as remounts. Have found very few coming this way from Hawaii thus far. Our quarantine would have prevented horses coming from there at times. In 1899 a trotting stallion bred on Hawaii was imported to NSW. He was said the be "a fine stamp of a horse." His sire Marin, and dam Hadda, were both record breakers, trotting the mile in 2 minutes 10 seconds and 2 minutes 26 seconds respectively. His name was Salvator. 

A report in an April 1914 Sydney Stock & Station journal said the horses on Hawaii were perfect cavalry horses, being strong and nuggety, but the army refused them as they were an inch too short. A knowledgeable American cavalryman who wrote the article was furious, saying these were bred from American and Australian horses and the army would not find better, especially for a tropical climate; condemning weeds his army was buying instead (sounds familiar, articles like this are not uncommon with horse breeding countries!) We sent a few racehorses there. Polo was popular.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour there, over a million North American soldiers were sent to Australia for WW2. Colonel Robenson, a cavalryman, said all he knew about Australia was horses (hence we loved him madly), "I had a little Australian mare in the Philippines in 1914-15," said Col. Robenson. "She was the handiest and best little polo pony I ever rode, and the fastest thing on the island." He knew about Phar Lap and Carbine and about another Australian horse that won the 1904 Grand National. These horses were far more loved in Australia than any human - Carbine was seen off by a sobbing crowd of thousands when he left for the UK. Everyone had a picture of Phar Lap on the wall, with a black armband painted on his jockey Jim Pike as Phar Lap's death sent the whole country into terrible mourning. It must be said all these 'Australian' horses were bred in NZ! ... they had their careers here, and were taken to our hearts, Phar Lap brightened up the Depression. It's hard to explain to outsiders what the horse meant to Australia in those days. Horses were our heroes...
Colonel Robenson was also amazed at the welcome given to his troops in Brisbane and Darwin. source, News (Adelaide) April 1942. Little did we know. It was a terrible time for us.

Horses were also needed in Hawaii for cattle farmers. All travellers reported riding was a delightful way to see the beautiful countryside, with riding trails all over the place. Hawaii is a group of eight (seven inhabited) main islands, the biggest called Hawaii; they've had excellent horses on the islands for a long time and a great horse culture.

Hawaii lost its independence in 1959.

England... we didn't send many horses there directly, it wasn't feasible. It was a voyage of several months, hard on animals and costly. They also arrived as winter struck and were growing summer coats. 

In 1896 it was estimated England imported about 40,000 horses annually, not enough. Supply didn't meet demand. As well as the army, needs like hackney cabs which in London alone used well over 10,000 horses, plus omnibuses, livery, deliveries etc. England mostly got horses from Canada and America, a quicker trip. 

Walers went to England from India, Africa and Asia with troops and officers returning home from active duty, rather than directly. A surprising number ended up there. Usually troops were sent unmounted to India to be mounted there. Also sent home unmounted, their mounts re-issued to fresh troops. Some howeer returned to England with troops as there would appear to have been a lot of Australian horses with troops in England too. Some officers took privately bought Walers home.

In 1887 a consignment of Walers for hunters were sent to England for Lord Hindlip. They arrived in excellent condition.

An old dragoon (interview in Classic magazine) said the best horses his regiment ever had in England were Australian Walers. They must have gone via India, some travelling back with troops. For example in 1899 Major Thompson of the 5th Dragoon Guards bought 688 Walers for remounts and said they were splendid, but that he had to go 4,000 miles to get them (India to Australia). I was sent a lovely photo of a person's grand-dad with two solid Walers in England in the forces of WW1, years ago. Several people said the Waler created the real hunt horse again, as horses had got too light after the racing mad Charles Stuarts and while Arabs were the rage. 

The Bathurst Post 15th November 1893. "The 5th Dragoon Guards, which left England recently for India for the first time in the history of the regiment, will on arrival be mounted on Australian horses. They will take over the 200 left by the 7th Dragoon Guards,100 from the 19th Hussars, 75 from the 18th Hussars, 75 from the 11th Hussars and 75 untrained remounts from the Remount Depot. The 11th and 18th Hussars will receive countrybreds, and the 19th Hussars, Arab or Persian remounts, in lieu of those given over." 

In 1887 an article praising their Australian mounts for endurance (Bangalore to Mysore 180 miles in 51 hours, in very oppressive conditions) was published in several newspapers. Officer was Lt. Broad. Lancers and dragoon horses. 

That year, 1887, a load of carriage horses and hunters went over on to England on the Riverina, 6 hunters had been ordered by Lord Hindlip who had been impressed with Australian horses when he was here and hunted with the Melbourne hounds. The rest were speculation. The horses arrived in splendid condition but apart from Hindlips, prices were woeful and didn't cover costs

Several racehorse were shipped over most years. In 1895 a trial load of strapping young hunter and carriage horses by TB sires and one Arab sire out of good solid mares, and some draughts, were sent over on the Celtic King and Maori King from Sydney. Although they were praised, prices were poor and costs too high for another experiment. Four were bought by the cavalry, an officer sternly saying in an interview we must in future send well trained horses, not wild ones, and that the price would be the same (it was low); and that he'd ridden Walers for years in India and they were the best. 

Another drawback was that insurance declined to cover horses for the long trip to England.

Also in 1895 eight Clydesdales went over on the Southern Cross to London, they did not get good prices; and the same year on the Gulf of Lyons (sic Lions) 108 polo ponies, draughts and hacks (at least one being a jumper, winner of several races) went over for the Pastoral Finance Company and Anglo-Australian Horse Export Assoc. of Sydney; 45 (some reports say 54) died during bad storms en route. The remainder sold at Aldridge's Repository, again prices were disasterously low. This type of venture proved it was neither feasible nor humane to send horses all that way. Professor Galvani was in charge of the horses, hoping to create an export market. It was noted the season they arrived was wrong (our summer, their winter) and that in April-May (our autumn their spring) coach horses would be in demand.
In the same year, 1895, 18 top quality draughts were sent over on the Gulf of Siam. Eleven died on the way. In 1898  4 racehorses in chage of C. Quinn went over to London on the Damascus and arrived 'in splendid condition.'

"Questioned on the subject of remounts for the army, our guide informed us that in his opinion no horses came up to the 'waler' which, in army parlance, is an Australian - bred horse originally, of course, New South Wales." Chronical (Adelaide) January 1900; report of a tour of Aldershot, the army training camp for horsed units, Hampshire.

It was to India, under British control, we sent the most horses and it was practical.  Indians needless to say made up the majority of regiments. Several shipments went directly to England from Australia but there was nothing in it financially, and the horses didn't like it. In 1897 Mr Dangar
(the Suffolk Punch breeder) sent 6 good horses over for use with our mounted rifles in England, also en route there; the horses to be sold there after finished with. He bought the horses, being well known horses and weight carrying cavalry types, three from the Liverpool Plains. 32 horses altogether went over with these men to compete (1896-7) in a military tournament, all sold there after. Probably more will update at some stage.

About 250,000 horses passed through the Lathom Park Remount Depot in England alone, mostly English, Canadian and North American animals, during WW1. The horse ships were prey for German ships in the Atlantic.

Ships such as the Lothringen, seized at the beginning of the war here as prizes, were fitted out to carry horses and sent from Australia to India with horses; thence to carry horses from India to England throughout the war; many of these horses from India would have been Walers.

In September 1914 it was reported 7,000 horses were being shipped to England for the Expeditionary Forces from the Liverpool Remount Depot (Australia). These horses were for our own men. Steamers were specially set up, and on arrival the horses got a month to recover. Other reports said 7,000 of our horses went directly to France;  after the war in his book "War Deeds of Horses," Major-General  Sir Layton Blenkinsop criticised this, saying the horses had a hellish journey from Australia to Marseilles. On one ship of 600 horses, 195 died - the whole way they were crammed into the hold, standing on coal that was unchanged from the previous trip. An immensely long journey.

 In 1917 a report was sent to the Minister for Defense in Australia, Senator Pearce, greatly praising Australian remounts. On inspection of Yeomanry in England the report said '...all the Imperial officers of high standing are mounted on Australian horses." and much more music to the ears. Most of the Yeomanry were usually on Australian horses so obviously we did send army horses there for English troops for WW1, something others who do military matters may have covered. In 1919 53 Australian horses were sold at Salisbury and got an outstanding 53 pounds and 6 shillings each.

Britain is an ancient horse culture and where we got our best horses from to create the Waler. It was a tribute to Walers to mount their regiments and horse their artillery, right at the end of the horse era. Colonisation however, is always wrong and always brutal. In studying this trade, it's been disturbing. Constantly finding atrocities where one least expects, and having to edit out shocked bits of blog (apologies).

Aden... Always an extremely busy port, horses were taken to the colony of Aden en route to Sudan at times, and supplied to the British army there, and sold to private people. Britain had held it since 1839 as a Province of British India. Water problems and little natural feed meant horses were not kept in large numbers. Aden and Little Aden are like small peninsulas either side of a large open bay.

 In 1911 a pair of greys (white), lightly built, were selected by H.W. Wallder who normally only traded horses within Australia, they were bought in Victoria for the King of England's carriage - Wallder broke them in then sent them to Bombay and from there to Aden on the s.s. Umta. The King was at Aden on a visit and the horses did him proud. British troops were stationed there so horses would have come from India, probably mostly Australian, and on ships bound for Africa. 

Of interest an officer of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who came to Australia in 1939 looking at horses - his troops were mounted on 2,400 Australian horses and they got an average of 250 annually - was born near Aden, Brigadier Byad El-Edroos. Like his father he served the Nizam. Polo was popular there. 

Aden was a British colony as part of the India possession. It achieved full independence in 1963 but struggled along with ongoing UK brutality especially from the 'slithering snakes' - the despicable special forces; until it became South Yemen then part of Yemen. Oil money always went to the empires and kept Yemen poor. A vitally important strategic port then (and now) and coaling station (re-fuelling for ships en route to India etc). The majority of the population were Muslims but Sharia law was not used, normal courts of law instead. Now part of Yemen, and sadly Saudi Arabia is committing atrocities there. It's likely horses would have a dash of Waler in their genes from long term British occupation. In the book An Account of the British Settlement in Aden, Arabia by Captain Hunter, published 1877, he says horses were obtained from Somalia (good ponies), Egypt, and Cape horses were brought in, and light fiery horses from Arab sources although there were few breeders nearby so officers brought horses in from India. One would presume these were increasingly Walers as the trade kicked in. However we seem to have sent few there directly. One can imagine that through the ages this would have been a great horse port, for staging animals to and fro Arab countries and Africa, India, Indonesia etc. The Portugese, on excellent terms with Arab horse breeders, were active in this trade.

France and Belgium... we didn't export horses there, but sent loads during WW1 for our troops and many of the British and Indian troops had Australian horses - so in the WW1 era France and Belgium got Walers too. The Australian government brought no horses home after war. Thankfully, some got homes. In 1919 in France the Australian Surplus Board auctioned 6,753 good Australian horses and got an average of 35 pounds each - excellent money. A further 1,543 horses of lesser quality went for slaughter prices of 17 pounds each, and the top lot of 1,400 horses sold to the Belgium government at the super price of 55 pounds each. A further 7,000 Australian horses from France were taken to Egypt for British forces after WW1. 
In 1947 France asked us for 2,000 all purpose horses. They bought at least 5,000 from Canada that year also. In October 1948 they declared all 16,000 cavalry horses for sale - the French army was being fully mechanised.

Vietnam... The French who had Vietnam (French Indo-China) came here with Annamese soldiers in January 1907 and bought horses. The papers admired the 43 Annamese who were fit and strong, dressed in eye-catching uniforms, and who most capably tried the horses out before purchase. Captain Sipiere was supervising purchases. They were very fussy, and only chose the best, mostly strong ponies. Their criteria was 13.2 to 15 hands. They paid top prices which was appreciated. They only bought mares, the Captain saying that after their army career they would go to stud for cavalry horses. 

Vietnam was also known as Annam, Tonquin and Cochin China. 

photo from Wiki re Tonkin

As we had a good market to Siam which was often at war with Annam (in Siam blog), this restricted sales to the French for obvious reasons, at times. Nonetheless, Saigon was much visited by those travelling on the Grand Tour (of Asia) including horse traders - it was a regular port of call. A few horse and ponies went on almost every ship and found their way into private hands there. 

Reports by travellers of seeing carriages pulled by smart Australian horses.  

Anyway for this army order it was good to trade at peace and they were great to deal with. The steamer Wimbleton took 250 horses (mostly big strong ponies) over for them, some going to Saigon and the rest to Hai Phong.

The northern area of Vietnam was called Tonkin/Tonquin/TongKing, it had the capital of Hanoi. The central part was Annam and the southern part of Vietnam was known as Cochin China, with the capital of Saigon. 

There were various travellers reports, one in 1882 said it would be a good market for horses from Darwin and that French steamers ran from Marseilles via Reunion, Port Louis, then via French Indo China - thence across to New Caledonia, and that they were calling at Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney too.  And return. One can see in this way Australian horses may have been taken to their colonies depending on the route (French Indo China and/or New Caledonia) by French steamers; their cargo was almost never fully reported in the news.

The people of Vietnam were good horseman as there were ponies in the area, for millenia. In colonial days some people went to France to the cavalry schools.

Of interest, in 1859 the Spanish sent men, mostly native troops (Filipinos) and horses from Manila (Philippines) to Cochin China to help the French fight an uprising, the Spanish troops were praised for their courage and honour in newspapers here, not committing atrocities. As we'd sent horses to the Spanish in Manila by then, it's possible some of the horses they took to Vietnam were Australian or bred from Australian horses.

In 1939 James Morrow of Wagga, took a shipload of racehorses to Saigon. (no doubt others went will add as found). Saigon was a frequent stop for ships en route to Hong Kong etc, passengers enjoying a break there. 

On the whole a small market directly, but as the French helped the English in China at times with uprisings such as the Taiping Rebellion - despite their animosity elsewhere! - they bought some Australian horses there; and from Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, Shanghai etc which were close, and on the trade routes. The French attended the great horse sales in Shanghai, a lot of Australian horses were sold there and it was a short distance from Vietnam. 

Vietnam gained independence after WW2, on September 2, 1945, a day annually celebrated - but the French let them have no peace - fighting them until 1954 when they handed the war over to North America (and, shamefully, Australia); next Cambodia (Pol Pot) and China took a turn kicking them. The country itself was divided. But they never gave up. Finally, they got peace.

Philippines...We sold to the Spanish in the Philippines, e.g. 25 horses went there in 1844 on the Trinidad; in March 1844 it was reported good Australian horses were fetching 75 pounds in Manila - a very high price (top quality horses were selling in India at the same time for 60 pounds). There were constant traveller and trader rports in the news. In 1851 a report remarked on the love of cards and other games such as chess, draughts, monte, backgammon and cock-fighting.

In 1866 twelve horses went over on the Koerier, in 1877 several shiploads went over from Fremantle. Many others, just reporting as seen in archives.

Various travellers reports spoke of Manila in glowing terms. One in 1876 described how beautiful and clean Manila was - the clean bright bay, buildings, convents, churches; the Spanish and Chinese, and native people who put on excellent plays. They went everywhere by carriage as no-one there walked if they could ride, the vehicles being barouches and victorias pulled by strong native ponies. Manila was the highlight of an eastern voyage. There were 11,000 troops there; an impressive review of troops was held for a visiting English Admiral. There were beautiful and touching processions to church, children and everyone dressed up and bearing religious icons, and a Virgin Mary, as it was near Christmas. All streets were clean.

Spanish officers came here in 1896 buying horses, many were sent from NSW and Victoria; in January 1897 they were back, buying artillery horses. Horses went on trading ships in small numbers but regularly, Spanish ships traded here with sugar and bought coal etc. Manila was a regular calling port for our trading ships. We imported tens of thousands of tons of sugar from there annually, a lot of coffee, and Manila cigars were popular. 

Spanish cavalry, Escuadron de Lanceros Expedicionario. circa 1897
Many of the horses would have been Australian. Due to a deliberate  blockade by North Americans in 1898 causing famine, people were forced to eat the horses.
 photo source

From early settlement Australia had a good regular trade to and from the Philippines, we bought Manila ponies in our early days, good strong ponies. Pony racing was traditional there, held in spring it was a huge event enjoyed by everyone and travellers went over for it. The Manila Jockey Club started in 1880. There was a strong social club culture in Manila. Spanish, British, Germans, French moved there as traders and settlers; all bought horses. Some of the chief Spanish military personnel were descendants of the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell who fled to Spain after the English persecution of Ireland - the flight of earls. Charles O'Donnell, Duke of Tetua, was the Spanish Foreign Minister at the time the Americans invaded the Philippines, he'd been often written up here in the news; hence a Catholic connection meant Spanish descended O'Donnells had moved there too, as they did to Cuba. O'Donnells from Australia moved there too. Trade was established between they and the Australian O'Donnells (Jack's family - Jack is below in the horse trader biography section of this blog - as well as Patrick O'Donnell's family) who traded horses and cattle. Australian O'Donnells sent cattle and horses there in the Spanish days, and after. In 1879 in the Australian newspaper it was reported the Ameer of Afghanistan's favorite cavalry commander was an O'Donnell. A horsey family exiled all around the world. Filipinos also moved to Australia during the horse trading days and after.

There'd been a horse culture on the islands for a long time, the local types being pony sized. Equine fossils 12,000 years old have been found there. The Moro Horse was a recognised type, perhaps even a species, tragically wiped out by Nth American invaders.

The Spanish and others there were good to trade with. Spain had the Philippines until 1898 when the people took it back in a successful rebellion - but as this happened it was invaded. The North American invaders then paid $20 million to 'buy' it from the Spanish. Filipinos bravely fought the Americans for a further 6 years or so. The occupiers became customers in the Philippines buying horses from 1898 until the occupation was over, late 1945. Lethal diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentry raged there during the time of invasion. Horse traders whose ships called there returning from India had personal possessions including their money 'confiscated' in port by American officials... it became avoided. 

It's well known how terrible the invasion was. Torture, genocide. Horses treated appallingly. Australian reporters in the Philippines noticed most of the American army were barefoot and in rags and ordered to 'live off the land' - being supplied not with food but strong alcohol, encouraged to commit atrocities. Traders saw what was happening to humans and horses - indescribable. All major horse dealers ceased trading there from 1902 - an unspoken boycott. People refused to sell if they knew horses would end up there. The Nth Americans got most of their army horses from their own country anyway, which also had a big horse trade. 

A few Australian entrepreneurs, not major horse dealers, sold to there in a sporadic trade for polo, hacks, a few for the army, a few race ponies, racehorses, and griffins. There had been sales for tram horses until the system went electric in 1905. About 20,000 horses went over from 1898 to 1902, many from Port Darwin, some from Wyndham WA, the rest from Qld and NSW - one order was 7,000 ponies for the constabulary, as their men were short people, this order was filled in Qld as they could not afford NSW prices, having gone there first. Horses were sold to them but at abysmally low prices. An unviable trade. Private buyers there paid fair prices however. There were odd sales and the suspicious Major Brown sales of 1908 and its consequences (too long to go into here) which further destroyed the trade. The trade trickled on to a little spike when Kidman sold them 1,200 odd army horses in 1913.

The port our horses went to was Manila. Australian Donald McInnes had a Horse Bazaar in Manila and lived there for a time, he went there about 1902. He left in 1909 but sent horses over for several more years from Townsville, at times going over with them; bio further down page. In 1923 Colonel Vane Agnew came over here buying polo ponies.

In 1952 (after independence) at least 1,000 horses went over to the Philippines for the Filipino army who were fighting communists, a civil war. Lt-Colonel Jacobo Zobel, a noted polo player, and some officers came over to select the army horses. The horses travelled over by Philippines Navy ship L.S.T. 875, in several loads. Her Captain and crew were amazed at the welcome they got here, despite her being a smaller warship; including being entertained by an Admiral. Horses sold to the Philippines after independence for polo, racing and hacks.

Guam... Hundreds of thousands of horses went over! e.g...
1846 - 3 per Sarah Scott
1856 - 2 per William IV 
1864 - 1 horse on the brig Gazelle.
1879 - load on the Amur.
1881 - 67 on the Iris
1914 - 256 on the Hymettus in Oct + many other loads...

But! ... did these horses really go to Guam?!  "Clearing out for Guam" was an Australian saying, it meant "going nowhere in particular" - an undisclosed destination. 

A destination port had to be given by ships leaving Australia - those who wanted their destination private gave Guam. All big Australian ports had several ships leaving for Guam - daily - from 1840 - the port most given as destination. Very few, if any, were going there.

an amusing article on Guam from the 1856 Melbourne Punch.

We did sell a few horses there, but it's hard to know how many. 
Horse traders in W.A. such as Avery liked the subterfuge of listing Guam as a destination - not wishing others to know where their lucrative horse markets were. It transpired Daniel Avery's horse ships usually went to Mauritius. 

Spanish soldiers captured the notorious blackbirder Bully Hayes (an American slaver) on Guam, when he called there in 1875, making the Pacific safer for all. He was sent to America where the creature was freed. The first horse went onto Guam in 1673 from a galleon, a Spanish horse. It was the only horse there for a while and everyone loved it madly.  The Spanish brought more horses in and Guam became a horsey place. 

A Spanish colony for 400 years then taken by Nth America in 1898. Occupied by the Japanese briefly in WW2 then America again. The North Americans brought horses in from the Philippines. Some of these may have been Australian as they bought about 20,000 from us 1898-1902 there and some annually until they left after WW2.  USA uses Guam as a massive military base, they put these in other people's countries, Australia too. They put toxic nuclear dumps on Guam, tested nuclear bombs nearby causing radiation illnesses that are ongoing and plan to use Pagan and Tinian Islands there  - both populated - for target practice, in 2016, despite the indigenous Chamorro people of Guam, and Pagan, Tinian and other Pacific Islanders begging them not to. In WW2 North America took an official 10,000 horses from us free on the notorious "Lendlease" but the real figure is more like 20,000 horses. All these suffered terribly and died in their hands. They took over 2,000 of our horses to New Caledonia, most were dispersed to Burma, China and India (also to die of abuse by Americans), a few went to Hawaii, Guadacanal and Guam - on Guam they were eaten. Guam remains occupied by North America -  article

North America... To North America we sent a few horses and got some from them in early days, until quarantine halted imports from there. In 1802 we imported a horse from North America named Washington, presumed a Thoroughbred. 1849 3 horses went to San Francisco on the barque Spartan from Tasmania, 54 horses went there the same year on the Inchinnan from Sydney. A Suffolk Punch named Young Champion went over to San Francisco from Tasmania in 1850 and two other horses on the Ralph Thompson from Tasmania went there that year, plus a shipload on the Jane Frances. Three other horses went there from Tas. that year. Also that year 47 horses from Sydney went over with 11 grooms and a large amount of feed, on the Chaseley to California. There was a bit of a gold rush on there so some ppl took their own horses when they went. It was reported Tasmanian horses were getting top prices there.

In 1869 Mr Docker of Victoria imported the trotting stallion Daniel Boon from America. His breeding was not given. He was described here as a good roadster, and opinions were expressed in the news it was hoped these horses were being brought in as roadsters and not for the 'distasteful' sport of trotting races on tracks, which here were rife with corruption and associated with crime. However Daniel Boon won a few trotting races, and went on to breed horses both for harness and riding, several won show prizes as hacks, and several being auctioned at Kirks and finding their way to India as carriage horses. Docker had a station near Wangaratta.

In 1876 it was reported in the California Farmer that expensive horses had gone from California to Australia as Australians would spare no expense to breed fine animals, several stallions being bought by Lloyd and Rogers. The paper praised highly a brown stallion, 15.3hh, on its way to Australia. It was named Frank Medley Junior, of Patchen and Morgan breeding, bred in Oregan, bought by H. O. Rogers for George Hill for $3,000. In 1881 ten trotting horses were imported from San Francisco to Sydney on the Zealandia by Dr. John Weir, to be sold in Melbourne; their exhaustive pedigrees were published in the news and included Black Hawk, Morgan and Mambrino blood. One of the horses had been bought at Honolulu on the way here, by Elmo.

In 1886 Arthur Bennett went to America from NSW to study dentistry and took with him two 'splendid Hungarian ponies" one was Bonnie Carlisle by Bonnie Charlie (imp) out of mare named Whisk (imp) the other an imported mare with foal at foot by Bonnie Charlie, he cost 600 guineas in England and was described as the best pony sire in NSW. Bonnie Charlie, imported here in 1872, was probably the only Hungarian Pony to come to Australia, and he probably came from England, where many had been bought.

Senator George Hearst of California bought a few racehorses from us in 1887 and 1888. It cost a lot to send a horse over there - 50 pounds in the 1840's, more than a horse was worth then - so not many went, and it was a long trip for the horses. 

As there was a regular run from Australia to San Francisco, a few went over at times, they could be given a break at Hawaii or left there for a good spell to be transhipped later.

Also in 1887 trotting enthusiast Mr Baldwin took four "spanking fillies" over to San Francisco and New York on the Zealandia. Their full pedigrees for several generations went into the papers here. They had English St Leger, Derby and Oaks winners up close, also VRC St Leger, Vic. Derby, Intercolonial winners etc. One dam, China Rose, was a champ. One grandsire was the incomparable Stockwell, another grandsire Goldsborough which threw Melbourne Cup winners, etc.

Ship the Almeda had a regular run there, she took a few valuable horses over in 1887, 1888, 1890, 1891, 1893 and 1899. In 1890 she left some mares in NZ to be bred to top stallions there such as Nordenfeldt, bred for American time, and to be shipped on once in foal. 

In 1927 our first shipment of polo ponies to America arrived in New York and were praised as "the friendliest and cleverest ponies ever seen." In 1932 the Ashtons sold several polo ponies in America for $US4,000 each. In 1933 Mr. Lewis Hirshon of near New York came here to buy polo ponies and Thoroughbreds.

Another Australian polo connection to America was the famous Snowy Baker. Snowy was a champion boxer, swimmer and horseman, born in Sydney in 1884, who branched into film-making in the silent era. He always used lots of horses in his films, in one he starred as a bushranger. He was in the NSW Lancers for a time, from 1902, where he won at mounted games. In the 1920's Snowy moved to Los Angeles where he coached and played polo at the Riviera Club, which he bought a major share in not long after arrival there. He taught polo to people such as his friend Douglas Fairbanks, and also coached Douglas in whip cracking, a skill he needed for a movie. Snowy also made and appeared in several films over there. He always did his own horse riding stunts and loved to put lots in his movies. Snowy took his famous "wonder horse" to America, Boomerang. Boomerang, a grey, had been given to him in Ireland, and was an Irish polo horse. Snowy won the Santa Monica Steeplechase on a horse named Raffles. He also wrote for newspapers here and covered the 1932 Equestrian sports at the Olympics Games, which were held on the grounds of his Riviera Club. His emotional coverage of brave Lt.Col. Shunzo Kido's ride was memorable. The course that year was appalling, shockingly designed.

They didn't need to buy army horses from us as they bred their own and also had a big export trade. 

Due to quarantine polo horses taken over to compete couldn't return home, so were sold there. We got a few trotters and pacers from there (Standardbreds) in the nineteenth century. When quarantine improved more horses went both ways but it was past the era of the army and utility horse. Very few Walers went there. 

Fiji... Small but sound trade. Often spelled Feejee in early news, and the port of Lautoka as Lavtoka. Good ports although Horseshoe Reef became a ship's graveyard.

Photo: riding in Fiji... source 

Here's a quick look through archives, would be more...

1870 brig Prince of Wales took 15 horses from Sydney, 4 died en route when bad weather carried her into the trades. Steamer Eagle took horses over (no numbers, 5 also died en route).
1871 horses per brig Carl - notes re this notorious trip in the ship list (moved to its own blog as no room left on this one).
1879 Marion takes a load from Norfolk Island but met cyclone; most died.
1881 horses on the schooner Opotiki went over from Sydney. 1889 28 draughts and one black Clydesdale stallion per Birksgate.
1891 the Waroonga took 70 horses over on one trip, + she took 107 on another trip the same year + she took 42 in April being 30 draughts and 2 stallions.
1894 6 horses per Arawa + 2 per Rotokino.
1896 69 horses per Taviuni.
1897 40 per Percy Edwards + some on the May + 8 per Birksgate + 40 per Ovalan landed 'in faultless condition.'
1898 load per Hauroto, reported arrived 'in perfect order.' + 30 per Ovalu condition also praised on arrival + 3 per Hippolas.
1889 draughts per Birksgate.
1899  38 horses per Manapouri.
1900 9 horses per Birksgate + 3 per Mambare.
1901 2 horses + 8 on the Manapouri.
1902 Some per Marion.
1903 8 horses per Rotokina, March + 3 per Birksgate left 30th Dec arrived Jan 1904.
1904 some horses taken over on the Boveric + 3 polo ponies for Dr Hall from H. Fisher went over per Illaru + 40 per Rockton in Nov. 
1905 a dozen plantation horses and one hack + 31 in another load + 120 per Pilbarra, June, landed at Labassa. The Pilbarra broke down en route and was found by the Induna, the Warrego then towed her in to Vila, Vanuatu, for repair; all livestock arrived in good condition (sheep also aboard) + 4 per Hauroto.
1906 23 horses per Navus, June.
1909 7 horses per Warwick Edward, December. 
1910 3 horses + 40 draughts on the ship Levuka to Suva.
1911, 80 draughts for Suva in two shipments of 40 per Levuka, August.
1914 shipload horses from the Hawkesbury, bred from Shire, Clydesdale and roadster plus a Clydesdale colt. 
1950 An 'outstanding' Percheron colt from Alex Melrose's stud at Kadlunga, Mintaro, South Australia went over for the Colonial Sugar Refining Sugar Co.,  with an 'outstanding' half Arab colt from R. Legoe, Callandale, South Australia for the same company, to breed hacks.

Report in 1877 saying horses much in demand and getting good prices. Quarantine laws stopped us buying horses back until 1924.

Some Australians moved there. Tragically, some brought the first slaves there (also called indentured labour/forced labour) in 1864 53 men from the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) were loaded onto the Van Tromp, and put on John Campbell's plantation. Fiji people resisted becoming slaves until slavers forced them by trickery or at gunpoint. Fortunately British war ships patrolled to catch slavers, and got a surprising lot, some Australians, most Americans. One article in 1872 tells of an American slaver firing a 21 gun salute in the port to honour their own independence day. On the upside a few decent American captains and many Australians called there in the course of trade; they were treated hospitably and returned the courtesy and respect. The Australian journalist, Dr George Morrison, an intrepid man indeed, exposed this slave trade in 1882. There had been many accounts in the news here of the harrowing grief of families there, after slavers took their beloved family members. After landing from his travels examining this trade, at the Gulf of Carpenteria, Morrison, in his usual intrepid style, walked back to Melbourne. It took 123 days and he described it as a pleasant excursion. 

A beautiful place often visited by Australians, Fiji has horses roaming about freely and offers riding for holidaymakers. Heaven. Fiji has been an independent nation since 1970.

Mauritius... A good market over many decades - early records show we took horses there in 1845, at least two shiploads that year, some from Adelaide, some from the Swan River (Western Australia).  It was a good trade for Western Australian horses.

Horses from South Australia went over in 1860 and 1863 with the Baldock brothers (bio further down); probably other loads with them earlier.

Trade from Australia to Mauritius was regular and due to mails arriving, port reports from Mauritius regularly appeared in our newspapers. Not all ship cargoes were itemised. The horse trade to Mauritius from Australia went steadily on through the early nineteenth into the early twentieth century. 

Races there were reported on, in 1840 - 30 horses raced that year. In 1842 it was reported all horses for that year came from France, the Cape, Muscat (Arabia), Malay Islands (Lombock specified) and Burmah, and that all were good but small and larger horses were wanted. This report may well have kicked off the trade there. 

By 1844 racing went over 3 days. Racing at that stage was one meeting a year, in August (too hot much of the year). Racing grew as the population grew - migration grew quickly. French creole people were the most keen racing people it was reported in the 1870's. A lot of Australian jockeys went to Mauritius to ride over the years, some trained horses there too.

In 1870 the Duke of Edinburgh visited, among the festivities were races - an Australian horse named Satan won the Prince Alfred Plate worth a hefty 250 pounds, with the Governor and Duke watching.

The Maiden Plate was described as their Derby - a maiden for horses that had not won on Mauritius, hence some top quality horses were bought to compete in it. In 1878 an Australian horse named Doctor won it, in 1880 an Australian horse named Emperor won. It paid handsomely for the win - some 250 pounds.

 View of harbour from the roof of Government House, Port Louis, Mauritius circa 1861- 1872 - lots of horses and carriages, probably hackney cabs, along avenue. 
Photo by Francis Downes from the collection of the Governor of Mauritius and Cape Province, Sir Henry Barkly. Previously Barkly had been the Governor of Victoria, Australia where he was paid the highest salary in the British empire. A Scottish born conservative.
Photo source State library of Victoria, Australia.

Here's a rough idea of numbers of horses sent there from Australia, found with a quick look in Australian archives, there would have been far more... 
1843 one horse per Trusty (with other stock) from the Swan.
1845 horses in cargoes there reported (probably two, maybe three ships), no horse numbers given, some shipped from Adelaide in the Unicorn by Davey & Robertson for Messrs Sampson; others from the Swan River in the Emma Sherrit (sic Sherrett) - reported carriage pairs in demand and entire half bred ponies, that English horses crossed to Timor Ponies were the most popular. Prices were high. 
1846 - Cumberland, barque, takes a load of 41 horses and ponies plus sheep and cattle from Swan River.
1847 - 7 horses & 3 ponies per Arpenteur from Fremantle + horses & ponies per Nimble
1848 - load per Cumberland from Fremantle,W.A. + 11 ponies & 8 horses per Dispatch from W.A. (some of Brockman's among them).
1849 - the Fanny Fisher took a load of horses over from W.A., one 'docile piebald pony' sold on behalf  of A.H. Stone for the grand sum of 37 pounds. It was pointed out that broken in horses commanded far higher prices than wild ones. 
1850 30 per Woodlark from South Australia with 2 racehorses, Plenipo & John Bull.
1855 15 per Swan, from the Swan (Perth).
1860 the clipper ship Arabella took 27 there, leaving in April (there was a far bigger barque of the same name built a little later which was well known on the WA trading run). This Arabella sailed from Adelaide on this trip - she had an arduous trip of 79 days due to little wind - yet managed to get her horses delivered safely. A load went over with William Baldock from S.A.
1861 40 on the Leonie + 24 per Phantom. Load from S.A. with William Baldock.
1865 20 horses per Sea Ripple from Swan River + shipload per the Robert Passenger.
1868 69 horses

1869 shipments of 20 per Elizabeth, 22 per Eva Joshua and 19 horses per Rio.
1870 unspecified number on the Eva Joshua + 8 per Odalisk.
1876 horses from Fremantle. 
1877 - 75 + 70 horses from South Australia + load on the James Service from Melbourne + load per Sea Ripple from Fremantle April + she took another load of 41 in May.
1878 load on the Bessie from Fremantle + 32 on the Macquarie also from Freo.
1879 - 20 on the Kishon + 64 on Bessie + 20 on Iris all from Fremantle + three shiploads arrived together, total 202 head. The Iris took 74 & the Janet 80 all for Avery.
1880 - 4o horses from Fremantle + load from Cossack + another load from Freo.
1881 - load on the Janet + 60 on the Iris in June.
1883 load on the Laughing Wave from Fremantle, arrived Dec.
1884 44 horses from Fremantle + another 71 horses + 71 per Bessie from Port Walcott & Fremantle Feb-March + load on the Iris arrived from Freo in Feb. + 40 per Sea Ripple in May + 71 per Bessie in May.
1885 28 + 70 from Fremantle per Star Queen and Janet.
1887 31 horses. 
1888 40 horses from Cossack (W.A.) and 116 from Fremantle for Mr Avery and another shipload numbers unspecified. 
1889, 97 horses from Fremantle per Fleur de Maurice and a further 77 from Freo all sourced from New Norcia station. 
1890 40 from Cossack (north west W.A.) from Karratha Station belonging to J & R. Clarkson. + 150 horses on the Clitus from Melbourne for Edouard Duclos + 200 on the steamer Port Victoria.
1891 160 carriage and draught horses per August for Duclos.
1893, 69 horses from Melbourne per s.s. Cloncurry. 
1897, 50 horses from Port Adelaide on the County of Ayr and 140 from Victoria. 
1900, upwards of 1,000 head were sent from Qld, SA, Vic., W.A. and NSW on steamers, usually 200 per ship. 
1901 28 horses from Port Adelaide.  
1903 500 horses on the Louise Roth, 300 from Brisbane and 200 from Bowen + 300 on the Queen Louise. Edouard Duclos had come over from Mauritius to choose them, several were matched carriage pairs.
1904 a shipload of the horses' friendly little cousins went - 125 donkeys.
1924 25 on the steamer City of Boston from Melbourne.

All up, several thousand horses were sent to Mauritius from the 1840's on (as per Aust archives). Ships traded there regularly from Australia but when cargoes are not itemised, cannot say if they took horses or not. Only those specifically itemised are used here.  Mauritius imported a lot of big mules from France and Buenos Ayres, ponies from Sandalwood, horses from Monte Video, Bombay etc as well as from us.

A few racehorses went but most were utility horses - artillery types for workhorses and draughts for carrying (well, towing) sugar  - a major crop of Mauritius - in mountainous terrain; the rest were riding and carriage horses including some beautifully matched pairs, remarked on by many. Australian horses got outstanding prices in Mauritius.

Racing started there in 1812 and was a great social occasion. In 1949 an Australian jockey returning home said there were 64 racehorses, all were allocated by ballot by the two turf clubs - owners could not buy and race a horse otherwise. At the end of the season horses could be retained or handed back to go into a pool for re-distribution, those not wanted by trainers went to be cart horses. In 1953 the Mauritius Turf Club and the Mauritius Jockey Club merged. In 1949 all racehorses there were from Africa, France, India and England. English is the official language but little used - Creole is spoken by 90% of the population, and French. Hindu and some other languages are in use. race club info.

A Dutch then French then English colony, Mauritius gained its independence in 1968.

Réunion... A surprising lot of horses went there. Not a huge market but consistent over many decades.

Often they were taken there when prices at nearby Mauritius were low, but some loads went direct. Reunion was one of the stops on the trading run. It's likely many French ships which traded here took horses back, their cargoes rarely made the papers. 

For some time in the nineteenth century, after the British gained nearby Mauritius, the French, who had previously had both islands, imposed large duties onto everything coming into Reunion. Australia let the French trade here, even between Australian ports, with the usual small duties only, and generously let them off all pilotage fees for both entry and exit. This was pointed out volubly in a 1865 article in the Moniteur de la Réunion by Monsier Jules Joubert, one of our colonists who had business ties in Reunion. He deplored this situation and asked Réunion to lift the duties, appealing to their love of liberty, which he said Australia exemplified, saying the French were welcomed here like children of the house! - even stressing it in French (enfants de la maision). The immense duties meant even French ships returned there in ballast rather than take cargo back over, after they'd been here delivering sugar. 

After appeals from the English government, Réunion relaxed their duties a little. Joubert did an immense amount to create a good trade relationship with the French here, and started his famous exhibitions to promote our produce - which became the Royal Shows so loved today. He had a fascinating life, arriving here in 1841, aged 15.

In 1865 a ship from Tasmania had taken a load of horses to Réunion and met a staggering import duty of 879 francs. Once duties relaxed more horses went. In 1885 Daniel Avery took 70 horses there, to St. Denis, on the Janet. As late as 1913 a load of 15 mares and 10 horses went over on the steamer Plauen.

Réunion was an uninhabited island colonised by the French in 1649. It was named Bourbon, changed to Réunion in 1793.  

Hong Kong... the China market is worth a book too. 

As early as 1848 the Plenipotentary's Cup was a race for Walers (Australian ponies). The start of Walers racing regularly in Hong Kong. In 1868, only Walers were entered for the German Cup. Hong Kong also used the term 'Waler" early.

As an early example, the ship Alligator took a load of horses over to Hong Kong in 1844 from Twofold Bay, Eden, NSW. 

Anyway, interesting to see much later, in 1950, Mr. W. Woods bought sixty horses early in the year for Hong Kong at Toowoomba, and came back in October that year to Toowoomba and to Rockhampton for hundreds more - saddle horses, broken and unbroken, 3 to 6 years old. He was competing at bidding with the Beaudesert abbatoir buyer - it was late in the horse trade days, the tide was turning. 

Hong Kong was a good market for over a century. Thankfully it continued late. Needless to say they also bought a gadzillion racehorses from us. Hong Kong of course was a British colony long after other places there, now part of China again. 

There were regular reports here in the papers, one in 1876 and another in 1910 went into great detail about griffin and pony racing. There was a constant lamenting the price - transport being the major component of price, it being a long trip - in 1876 it was said our ponies were too expensive and China, Manila, and Japan ponies were increasingly used. Races were for ponies only - despite TB's coming in occasionally, no-one wanted to keep and race a large horse. Professional riders could train the ponies, but amateurs must ride them in their races. It was well run and genteel. Women could stroll about and not be offended as there was no shouting or bad language. Bungalows were erected in the enclosure and tiffin served. There was a pretty grandstand of two tiers. Before the three days of racing, people liked to gather in the early mornings and for a small fee have hot coffee, tea and biscuits while watching training. Over the three days racing carnival, 27 events were held, all for ponies. There was little betting but sweeps were popular in the lead up to the races. 

In the 1930's, because of the Japanese invasion, ponies were sourced from Australia as it was too dangerous getting them from northern China.

A few loads/news... (loads more not all cargoes reported)... 

1853 report on the races with results, 2 days of racing, several pony events, 2 hack races - in the hack race Arabs carried 9 stone 10 pounds, Sydney, Cape, English and stud horses had to carry 11 stone 10 pounds. An Arab welter was held. 
1857 races were held over 2 days, and included a race for Arab horses only. There were several pony races and 2 hack races. 
1879 2 ponies on the Hermione.
1885 a report said only Mongolian ponies were raced, no Walers, Indian or English ponies.
1896 60 per Sommerfeld.
1905 traveller reported most carriages were drawn by Australian horses. 111 per Everton Grange from Maiden and Morton. 
1926 the Fanling Hunt Club was formed, with the race club of Kwanti. The hunts had big fields, and hounds; hunt horses were needed; they also held steeplechases. Ponies at the races all Manchurian.
1931, 31 ponies went over on the Tanda. On another trip the Tanda took 53 racing ponies. Another 12 went on the Kwongiang, but she was lost in a typhoon, all hands and passengers - 50 souls, and ponies - lost.
1932, Dr. Louis Reidy of Queensland was Colonial Veterinary Surgeon at Hong Kong and raced one of the best ponies there, called Season Ticket, she was from northern Queensland. The Chartres Towers Cup was for Australian horses only.
1938 it was reported Australian ponies would contest a "Melbourne Cup' of 10 furlongs for a big prize of $1,000. 23 offspring of Australian stallions had been successful that season, the most successful the progeny of Double Court. The race meetings were now 10 a year. All reports loved the course and atmosphere, and that there was no drunkeness or rowdiness. Australian ponies had won a combined huge amount, the most was won by Gypsy Love. Also in 1938 Jim Morrow and George McDonald took over 62 griffins.
1939, 60 ponies on the Tanda from Sydney and Brisbane (120 altogether, another 60 went to Shanghai). Each had  special box and elaborate care was being taken of them. In July on the Tanda another two hundred and fifty hacks also.
1940, despite a war being on it was reported there were still 500 ponies in the HKJC stables.
1947 ponies taken over on the Chanda from Qld. 31 on the Nellore from Brisbane.
1952, Duchess of Kent attended and watched an Australian pony called Bootsie win by a nose.
1953 a report on racing there, explaining the season and that Australian ponies were sent over that year.

Skymaster, owner Mr Airview Wong Bo-yin and named after his favorite aircraft, was an Australian griffin who streeted his first race, and became a famous racing pony in Hong Kong, trained his entire career by Lin Yun-Foo. He first raced in 1949 and had 18 wins from 27 starts through to 1953. detail 

Source: The Telegraph, Brisbane, April 1947.

After WW2 no more China ponies were raced, it was all Australian ponies and griffins. The first post-war race meeting was held in January 1947. Prize money was very good. A fabulous post war market for ponies. 

Tooday Herald (W.A.), August 1946

The fascinating thing about Hong Kong racing, is that they raced griffins early, happily tried out Australian griffins and horses, and really opened up a market for them. When a new height change was mooted in 1903 to allow taller horses to race, they tried hard to use rules to fit 'Old Walers' (ponies) and Walers (horses). A lot of griffins (Walers) were bought in 1901 and 1902, as the Boxer Rebellion had held up China pony imports. In 1903 the first Waler Champion trophy was run. China ponies came back into supply and Waler imports dropped although in 1904 there were still three races per meeting for Walers. This run down from the HKJC has top detail about the Waler in Hong Kong. Hong Kong relied on Shanghai, Tietsin and Korea for ponies more than Australia as these were nearby markets of plentiful strong ponies, that were inexpensive. They were about 13 hands. Racing was fun, locals and women too involved with owning, training and riding. The Happy Valley course was a big social attraction.
We'd been sending better ponies and horses to India, the East Indies, Singapore and Japan. By the late 1930's we began sending better quality horses to Hong Kong. The expense of shipping meant even inexpensive animals in Australia could not compete price-wise earlier.

Traders too, did not place the importance on griffins they did on proven race ponies and horses for orders. Hong Kong chiefly wanted griffins. Traders had got into the habit of going to India each season as it was their core business, so they didn't get to see how important griffin racing was, and that a good griffin became a highly valued pony. 

It must have been a combination of the horse market in free fall and racing increasing in popularity that led to better quality horses going over (for racing and polo) at a price they were happy with. Hong Kong really put our Waler ponies on the map from their genesis. It will always be in the heart of Waler fans for that. Many have gone down in history, winning big cups, fame and prize money for their owners and trainers. Thanks Hong Kong!

China (in general)... shipload of 345 cobs and 100 gunners in 1900 to northern China (Boxer Reb) for Imperial army chosen by Colonel Hunt and Captain Nutall, Hunt being the President of the Imperial Remount Committee in Australia; the horses were chosen in the Hunter and Gunnedah area, climatically similar to destination. Lots others went for over a century, countless, e.g. to Tsientsin. Armies, polo, paperchasers, work-horses, hacks, carriage horses, griffins etc. The Chinese Imperial Army, civil admin and merchants bought horses from us, as well as the British Imperial Army and personel there. Paper-chasing was a hugely popular sport, and Australian horses sought after for this fun form of cross country riding. In the 1880's it was reported griffin sales were dropping off due to finances over there. The two big race meetings were spring and autumn. 

China got a big influx of horses in 1900-1901, after the Boxer Rebellion, The "Army of Eight' - the countries who invaded - had many mounted units. Looting was so extreme there was no space to take horses home. Only the Germans took some of their Australian horses back to Germany on a specially chartered ship. This is looked at as a landmark change in horse genetics and horse size of the country, around the major centres. These 'war horses' were then bred to China ponies for racing animals, called Z-class. They were raced separately to China ponies because of their height and weight carrying abilities. detail and mentions Walers as gradually replacing China ponies until 1960 (pony Walers). Some z-class ponies such as Liberty Bay became famous.

When griffins had had their first race in Hong Kong, they were often sold on to mainland China for the Foochoow and Amor races. A good griffin fetched a huge price. Canton also held races. Like other places there were classes for various types although in 1876 no Manila or Japan or Australian ponies were entered, solely China ponies.

There were big horse (pony) fairs at Lai-Chow-Fu, across the bay from Tianjin and 120 miles from Chefoo where races were popular with locals and people stationed at the Customs etc. Australian ponies were often raced at Chefoo.

At Canton the races were said to be the most family friendly and fun. All racing in China in that era was though, gambling was a mere sideline at some places, and very minor. Having a pony to race and also ride, was a great form of entertainment and beat walking.

Shanghai... another good market for a long time and one of the world's great ports. Yet another market in China worth a book or three. 

The famous Horse Bazaar, not far from the racecourse, was established in the 1840's. A book published in 1867 said horses were brought there from Australia frequently, selling for high prices - 800Tls, while ponies from the north (possibly Mongolia) sold for 50 Tls. (book The Treaty Ports of China and Japan, Maayers, Dennys and King, re-pub. Cambridge Uni Press 2012). Nevertheless, then and for another three decades horses were hard to get, and ponies too. Ships going to China were sure of selling any horses sent as a speculation.

Horses at times were sent from India to Shanghai, it being shorter, and the horses already army trained. In 1860 1,200 artillery horses were sent to Shanghai from India and Manila for the French, who were on a colonising expedition, aided in this by the English.

Also continued into a late market, thankfully, for the horse trade. In 1934 for example, 200 horses a month were being shipped over for van horses. Shiploads of griffins and hacks went over in 1939. Cobs in 1906 etc. Cargo ships invariably had twenty odd horses on board either orders or a good speculation - and ships arrived daily from Australia. George Kiss sent 23 horses over in 1902. P.H. Morton 32 in 1907.

In 1909 Shanghai reported 35,000 horses were needed for the army, so they set up two breeding areas in China. The cost from Australia was probably prohibitive although they asked us for 10,000 horses in 1910 (still investigating whether this came to fruition).
The Shanghai Horse Bazaar was where most Australian horses were sold there. In 1906 Special Agent Burrill of the US govt reported that most horses sold throughout China were Australian, and urged his government to get in on the trade (Sydney Stock & Station Journal, Jan 1906), which gives an indication we had a very sound trade there, as well as ship cargo. 

In 1881 a travellers report in the Capricornian said the Bazaar was very busy, there were the usual full horse facilities, coach builders etc, and about 500 ponies were kept at livery. Mobs of up to 1,000 ponies at a time were overlanded from Tartary and Mongolia for the sales, most being bought for griffins. The Chinese horsemen who looked after the horses at the Bazaar were every bit as good as those at Kirks and the English horse bazaars (high praise).

Photo: Shangai Volunteer Corps on patrol source

The Shanghai Volunteer Corps was a big outfit that patrolled Shanghai to keep it safe for civilians and for defense against invaders. It was an international type outfit, essentially a state supported militia, composed of people from several nationalities (colonisers, even the French and English worked together!) - British were about half the number, there were local Chinese, and Japanese, Scots, French and Portugese, etc members. They had several mounted units and were good buyers of horses. They also had artillery units, and mounted police. Sikhs from India made up the mounted police in Shanghai for decades, always taking excellent care of their horses and beautifully turned out; their horses too were mostly all Walers. The council paid the Corps costs including hiring an army Colonel from Britain to be in charge and paying his salary.

anghai's famous big fire department also used Australian horses mostly. 

updating (probably pointless as horses went over all the time, not always listed)... 
1864 8 good horses from Messers Wyndham, Dangar etc sent by W. Burt.
1875 20 horses.
1902 30 ponies for Shanghai Racing Club on the Guthrie.
1912 25 horses from McCabe, Morton & Co for the International Racecourse Club per Changsha, October.
1939 60 racing ponies + 50 hacks went over on the Tanda (120 ponies went, 60 were for Hong Kong) plus two hundred and fifty hacks.
1949 shipload of griffins.

The Shanghai Paper Hunt Club. As hunting wasn't available, people stationed in China began cross country riding for sport, this became the weekend paper hunt, dubbed 'hare and hounds' although no hounds were used. A trail of paper, coloured for various reasons (purple for a bog, green a check at a bridge etc) was laid for 5 or more miles, after following it by spreading out and shouting Tally Ho! when the trail was found, there was a race like a point to point for a finish line. Having been doing this unofficially for a time, the hunt club was formed in 1863. The first winner was a pony named Mud. Horses had to be under 14 hands - ponies - so China ponies and Mongolians could be used. They also sent for Australian ponies. Although it was fun, early disregard for people's lands and crops caused anger, so compensation was paid, bridges built, care taken with routes and the hunts held in November (winter) after crops were off, etc. Farmers also had fun re-routing the hunt by moving the paper clues. A lot of Chinese were in the hunt club too. The season ended in March. It gained a lot of followers. video of the hunt club. During the Boxer Rebellion, British and Germans kept up the hunt and Russians joined in. Virtually every mount had been a griffin at some stage.

Pekin... horses for Pekin (now Beijing) were taken to the port of Tangu/Tanggu/Taku, which is now called Tianjin, also called Tsietsin. Pekin may have been down as destination but there was no good port. If the port simply said Taku then one knew the horses were going to nearby Pekin usually, or Tsiensin itself if there was a war on. Small but steady market - being so far away transport costs from Australia made our ponies expensive, and there was access to good, less expensive Mongolian ponies. 

There was a giant influx in the time of the Boxer Rebellion when we sent thousands of horses there. 

Racing ponies there was huge - in the 1860's and 70's the crowds were 80,000 at each race - the biggest races on earth. great read about it
Racing united countries - everyone stationed there, even although their home countries may be at war elsewhere, happily co-operated to run the races and cheer their ponies on.
'...There were about twenty of us, as a rule, from all nations and kindreds of the earth, bound by the double bonds of exile and a common interest; some had come from the neighboring temples, others had ridden from the city at the opening of the gates, and all had forgotten the cares of life and the dust-begrimed city, English and French, Germans, Russians, and Italians; citizens of the Great Republic and even the receptive children of the Rising Sun — all met in this ricketty old shanty on a common ground of goodfellowship. Let us then, gentlest reader, concede one virtue to this our horse-cult, since over it the Briton and the Kalmuck can meet in peace while Teuton and Gaul sink their differences in its pursuing. For this much, at any rate, is certain that neither over diplomacy, business, slander nor any other subject except that of ponies, can twenty men enjoy each other's society for two hours consecutively in any part of China.' extract 'Racing in Peking' article, no author given, in the Evening News (Sydney) 29th August, 1896.

New Zealand... A very good trade from earliest colonial days.
1840 shipload from Sydney. Also a load from Hobart on the Integrity.
1855 two shiploads from Sydney,  
1857 14 horses in the Clarendon from Sydney to Wellington.
1859 from Melbourne.
1861,'62, 63, '64 - 1874 thousands of horses went from Tasmania to NZ - good ships could sail from Hobart or Launceston to Dunedin in 5 days and land horses 'in splendid condition.' Several ships every week traded back and forth from Tasmania to New Zealand ports.
Horses also went over from Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney.

After the infamous Diseased Cattle Act of 1874 the lively horse trade to NZ slowed. The trouble started in 1872 when Australia prohibited imports of horses and cattle from countries with livestock diseases. The Australian colonies were then separate entities, and exempt from prohibition - this included Queensland and New Zealand. 

Queensland agreed to continue trading livestock with the other Australian colonies but New Zealand refused, as Victoria and NSW wanted to include them in the prohibition. However as prohibition was restricted to countries with contagious cattle diseases, and it couldn't be proved NZ had these, the fuss ended and trade went on.

But politicians there were highly offended and 'flew up in the boughs.' They decided to stop our livestock going there by introducing the Diseased Cattle Act with amendments in 1874.

This was done without notifying our government. Ships were en route to NZ with horses, blithely unaware of the new rules. Under this Act horses were called "cattle." Also sheep, goats, pigs, chooks, dogs, leather, boots, buttons, candles... any animal, alive or dead.

The Natal Queen arrived in NZ with cargo and two horses. They were confronted with a massive fine for arriving without obeying Section 6 of the Act. Section 8 also entailed a fine. Natal Queen's captain chose to sail back home with the two horses, and put the alert out. 

Section 6 said horses arriving in NZ must have a health certificate from a qualified vet at the port of departure. Other ships that arrived at the same time as Natal Queen had full cargoes of horses, such as the Waratah with 43 draughts, the India with 33 cart-horses and 70 Merino rams - chosen with great care all around the state, and said to be the best horses ever sent away; and the Prairie - all from Tasmania. Shipped by agents Fisher and Facy, who also owned the little trading ships.  The fines for not having the certificates were more than the value of the horses and sheep. They were sold to get fine money. There was another a massive fine - under Section 8 - for not taking them to a designated cattle port. 

It transpired there was no list of designated ports. It was at the discretion of NZ authorities. Once a ship with "cattle" arrived there, they were told to go to another port - or pay a huge fine. Tasmania, which had an excellent horse trade to NZ, had no qualifed vet in the whole state to inspect horses and issue certificates. Fisher and Facy, regular horse traders to NZ, had orders they wanted to honour so sent to the mainland for a vet to clear their horses before shipping. This added immense cost. Once they arrived in NZ, fines hit them for arriving at the 'wrong' port. 

The Tasmanian government asked the NZ government if a highly qualified surgeon could inspect stock; they agreed. However, the risk of fines for 'wrong' ports and the cost of health certificates pretty well stopped trade for a while. Tasmania sent horses to the mainland instead. Australian ports stopped sending livestock there. A sad way to end a good friendly trade. It meant far fewer ships going to NZ, hence far less with NZ goods came back as return trade. NZ for this reason, in 1875, went into prolonged depression. By the late 1870's as these punitive fines ceased, traders began sending ships with horses there again, although nowhere near as many as previously. New markets had been established.

Draught crosses for work were very popular and New Zealanders paid well in the heyday of trade.  People too, moved between NZ and Australia. A very good early trade for us. 

New Zealand began selling back to Australia - by the mid 1880's sending shiploads of heavy draughts and half bred types suited for van work over, and getting very high prices at the bazaars in Sydney. 

They rapidly got their breeding and export trade going, chiefly around back to Australia and to the Pacific Islands but also India and countries such as Hawaii and California. They were easily able to mount their own men for war on very good horses - always praised by all. Excellent horsemen who, importantly, always took good care of their horses. Fabulous customers until 1874. Mostly racehorses went over after that. Eventually sensible quarantine rules replaced the Diseased Cattle Act. NZ has a good horse culture, still thriving.

Thank you New Zealand, for Carbine. This stallion became worshipped like a god in Australia, where he was sold as a youngster and had his racing and early stud career. "Old Jack" as he was known, was sent to England in his old age for further stud duties. Carbine, 16.1hh, was by Musket out of Mersey. 

 Good Bye!
A sobbing crowd of thousands farewelled the horse when he left Australia. Heart-wrung poems filled the newspapers. When he died in England, Carbine's body was sent back to Australia. His skeleton was mounted in the Melbourne Museum, and like the (later) stuffed body of Phar Lap, became an object of pilgrimage and reverent worship - like ancient saint's bones in a holy reliquary in a temple in a distant land. I myself have quietly been to see Carbine and Phar Lap in Melbourne. Thus were we infected with horse worship. Perhaps the younger generation have new gods! As Will Ogilvie, the great poet said:

This worship of Horse is a sin and a curse 
So we hear in our parson's talk 
But we're steering straight for the golden gate
And we might as well ride as walk

It would be hard to find a Waler or Thoroughbred without Carbine blood. Some Waler breeding stations had many of his offspring, for example his son Pistol, out of Wenonah, foaled in England but sent to Australia as foretold in a poem at his farewell, stood in South Australia. Jim Robb sent over 20 Pistol colts and stallions to his station in Central Australia, Lambina. "Pistol marks," well known markings seen on many Central Australian Walers, come from this legacy.

New Hebrides (Vanuatu)... this group of islands was inhabited but taken over, in a greedy series of squabbling and treaty breaking, by the English and French; to avoid a full on fight they finally shared occupation. People could decide which nation's law to live under. Before this, any ship that was wrecked off the island was doomed, as survivors were caught and eaten. Ships such as the barque Elizabeth (from Sydney for sandalwood, 1840's). Some of Marian Watson's crew badly injured whilst in small boat ashore trading for sandalwood, also the Terror's crew attacked and some killed and eaten whilst trading for sandalwood 1848 etc etc. many more.

Blackbirding (taking men for indentured labour, a form of slavery) by Australia and New Caledonia meant the male population was reduced by half. Many settlers moved there from Australia (and other places). Horses were needed for farm work - livestock and plantations, as well as transport. Load from Norfolk Island 1898 on the steamer Ysabel. The Makambo took a load over in 1927, bad storms meant three died on the way. 

Vanuatu got its independence in 1980 after a long patient struggle, France not wanting to give it up. Riding was popular with everyone and still is. Horses went over on trading steamers that usually called at Fiji and Tonga on the way. They probably got horses elsewhere too such as from the French (New Caledonia, although most of theirs were from us, not all were), possibly the Dutch East Indies etc  - French ships had a trading route from Marseilles in France via their colonies and trade ports. Small trade but good. Great place for a holiday too.

Was also known as Portugese East Africa. The steamer Johannesburg left from Beira - a port of call for traders on the South African run - came here and went back with a load of horses in 1899; possibly for war efforts. 

We had regular trade there as Beira was a port of call on the south African run, we sent frozen meat there etc. Prior, sailing ships as well as steamers traded from Australia to Beira, the barque Marie and another being wrecked there in 1890 returning to Australia in ballast.

Beira is on a big river which was useful to take cargo up, in smaller boats, including horses for settlers, soldiers and miners; Australian miners were going there in the 1890's with working horses, most were organised with co-ops and companies set up to provide neccessities.

The British steamer Turkestan had her name changed to Beira about this time, showing it had become a signifigant port - the British regularly landed stuff here for their colonies inland and took goods out, a railway from the port inland to Salisbury etc made a big lift in shipping trade after 1899.

Horse disease was a problem. Tse tse fly meant horses often didn't last long. There was conflict in nearby British colonies in 1896, the Portugese lent the British forces their horses at that time.

In 1900 we landed several thousand horses there with our troops for the Boer War. No horses came home. Kitchener killed over 400,000 horses in this war. Ships the Atlantian, Euryalus, Maplemore, Gymeri, Victoria and Chicago took a lot of horses with Australian Bushmen contingents. They were prime horses. Ship the Waimate brought men and horses from NZ, they too had excellent war horses. 

All horses from the first three ships mentioned were taken to Marandells in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), then a British possession. Troops were dispersed to Salisbury, Buluwayo etc and some went to the relief of Mafeking etc. Plenty of military sources on all this. Appropriately, we had a Captain Dobbin at Beira in charge of our horses.

Horses, men and gear of the 4th Imperial Victorian Bushmen being unloaded from the steamer Victoria at Beira, Portugese East Africa, 1900.

There was no wharf, so horses were slung over into punts, fifty a day thus being unloaded. It's noted here as some horses remained in country, hence may have had a genetic influence, of a minor sort, on local horses. Some of our men caught typhoid fever in Beira and some horses got blue tongue, both lethal, many deaths ensued. 

A small but significant trade as many of the traded horses went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), hence genes were spread widely from this one port. Many shiploads of horses at Boer War time were private speculations, they sold chiefly to armies however many mercenaries were in the market too; miners, farmers, merchants, civil admin etc. 

In 1903 101 horses and 2 ponies went to Beira from NSW. Another 200 went from Brisbane on the Gulf of Siam. Shippers complained the rail costs from Beira for horses was extorionate. August to September was the best time to ship horses there, as disease was far less prevalent. 

Mozambique gained independence from Portual in 1975.

Norfolk Island... 
We sent horses there, as an Australian-British possession, from earliest colonial days. Norfolk Island in turn became a good horse breeding area, sending horses and cattle to Fiji, New Caledonia and New Zealand for decades. 

1877 the schooner Canterbury, Charles Moller master, took 27 horses to NZ, landing two at the Bay of Islands. All belonged to Mrs Watling. In a puniative move, NZ prosecuted under the "Diseased Cattle Act".

In 1902, Mr F.M. Nobbs, the Collector of Customs on the island, said in the Sydney Wool and Stock Journal, that hundreds of horses for decades had been sent away in vessels of 40 to 100 tons. He described how they were secured on board - a unique method of tying them between two poles running along the vessel beside the mast; horses tied by the head and cattle by the horns. This method was apparently more kind than stalls, for their losses over the years were less than 5% and the animals arrived in excellent health, unlike those chafed on the sides, front and rear by stalls arriving to the island from mainland Australia. Only one bad passage occurred, when the Marion, taking horses to Noumea in 1879, met a severe storm and all her livestock were killed.

Norfolk Island was uninhabited when claimed by Britain just after they claimed Australia, being first settled by convicts and their guards who began farming to help feed the new colony at Port Jackson (Sydney). It remains an Australian possession.

Turkey... Walers went there in WW1 and WW2, some stayed; other than that in 1947 they ordered 1,000 general purpose horses, which were sent over... possibly a few more went there, will add when found. 


Unloading from ships 

In Calcutta the port was shallow, ships had to unload

horses by sling into lighters, usually local boats called mussoola boats about 20 feet long. It was dangerous, especially when the horses leapt out near shore virtually capsizing the little boats. The same at Madras where weather could stop a ship coming in and huge surf dangerously impede unloading and sharks were plentiful. photo, Argus, 1943.

Before long large barges were used which were far more stable. They were brought alongside and many horses could be lowered into them from the big ship. The horses were jumped out into the sea, near shore, and the barge scarcely rocked.

Landing horses at Madras, 1834. 

At Ujina in Japan the horses (thousands) were lowered into large sampans to get to shore, these were deep in straw. Here the Japanese cavalry made the best job of anywhere of handling the wild horses ordered, getting them ashore and to stables with no upraised voices, not a mark on a single horse - the most professional and patient handlers the shippers had seen. They preferred their straw packed sampans to the ship's lighters.

The great vet and horseman Matthew Horace Hayes, who'd been in India and famously called Walers the best cavalry mounts in the world, wrote a book about caring for horses on board ship - it was such a huge business. His best known book about veterinary care for horses is the "Bible" to horsemen. He pointed out in the shipping book something good horsemen knew - not to ride horses much after shipping, as they would break down due to having been standing in one place for weeks. They needed a good rest and bringing along gently until ready. Some shippers such as Madden had their own lands in India to rest horses. The remount depots in India had paddocks as well as yards and stables.

Some passenger liners such as the Solingen regularly carried horses, as well as passengers and some cargo for ballast, on these trips the horsemen enjoyed comfortable cabins, a saloon and entertainment between working hours. 

All ships had their fun times when crossing the equator when it was party time on board, with much silliness.


Telling it how it is, you miserable piece of rat poop 
Colonel William Pitt Robbins

who, with Colonel Scobie, Colonel Atkinson & Major Grant came toAustralia from India in 1857 and stayed some months into 1858 to buy horses for the heavy dragoon guards and artillery horses. Colonel Robbins made a big impact here - he told everyone exactly what he thought of second rate horses and those who try to sell them!

This story is an indication of how haphazard the trade still was - thousands of horses were sent to India and elsewhere since the early 1800's but greedy dealers such as the notorious Edward and James Lord (Tas) and John MacArthur (NSW), army men themselves (British) before becoming ruthless entrepreneurs, looked on it as a way to get rid of rubbish at a big profit. Lord also enclosed false pedigrees with his sorry horses and named various races they'd won - races which didn't exist. Both learnt the hard way but gave us a bad reputation for a brief time. They too finally sent quality away once the scandal was exposed.

Sending some military men to act as army buyers was wise. Also routine - throughout our horse trade other countries sent their own men until they realised our traders, once established, were as good if not better and simply left it to them.

They toured NSW, Victoria, W.A. and Tasmania. In Port Jackson (now Sydney) Robbins - Indian Army Remount Agent to the Australian Colonies - chartered 4 ships. One ship carrying 200 was at that time the biggest amount of horses on one ship leaving that port. Robbins sent 547 horses to Calcutta, Scobie sent 628 horses to Bombay from Port Jackson. From Melbourne Robbins sent 476 horses to Calcutta on the Europa, Caribou, Pericles, Reinhard and Siam; the horses chosen by Watson and Hewitt, all top class. Horses shipped from the Swan River and Hobart Town made their horse numbers up to 2,200 horses sent to India.

Some of the chartered ships were clippers but at least two were iron built screw steamers, early steamships. The clipper Chesterholme arrived from England, she took horses for Robbins in Hobart.

Sailing to Calcutta, she was lost on the way in Torres Strait, hitting a reef and becoming aground there. Torres Strait was the ships graveyard in those days. The horses, although set loose, stood on the reef up to their bellies in water, it's thought until they perished. Sixty were seen by a passing ship there (the Shamrock) that could not get close enough to rescue them. There had been 120 horses. The men made it to Booby Island in their life-boat, an excellent vessel, where a passing ship rescued them.  They left their lifeboat, salt meat and hogsheads of water on the island for future wrecked sailors. Canoe loads of natives were plundering the wreck of Chesterholme soon after they left it. It is an ancient right of salvage. One canoe kindly paddled over to the Shamrock to tell them the crew had left in the lifeboat. One can only wonder if any horses managed to swim to land. 

Colonel Robbins caused much consternation here as he was very fussy and rejected 90% of horses showed him. He also rejected almost all of a gift of 100 police horses the NSW government made - and told them what he thought of their rubbish! He was angry as he'd had a close call in the Indian Mutiny just before he sailed to Australia - mutineers killed every single horse on his own stud. He was grieving, and his fury needed an outlet.

Colonel Atkinson was more sensible, he saw the need for a depot, as when a ship needed filling they must take what was to hand, when a week after sailing far better horses may be brought to sales. It was a matter of being able to access large numbers of good horses quickly. 

Despite being scathing Robbins did a lot of good in making breeders and buyers realise India only wanted the best. Rubbish would not sell. Afraid of nothing, let alone speaking his mind, he also highlighted the corrupt state of our racing industry back then, putting his disgust into writing.

Colonel Atkinson suggested a Remount Depot be set up in Port Jackson (Sydney) by the Indian government to facilitate the shipping away of horses, sales, and handling prior to shipping. Captain Apperley had made the same suggestion 14 years earlier, and had set up a temporary depot at Bungarabee, 20 odd miles from Sydney with the drug lords, the East India Company; he pleaded with them to no avail to make a permanent depot when they shut that one down. Apperley kicked the horse trade off in a big way, scores of ships sending horses to India in the 1840's. It was remiss of the NSW government to have missed the opportunity of setting up a decent depot for India (two inadequate ones were made). He was a good man with remounts as he'd been remount agent in the Cape colony, resulting in a great market for Cape horses to India.

Colonel Robbins had raced horses in India for 21 years - after all Calcutta was considered the finest racing in the world and established a long time, and the game was clean. He tried racing horses here and was shocked it was a dirty game. Racing was a rort here for a long time. It's thought his outrage at being diddled at the track made him condemn every Australian horse he saw, ferociously. One can hardly blame him! He sold his first racehorses bought here, but soon bought more and raced them - it appears racing either got cleaned up quickly, or his horses were good uns - he enjoyed some wins before he left.

Robbins and Scobie left everyone depressed about their condemnation of a lot of horses they saw, the newspapers were shocked, but it put breeders on the right track and showed what excellent money was available for the right types - the officers paid handsomely for quality - spending over 100,000 pounds - a fortune. It made people realise there was an excellent living to be made if one was honest and supplied good horses.

Robbins submitted a report on return for the Imperial forces, sent to our government too, which said Australia was the best place in the world outside England for horse raising - and praised our horses in this document - all was forgiven! In fact, he'd fallen in love with Australia. It was a horse mad place, and he was horse mad too.

The result of all this was that lacking suitable depots, the need for middle men - buyers for India - was apparent. They could source horses from all over the place before the shipping season - Australia being too vast for an army man or three to try and get to remote breeding stations, and horses back to a port. Traders could select the horses and arrange handling and shipping. 

Shipping agents had been advertising empty ships waiting for a cargo of horses to take to India - all that was missing were professional horse traders. Soon they jumped into gear. On arrival in India, the horses were sent to the excellent remount depots there, for sale. 

Horse trading began in a giant way - the market was insatiable. 

Horse traders only got paid on delivery which weeded out the bad eggs - as did their support network. They needed to make and keep a good reputation. Before long our horse buyers got top reputations throughout the world for their honesty and supply of quality horses to private people, businesses, governments, coaching firms, tram companies, delivery companies, fire departments, police departments, the racing world and the biggest trade - armies. 

Colonel Robbins' ascerbic manner did much good. As it transpired he liked Australia so much he returned here to live and got into the Melbourne racing scene. It's thought racing benefited from his forthright and honest manner, it was becoming a far cleaner game at that stage, and quickly. He also sent a shipload of blood horses to India but it was lost with all on board, horses too, en route. 

Sadly, just as he began an enjoyable retirement, Robbins died in 1862 at St Kilda, Melbourne, of an 'abcess of the liver,' aged only 53. He'd been sick only a week. Hugely respected with many friends, he was given a full military funeral and his favorite charger, boots reversed, was led behind his coffin, which was on a carriage pulled by six black horses in full regalia, black plumes and trappings, and attended by several regiments and a huge entourage of mourners in private carriages. A good horseman seen out in style, who did much to put our horse trade into order.


Colonel Williams... In 1884 the Director of the Remount Service in India, Colonel Williams, came to Australia and travelled about extensively looking at Waler breeding. He looked throughout South Australia - escorted by George Goyder, the famous Surveyor-General; also Victoria, NSW and lastly Port Darwin. He'd wanted to go to Queensland but time ran out, however he wrote a letter to the Queenslander apologising and encouraging horse breeding for the army in India.  

The Colonel stressed the value of shipping horses to India, particularly praising our good gun horses (artillery) and told how the government was doing all they could to help, in Calcutta a remount depot with 800 loose boxes was in place so horses could go straight there from the ship. Fodder was stocked, everything was done to help look after and sell the horses with the smallest cost possible for stabling, feeding etc to the horse traders. 

By then traders had worked out a good shipping plan - shipping lines were only paid per head on horses which arrived at their destination alive.  Not all accepted these terms, but good firms did, it became standard during the 1860's. It gave skippers an incentive to sail a ship sweetly for steadiness, carry ample water, and co-operate with horsemen for best care. 


The Boveric adventure...

photo Sydney Morning Herald 9th May 1902. 

Some trips were eventful. The Boveric is a good tale of the times, an amazing feat of seamanship.

In 1901 the Boveric, a reasonable sized steamer of 3,965 tons, well built for toting big loads in heavy seas - with 965 horses shipped at Sydney, Newcastle, and Melbourne - set off for Durban, South Africa. The horses were for the Boer War, a private consignment of quality horses that would sell like hot cakes, horses being in huge demand.

It was the largest number of horses to be shipped in one load at that time. She took 65 stockmen. The horses were sent by experienced trader Donald McInnes. His brother Allan, an excellent horseman, travelled with them on the ship. Allan had been sending horses from the eastern states to Western Australia for seven years. He'd spent the past three years also sending them to his brother Donald in South Africa, but Don had returned to Australia and arranged this load himself.

Captain Lewis A. Leslie had been in command on the Boveric for a few trips. She couldn't have had a better master. The usual stow-aways were found - thirteen on this trip. As Boveric was considered "a lucky ship" this number didn't worry anyone. Nonetheless, seamen are superstitious and the men kept busy trying to find another stowaway. Thirteen, however, it was.

Ten days out of Durban the ship shuddered dreadfully. Disaster! Boveric had lost her propellor. That left her helpless. When it happened she was 30.4 degrees south and 96.23 degrees east - a thousand miles from anywhere. She drifted. 

They made makeshift sails and attached them to the derricks - she was north of the usual trade route - outward ships went in a higher latitude to inward ships, and she'd gone higher still. No other ships were on her route. 

As she ran under her jury rig when a breeze finally came she'd make a couple of hundred miles, then it would go dead calm again, currents and swell would carry her back north. They kept busy making more sails. The Captain was worried they'd get into the trades and be carried still further from any landfall. Several times they re-crossed their own track, desperately trying to go south west but being taken north. 

They made a mainsail, topsail and foresail, and kept adding more.

She remained stable so the horses had a smooth time of it, even in big swells. Every now and then the Captain dropped buoys overboard, attached to which were bottles containing pieces of paper with her position at the time, and the need for help. 

A man jumped overboard when they were first adrift, to swim for help, others prepared to follow but sharks gathered and he was quickly brought back on board. They decided against the idea. Land was out of sight. 

After eight days of drifting the Captain met with his officers, then called for volunteers to take the life-boat for help. She would be set up with sail and supplies. All men volunteered, making the Captain very proud of his crew and the horsemen. He chose the Chief Officer Henry Hayman, the Second Officer W. McCarthy and two AB's, H. Dry and T. Timmins. 

The little crew of four set off with Captain Leslie's blessing, facing one of the world's longest stretches of ocean, all the way back to Australia. 

After 27 days and 1,500 miles of sailing - perhaps the longest trip in a small boat for rescue ever -  the brave little crew of the lifeboat were picked up off the coast off Fremantle by the Adelaide S.S. Co.'s steamer Willyama. The alert for rescue of Boveric went out. 

News went out to all concerned, and Donald McInnes, then living in Gloucester NSW, hurried over to Fremantle to meet the lifeboat crew.

The Kilburn went to look, and ships the Age at Port Pirie and Tagliaferro at Albany were chartered by the insurance company to search and reported to Fremantle. But they did not leave port - signals came through from Rottnest Island signalling station. Two ships were seen and one looked like the Boveric.

Rescue was underway after 37 days adrift. And that was after a month already at sea. 

The Narrung, of Lund's Blue Anchor Line, a steel screw steamer built at Sunderland of a hefty 5,078 tons, was taking 190 passengers to England for the coronation of Edward VII (who rode a Waler, his favorite horse). She had a ballast of coal. She sighted the Boveric's night light and distress signals - Boveric set massive electric lights at her masthead nightly - running the motors to power them, tricky when the tailshaft was busted and using her coal up.  Narrung like all ships leaving Fremantle knew the Boveric was overdue in Durban and feared lost. Ships leaving Australia and Durban had been alerted to look for the lost ship, some altering their course to search en route.

Narrung came to see what was wrong with this steamer showing distress lights. She stood by till dawn then came alongside. Although Boveric had made a lot of sail, she was still very slow, horse feed, already rationed, would run out before she could get anywhere - she needed help. Captain Bond of the Narrung agreed to help. He was pleased when his passengers approved.

The chief engineer of Boveric, W. Moore, said everyone was hugely excited when the Narrung came alongside. Every night they'd looked out for other ships, only seeing stars, in their imagination at times hoping they were ships. No other ship had been spoken at all. Thirty six days had passed since her prop was lost -  they were naturally worried. Lots of cheers went up.

Narrung, commanded by Captain A.W. Bond R.N.R., kindly took the Boveric in tow at 8 a.m. but the cables carried away. They re-organised and tried again at noon - success. Narrung towed her back to Fremantle. The weather stayed fair. Captain Bond reported his passengers stayed in good spirits despite being taken back to W.A after several days out and the prospect of missing the coronation. The Boveric was 870 miles from Fremantle when picked up, and it took 5 days to tow her in.

52 horses had been lost, chiefly to pneumonia due to inactivity - but the others were in surprisingly good condition - a testament to Captain Leslie, horseman Allan McInnes, and all on board. 

Despite it being pre dawn as the ships passed Rottnest and the signal was sent, the pilot went straight out to them. Captain Leslie was much respected in Fremantle, having been to Western Australia a few times.  They got into Gage Roads about 10 am. While still in Gage Roads, the shipping channel at Fremantle, several tugs went out to greet the two ships and guide them in - and a launch with Howard Smith line reps, agents for the Narrung - and Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Hayman from the lifeboat were on the launch, immediately recognised by the men aboard the big Boveric, who all cheered as they came alongside. They soon climbed aboard. 

Ships leaving Fremantle hoisted 'Congratulations' signals, and Captain Leslie hoisted 'Thank You. Well Done.' (referring to Narrung). 

On arrival at Victoria Quay in Fremantle a huge crowd cheered madly as the ships docked. Fremantle, a seafaring community, had turned out. Cheers went up for the crews. 

Captain Lewis Leslie. 
Photo taken in 1899, the year before the Boveric voyage. 
Source:The Australasian newspaper.

The Captain was a man of few words but praised the effort of his men. In later years many of the crew told how it was the Captain, coming among them with quiet encouragement, that kept their spirits up when it looked as if help may never arrive.

Everyone watched the horses come off - relieved they were in excellent condition and good spirits, although stiff from standing so long and unsteady on their sea legs as they came ashore. It was suggested the men caring for them be given medals by the Royal Humane Society, and those who went for help get medals for bravery. The newspapers were full of praise for the care they'd had.

The horses were rested in a sandy yard at the docks where they could at last lie down, they all enjoyed a jolly good roll then went to nearby agistment as the ship was repaired. Donald McInnes was overjoyed about the horses condition, and sent telegrams off to his friends, one being Mr. E.W. Sparke, the auctioneer of West Maitland, from whom Don had bought 240 horses on the Boveric. He said the horses had arrived safely back in Fremantle in splendid condition, Allan did not sacrifice a single horse, they all got the same rationed feed, only the sick ones died. It had been nine weeks after all - an amazingly small loss for the conditions.

Rescue ship Narrung resumed her journey next morning, having coaled overnight, to South Africa then London - she was heartily cheered once more and seen off by a large crowd gathered to bid her 'bon voyage' and 'thank you'. Boveric and Narrung's crews both cheered each other. She piled on steam to try and make it for the coronation and was helped by fortune smiling on her. Edward needed an operation - the coronation was delayed. Narrung got there in perfect time. The magnificent procession of state of tens of thousands of soldiers gladdened their hearts to see Walers marching along, just like the ones they so recently rescued.

Coronation Procession - many Australian horses were with British and colonial troops. 
source and more pics

Meanwhile in Fremantle the story with a happy ending was taken to the hearts of the seafaring community. A meeting was held in the Fremantle Town Hall in June 1902, a fortnight after they got back. The Mayor Mr. L. Alexander and VIPS all gave speeches about the bravery of the Captain, lifeboat crew and all on board. Telegrams were read out from the Premier and Governor, and the Governor sent 5 pounds and 5 shillings as a reward to the lifeboat crew. 

The lifeboat crew were each presented with a gold watch and chain and pendant, and a purse of sovereigns. The Captain was asked for a speech. He said sailors were not much good at words, he was proud of all on board and the life-boat crew, and the Boveric which handled splendidly, and he could not find words to thank Fremantle for their welcome and kindness. He was given three cheers and a standing ovation.

Further notes on Boveric's story...

The shipper was insured, so salvage costs for this trip which proved low, were covered. However the horse trader Donald McInnes, no doubt immensely relieved to see his brother safe, and proud of his management, had a problem. Only cargo lost was paid for - a fraction of the horses. The horses did not get sold as expected, so he had zero return. And now had a giant agistment bill. He refused to pay the shipper as the contract wasn't fulfilled - the horses weren't landed in Durban. While the Boveric was adrift, the Boer War had ended - horses no longer required. 

The shipper was faced with re-loading and taking the horses to Durban to get paid, despite the war now being over. The horses couldn't be moved elsewhere by McInnes until agistment was paid. He said agistment should be paid by the shipping company. Stalemate. 

At Fremantle the new propellor was fitted. Once fixed, the Boveric crew started re-loading the horses but with peace declared in South Africa McInnes faced the strong possibility of no sale there, so tried to prevent them being re-loaded. It became a physical tussle - Allan McInnis and 16 of his men trying to stop the horses going back on board. They and the crew came to fisticuffs. Police were called. It ended up in court. While in court, the 913 horses ate merrily in expensive agistment paddocks and had a well deserved rest.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court, the shipping company wanting costs incurred by the horses before sailing. No-one could move the horses until agistment was paid. The shippers won in court, the horse traders had to pay agistment and pay the shippers. Horses did not need to go to Durban. 

McInnes and Fell shipped horses from eastern Australia to Western Australia and to South Africa. This was Allan McInnes' second trip with horses on the Boveric to Durban. He'd set her up to carry this enormous load, horses were on four decks including an orlop deck he had made. Wisely, he'd made sure there was plenty of water, and the ship had electric light throughout and piped water.

He was proud they survived nine weeks at sea with only 4 weeks feed carried, and so well. Despite suggestions he kill half the horses once it was apparent rescue was a remote chance, McInnes simply cut their rations down, refusing to sacrifice any; on 8 pounds of feed a day rations - bran and chaff - they thrived. The Captain supported his decision to save all the horses lives he could. McInnes had 10 days feed left on this ration system when they got back. He'd booked the Boveric for three more trips but the end of the war halted this enterprise. Plus the little matter of clearing up the court case!

McInnes praised the on board vet, Dr David Stranahan and the Boveric's skipper, Captain Leslie, for their great efforts in preserving the horses lives. The Captain had made sure his ship was well victualled and carried ample water too, and while the motors could run they could condense water; all they ran out of for humans were, in the Captain's words, "life's little luxuries" during their time adrift.

What happened to the horses after the court case one can only guess - no doubt they were sent on another ship overseas, to be sold to recover costs. There was a massive demand for horses. Donald journeyed home by steamer in June 1902. He went to Manila that year and set up a Horse Bazaar so perhaps they all went there.

Captain Leslie was born in England and went to sea at age 15 from Liverpool, in the days of clippers, and had incredible experience - a trusted officer and commander in famous shipping lines (not Navy) when the British took troops to wars in both north and south Africa. He went in to Egypt when the enemy had taken all navigation lights out, at night. He'd migrated to Australia in 1892 to work for the Howard Smith line and skippered several of her steamers. He married in Australia.

Record number... In 1905 when a fleet of steamers took horses to the Russo-Japanese war, for the Japanese, the ship Everton Grange carried a world record for the times of 1,337 horses. She was a massive steamer of some 8,000 tons, at the time the largest ship to dock north of Sydney. She took her horses on at Bowen, Queensland and went via Hong Kong.


Some of 150 horses being loaded on the Naringa at Pinkenba, Brisbane, for India. She then went to Gladstone further up the Queensland coast and loaded another 500 head. 
The Telegraph, Brisbane, 1938.

shipping horses to India, 1889
wood engraving, State Library of Victoria



Adam family, Pinjarrah, W.A.
Anderson, James.
Andrews, W.
Aplin, Harry. Southwick Stn, Chartres Towers, Qld.
Ashton brothers, James, Bob, Geoff, Phillip. Goulburn, N.S.W.
Atkinson, Thomas, Gippsland; of Lyons & Atkinson.

Australia & Eastern Co.
Avery, Daniel James. Perth W.A.

Badman, Archie
Bagot, Edward (Ned). South Australia.
Baldock, Robert G. Ellengowan Station, Clifton, Queensland.
Baldock, William Carey (S.A. then Melbourne).
Baldock, Christopher Godfrey (Port Elliot to Currawa, Windsor, Melbourne, to Bombay).
Baldock George, Melbourne.

Beazley, Frank (Francis), Emerald, Queensland.
Beazley. Arthur William, Jingellic Stn Vic., & Wagga Wagga NSW.
Beazley Thomas Arthur, Wagga Wagga.
Bickley, Wallace, Western Australia.
Blyth and Company.
Bowra, J.
Brockman, William Locke, Western Australia.
Brown, Maitland. Western Australia. K. Brown and A. Brown worked with him.
Burgess, Jack and William (Bill), Adelaide.
Burke, Thomas (Tom) J. Victoria.
Burke, M. Queensland.
Burt. W.W. Sydney.

Caffray and Coonan.
Calder, E.
Cavanagh, James.
Chauncey, J. and A.C. Victoria. 

Christey, Fred. Croyden Park, Sydney NSW.
Clark, George; worked for Ralli & Co. then manager for Hill & Co.
Clarke, Sir Rupert, Bart. Victoria

Cotgrove, C. Also E.W. (presumably same family).
Combe, Matthew Horace. Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia.
Cooke, John. Melbourne.
Coonan (with Caffray).
Cotton, Alfred J. Queensland.
Crawford Daniel Munro, Cook's River NSW
Crews, E.
Cronin, David (Dave) J. Townsville.
Crooke, Edward, Lucknow, Gippsland, later South Yarra, Melbourne.

Crosby, W. & C0.

Dalgety and Co.
Dallon, C. North Rockhampton.
Dangar, Henry. and R.H. NSW. other Dangars too
Dawson, W.S. N.S.W.

Davies, J.L. Qld.
Davis, H.
Derham, Thomas Burge (Tom). Baybrook, Victoria.
Dickson, F.V., NSW.
Donald, D.T. Melbourne.

Donovan Frank. J.
Donely, Queensland, at times worked with Rogers.
Donohue, John. Queensland.
Duclos, E.Melbourne.
Dunn, Richard. Queensland.

Duval. John.A.

Enright, John (Jack) R., Maitland NSW.
Evans, Joseph, Victoria

Fanning, John Joseph (Jack).
Fell, William. Queensland.
Ferry, Arnold & Seth.
Fisher, William and Facy, Peter. (Hobart, Tasmania).
Formby, William H. Adelaide.
Fountain, Frederick (Fred), Melbourne

Gascard, Jules.

Gascard Brothers (the sons of Jules).
Gidney, Isaac, Charlie & Harry J. Melton, Melbourne,Benalla, Victoria (Harry in business with Derham). Isaac the father, Charlie (Isaac Charles jnr) and Harry (Henry John) the sons.

Gilder, Alfred & Richard (Gilder Bros.). Piecefield, Muswellbrook, NSW.
Gillman, Bunbury W.A.
Glance, Levi.
Glasscock, Alfred E. Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria.
Glasscock, Arthur. Melbourne.
Glasscock, Charles. Melbourne.
Gordon, Robert. Queensland. Also had Gordon & Co. and Gordon & Son. 
Gosper, James, Windsor, NSW
Gove, Julius. and C0. Fountain, Melbourne, Victoria.
Gregg, V.
Grunike, Julius.

Hall, Ivan. Liverpool Plains, N.S.W.
Hamill, worked with Uphill. Victoria.

Harriot, jnr.
Harte, Thomas James, Bundaberg, Queensland. Bought for Hegarty Bros and at times took horses over to India for them.
Hayes, William Henry "Billy". Maryborough, Queensland.
Hegarty Brothers, Henry, James (Jim) and William. Queensland.
Henderson, Ian. Melbourne.
Henderson, Roy. Melbourne (WW2 era).
Henschke, A.G. Bookpurnong.
Herbert, Stan.

Hodge, Grantham, Qld.Howard, Michael (Mick). Melbourne.
Holmes, South Australia, later Yokohama, Japan.
Howard. Melbourne.

Howell. Fred.
Hunter, R.A. N.S.W.
Hunter, R.J. Woodstock, Victoria.
Hurley, Henry (Harry). Gippsland Vic., also Sydney. N.S.W. Worked with Rugglesworth at times, and with Frank Reynolds.
Hyde, J. M. Melbourne.

Icely, Thomas, Esq. 1840's.
Inglis and Company. Sydney.
Ives, C.B. Oakden Hills.
Jenkinson, Robert. Victoria.
Johnson?Johnstone, James A. Woodend, Victoria.
Jones, William A. and Co. Melbourne.

Keates, William James, New Brighton, Melbourne; bought a lot in Qld.
Kenyon, Charles ("Hellbent" Kenyon). Eagle Farm, Brisbane. 
Kerouse, Edward. (sometimes spelled Krause, Krerouse
Knightsbridge & Co.

Krcrouse - the last possibly the correct spelling) worked with Henry Madden.
Kiss, George G. West Maitland, then Sydney.
Kiss, John.

Lalor, James. Queensland.
Lalor, T. Western Australia.
Lamb, P.A.
Lamotte, Robert B.
Lane and Dawson.
Lang, A.
Langwill, A., H. and J.
Laurie, South Australia.
Lawrence, Dugald.
Learmonth, Thomas. Victoria.
Little, J.
Lock, Phil.
Love, James Simpson. Townsville, Queensland.
Lowesby, F.
Lyon, C. L.
Lyons, James. Pentridge, Victoria. of Lyons & Atkinson.

MacArthur, James and William, of Camden. MacKeller, Harry. Partner with Smith, Harold. Sydney. 
Mackin, D.D. (with Madden).
Macklin, W.
MacKinnon, Donald.
Mackinnon, Hugh.
MacPherson, Ian, South Australia.
Madden, Henry (Sir). Travencore, Melbourne, Victoria.
Maiden, George and Morton, Alfred John (Jack). Partnership of two good, lifelong horse traders.
Margrett, Steven (Steve) 'Colonel'. Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria
Markham, J.G. "Glencoe', Rutherford, NSW. Markham held horse sales at Maitland and sent the odd few horses away himself. He bred and showed horses e.g. a coacher stallion.
Mawley, James. Sale, Tocumwal, Griffith, N.S.W.
McAlister, Billy.
McDougall and Co.
Medlow, George.

McInnis, Donald, Townsville, Queensland.
McKellar, Harry. NSW.
McKenna, Alf. South Australia.
McKenna, Richard (Dick). Flemington, Melbourne, Victoria.
McMahon, C.G.
McPherson, Donald. W.A. 
Mentha, H.
Moran, W.
Morey, W.
Morrow, Jim. Wagga (with George McDonald).
Morton, A.J., as above in partnership with Maiden although also operated alone. Sydney.
Morton, R. Melbourne. At times a partnership with Dixon; other times as Bell, Morton and Co.
Moxham Brothers, Parramatta.
Muggridge, William G. Sydney, NSW. Originally from Ballarat.

Murray-Smith, William David.

Naples, T.C. Victoria.
Naughton, William. Qld.

Neary, J.

O'Donnell, John Sylvester (Jack) West Maitland, N.S.W.
O'Donnell Brothers (Jack, Michael, Frank and James), West Maitland.

Pascoe, Charlie. Often worked for Hegarty Bros.
Powell, Arthur.
Powell, Charles (Charlie). latterly of India.
Powell, Robert Augustus John James(Gus). Caulfield, Melbourne.
Princep, H.C., Princep Park and Dardanup Park, WA.
Purcell, B.H. Brisbane, Qld.

Ralli, Steven, South Australia. Rasheed, Mick. Gum Park Estate, Redbill, South Australia (Rasheed Brothers).
Rasheed, Sam. Minburra, South Australia (Rasheed Brothers).
Raw, Alfred (Alf) H. Brooklyn Park, Adelaide, South Australia.
Rea, Hugh. Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria.Ralli, S.S. Balaclava, South Australia.
Reynolds, S.F. (Frank),Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria & Tollygunge, Mathoura, Riverina.
Rice, Pat.
Roberts, Charles (exported with Charles Smith 1840's)
Rogers, James (Jim). Toowoomba, Queensland. At times traded with Doneley.
Ross, Daniel.
Rowlands, J.C.
Robb, Jim. Adelaide, South Australia.
Rowley, Joseph G., Waverley, Sydney, NSW.
Rugglesworth. Victoria, shipped with Hurley.
Rupert, C.R.

Salter, S.B. Melbourne, then Sydney.
Schmidt, Wolfgang. Baulkham Hills, N.S.W.
Scott, T.D.

Singh, Juwan. Blanchetown, South Australia.
Skene, Curtis. Kilbride, Campbell Town, NSW.
Sleddon, Thomas. Western Australia.
Sleigh, Sam. Victoria.

Smith, Charles (exported with Charles Roberts, 1940's from NSW).
Smith, Harold (Harry), worked with Harry Mackellar. NSW.
Smith, Thomas Richard.
Spooner Hart, Dr. NSW. bio elsewhere
Steinwedel, W.H.
Stewart, G.B.

Tail, Tom.
Tarrant, Frank. Beeae, western district, Vic.
Tindale, Percy. Bylong, N.S.W.
Tullock, R.O.
Tulloch, James. Segenhoe, Scone, N.S.W.
Uphill, T. Paranjip Park, NSW.

Van Reenan (at times spelled Van Rennan, Vanrenan Van Rewan in news), Henry.P. Melbourne,Victoria.
Venn, Frank and family, 'Dardanup Park,' WA.

Warren, Thomas, shipped horses with James Lalor then alone.
Warren & Tulloch, firm that shipped horses.

Watson & Hewitt.
Watson, George. Sydney (born Ireland).
Watson, Thomas (Tom), Sydney.
Weekes, Edward (Teddy).
Woods, W. Toowoomba, Queensland.
Young, A.E. (worked for Julius Gove and Co.,).
Yuill, G.S. & Co. Adelaide.
Yuill, W.S. and Co., Melbourne.

AN INTERESTED GROUP. The Horse Sale held at Kapunda last week attracted a lot of attention. The sales totalled 456, and the average price was over £15. Those in the group are Messrs. R. McKenna and J. Robb (buyers for India), Harold Coles, Charles Coles, Sydney Reid, Sir Sidney Kidman, Messrs. C. Kidman, Steve Margrett (Indian buyer), Ross Coles (auctioneer), G. Medlow, and A. Raws (Indian buyer). 
Above photo & caption - The Chronicle, October 1939.


Top Row : Norman A. Richardson, W. McEwen, R. Forcus, S. F. Reynolds, W. F. G. Bedford, M. Howard, and H. J. Tidney.
Bottom Row : J. Howell. J. Little. Julius Gove, John Barker, R. T. Allen. R. McKenna. A. Glasscock, with Pat McGaffen immediately in front.
Above photo & caption: Adelaide Observer, August 1903.
Mr S. Kidman's army of Drovers. Kapunda Sales 1904. 
photo Adelaide Observer.

Buyers at a big Wodonga sale in 1900
T . H. Griffith. I. Little. F Shield. W B. Smith. C. L. Griffith. A. Gillder. W. Moran. T. C. Naples. J. Baldock. W.J.Lyon. E. Krcrouse. S. Margetts. R. M'Kenna.
C J. Clarke.  F. Reynolds. M. Howard. H. J. Gidney. W. Rosling. W. A. Adamson. J. Gove.
photo source The Australasian.


Defense Department/government buyers... Australian army suppliers...
WW1 unless stated otherwise, incomplete list...

M.A. Irwin, Imperial Commissioner (horse buyer for govt), N.S.W.
Captain Jones
Captain Robertson (also prior to WW1, was at Kapunda 1910 buying for example).
Captain Hankey, Imperial Remount Commission.
J.R. Henry
James A. Johnson.

Harry J. Gidney
O'Donnells of West Maitland.
McKinnon, Hugh. from Vic, also bought in N.S.W.
Muggridge (for our govt for Boer War)
M. O'Connor, N.S.W.
Mick Rasheed.
Colonel Hunt, Army Remount Dept. Boer War
Captain Nutall, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Boer War.
Lt-Colonal Gribbin M.R.C.V.S. bought for govt WW1, stationed at Liverpool (NSW) depot. he'd also bought for the Boer war.
Charlie Gidney bought for the Boer War.
Robert Baldock. 
McDonald, Norman. Bought remounts while based in Sydney, throughout WW1. Not sure if as govt agent or as private trader. Set up as Norman McDonald & Co. in 1914 becoming McDonald Bros in 1915. Substantial city premises.
Charles Evans (son of Joseph), bought widely in Vic and NSW. Worked for Dalgetys in civvies.

Ernest Albert Le Souëf  (later Colonel) was President of the Military Horse Buying Board when we declared war on Germany in 1914. Horses were inspected by army veterinarians and remount officers. They had to be sound, the right age and colour - basically bay, brown, black or chestnut, about 15 hands to 16 hands and over 4 years old - preferably 4 to 6. The right build for their use. Obviously wheelers (sometimes called polers) and centres were heavier than leaders and remounts.

Captain G.S. Bruce (veterinarian) was Senior Veterinary Officer at the Remount Depot in Abbassia in Egypt, 1915-16, he inspected all horses on arrival there.

It is to be noted many horses were gifted to our army in WW1, and many light horsemen already had their own horse as mounted units had been formed throughout Australia for sometime, most from Boer War times. As well as remounts however, there was a massive demand for artillery horses, to pull guns, ambulances, field kitchens, various transport uses. 

The army also had a couple of horse breeding establishments, although these were small. It was quickly found all our
remount depots were inadequate when war broke out. In November 1913 Senator Rae, NSW, made a strong recommendation the government urgently set up breeding depots for artillery horses (Hansard). He was ignored. 

In February 1913 the government looked at setting up horse breeding stations in the McDonnell Ranges and on Bitter Springs, N.T. - Warburton, the famous central Australian horse breeder, while in Melbourne getting married, recommended the Centre as a top horse breeding place and also recommended the Norman Percheron for getting good horses for army uses. Nothing was done.

There were considerable sales of horses to the Australian army throughout WW1.

Whilst we sent a lot of horses to the Boer War, the numbers were far exceeded by Austria-Hungary, Ireland, England, Argentina and the United States of America (American horses numbered 109,878)  - the USA sending the most. Russia also sent horses, small and tough; New Zealand and India. A grand total of 352,353 - figures from Horses in the South African War, c. 1899-1902, Sandra Swart, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, as published in Society and Animals, 2010. A brilliant essay.

...being updated...

this blog is about horse sales as a commercial market - our involvement with WW1 has been done exhaustively by others more interested in military matters. If it were not for the long established horse trade, we would not have had enough of the right horses for WW1, and would have had to resort to second rate animals. As it was, we did ourselves proud, through no effort of army or government. It was our breeders and traders who so superbly horsed us.

biographical notes
(only some, as not enough room)

Harry Aplin

Harry sometimes went to India with horses bred on his father William's station, Southwick Station near Charters Towers. William Aplin ran about 500 head of horses, many by Exeter (by Panic) and by Kelpie, a grey. He bred for the British and Indian armies in India during the 1880's. Robert Gordon bought about 12 horses a year from him, suited for the India trade. Harry went on Company ships that took the horses to Madras, and sold some direct there. Other members of the family bred for India at Georgetown (thank you to Wendy Forsyth for some valuable information about her family). Not sure if Harry went as a groom or trader; if he sold horses then as a trader.

Robert Gordon was a stock buyer in Qld. A very good horseman and very fair buyer, paid well. What a clan the Gordons are! Tremendous horse people. Robert Gordon & Co.; Robert Gordon & Son. He travelled huge distances to inspect and buy good horses.

Aplin, Brown and Crawshay were also shipping agents, operating from Burketown and Townsville; had coastal steamers built. They occasionally shipped horses overseas e.g. 20 on the Taiyuan to Manila 1909; mostly shipped wool,  hides, meat etc. William Aplin, son of William and also of Southwick, worked for this company, he married in 1897. 

William Aplin M.L.C. (senior, d. 1901) had four daughters and four sons. The boys were tremendous horsemen, Harry and Arthur being mentioned in the papers at times. He bought Southwick about 1879 from R. Stewart.

In August 1892 William Aplin MLC and several others met in Brisbane to set up a company called the Indian Horse Export Company with a capital of 5,000 pounds, raised by shares subscribed at 5 pounds a share.

Daniel Avery

Daniel James Avery was Western Australia's biggest horse exporter, it was his speciality. A fantastic horse trader. Originally from New York (according to news reports, can't find any confirmation and it's to be borne in mind that York was a locality in W.A.), he was in Western Australia by 1875. He operated out of Perth and had almost 20 years sending horses away. 

Avery was one of the very few horse traders who became owner of his own ships. The Janet, a well known schooner in WA took many loads to Mauritius, Ceylon and Singapore for him. When built, she was the biggest ship built at Fremantle. In 1888 she was wrecked almost home to Fremantle from Colombo, with no livestock on board and no loss of life but a full cargo of furniture and bran sacks; Avery had to fight the insurance company in court to recover costs. 

Enterprising, hard working, a good horseman and business man. In 1875, in Perth, Daniel James Avery Esq. of New York, wed Eliza, the third daughter of James Austin of Perth, and widow of James Roston of Manchester, England. She was to accompany him on many of his voyages delivering horses, taking the children along too.

Some of many loads... 1876 he took horses to Singapore in the Spinaway. 1877 a load on the barque Amur to Java, reached from Fremantle in a speedy 12 days. 1879 he took horses in the Bessie from Fremantle and picked more up at Geraldton on the way to Batavia. 1883 in June he sent a load to Mauritius. In December 1884 he took 88 to Batavia, among them a beautiful pony named "Young Strike" for which he'd paid 70 guineas. In 1885 he was buying in Victoria Plains and the Vasse areas, in March he sent two shiploads of 83 horses on each ship to Mauritius, on the Janet and the Star Queen. Prices were not good so he took the Janet's load onward to Ceylon and got a better result. 

It was reported Captain Shaw, well known as skipper of the Sea Nymph, Iris, Laughing Wave, Bessie and other W.A. traders, went over to Timor for a load of ponies for D. Avery the trip that Bessie was burnt to the waterline there by an insurgent. So it appears Daniel was also importing. Capt. Shaw bought countless loads of ponies to Australia and Mauritius. 

1884 he took 88 on the Janet with 5 ostlers to Guam (yes, well...! - notes on what Guam really meant elsewhere in blog)). He often cleared out for Guam. In that year, the horse exporting partnership of Matthew Price and C. Ogbourn was dissolved - all debts to be sent to Daniel Avery. Price had gone on trips with the horses. Ogburne often went away as an ostler for Avery, in charge of horses on his ships, including after this, so they were on very good terms.

1886 100 horses went on the Janet to Mauritius, described in the news as 'truly splendid.' The little ship also carried an immense load of fodder for them, Avery's arrangments for stock and cargo on board being highly praised, he rarely lost a horse on his trips. He was experienced in coastal shipping of horses too, bringing them to and from the north. In 1887 he paid a massive 250 pounds for two racehorses to export. He always sought good matched pairs of horses for carriages and for work horses, and good hacks, and would pay good prices.

1888, in April out of 124 for Singapore he lost 6 due to excessive heat and calm on the way; unusual for him to lose horses. He was insured with the Horse Owners Mutual Insurance Company. In November the Bittern took 118 horses to Guam (!) for him; his wife and two children accompanied him. He also sent 120 on the steamer Australind to Mauritius, intended for the Janet, but she'd been wrecked. 

He took many loads from Cossack, and often took a couple of local squatters along for the ride to help his ostlers with the horses, so they could see where their horses went, dropping them back to Cossack on the way home from Singapore, Sourabaya, wherever they took the horses to.

1889 a load of 77 horses to Mauritius in April per Star Queen got good prices. In 1890 he suffered a loss when the Bittern burned out in Java, he'd delivered a good load of horses and was paid in gold, which sank with the ship. His wife was with him; all lives were saved. As the ship was insured for the outward trip only and had touched at Batavia, he was not covered.

...many more loads away, at least four shiploads a year - usually more - as soon as Daniel got home he set out buying more horses and often sent two loads away at once, always going with one load himself. 

He also raced horses, usually these were Walers, being described as colonial bred with no other breeding records - one such, his aged gelding Robin, was in several match races for him in 1887 in Perth plus races in fields of up to 10 horses. Robin won 200 pounds for Daniel in one match race, decribed as remarkably fast. 

In 1890 he owned a brigantine named E. & H. Avery which was shipping horses for him. He'd been liquidated for big debts that year, but must have recovered enough to own this vessel. 

Daniel met an untimely and tragic death on 29th December, 1892. He was only 43 years old. He'd bought bottles of strychnine and medicine that day from the same chemist; they were in identical bottles. The strychnine was for rats on two of his horse ships. Four empty bottles were found in a manger after his death, he'd laid down in a friend's stable, in the straw, to rest, feeling tired and unwell, but died there - the same day he'd bought the bottles. His medicine was chlorodyne - supposed to prevent cholera and other ills such as rheumatism and the flu. No-one was aware how addictive chlorodyne was (morphine based) - although in those days addiction to common medicines was not a concern. It's possible he mistakenly took strychnine, and when he realised, had the chlorodyne - it was said to counteract the effect of strychnine. The 4 chlorodyne bottles were empty, the poison bottle had one third missing. Was his death deliberate or an accident? We shall never know. From accounts, people believed it accidental.

The coroner could not find a cause for his death. Daniel left a widow and children. He had some life insurance, and the brigantine E & H Avery was sold a few months after his death. His wife Eliza, who died in 1924, aged 83, had a glowing tribute in the paper, being kindly, cheerful and a worker for the Anglican church. She had four children, at least one 
by her first marriage and either two or three with Daniel. 

Daniel Avery put WA on the map for horse supply to several countries, he was a great sailor and skipper who took sailing ships with great skill into and out of difficult ports, across the oceans in all weathers, and almost never lost a horse - most of his loads arrived with every single horse alive and in superb condition. A great horse trader.

Robert G. Baldock

lived on Ellengowan Station, Clifton, Queensland, where he bred horses for India and cattle. Ellengowan was 36 miles from Warwick.

Photo: R. G. Baldock, from the Telegraph (Brisbane) 1936.
Rob was also a keen trader, in 1935 in an interview (Chronicle, 28th Feb) he said he'd 'crossed the line' (the equator) about 100 times, as he not only went to India for Christmas often but managed several trips there a year with horses. 

He often travelled with other horse buyers and traded to Bombay. His wife died on one trip en route home, in 1908, the ship pulled into Fremantle, she was taken ashore to hospital and died. Robert returned to India by the same ship rather than continue home. 

In 1933 he went over with 800. Sometimes he included a few quality cattle in his horse shipments. In 1932 he'd been to India 40 times, he was going over with his wife, he'd remarried at some stage and their daughter was born in 1916 in Melbourne.

He would travel over with one load of horses and stay in Bombay to see them spelled off the ship, polished up, handled as necessary and sold. His own dealers would travel back and buy more shiploads as required, for example he and Gove sent three dealers back for three more loads in 1906 just after they arrived. The horses sold like hotcakes. Baldock had a top reputation for supplying quality. He condemned 'weeds' and horses 'with high shoulders (withers) and low necks' as being no good and likely to break their wind.
In 1934 he went over with his wife and their daughter Valerie. He also took a few racehorses at times with the remounts. In an interview in June 1914 (just before the war) on a visit from from India, he said he was sending about 2,500 horses annually there. 

He had a good depot of his own in Bombay and stayed half the year in India, and half in Australia. His wife enjoyed the social rounds, Delhi horse show, golf and contract bridge there, in an interview in 1935 she also sympathised with the independence ideals of Ghandi; his son remained at home running the station.

In 1929 it was mentioned that in a load of 750 he took over on the Quiloa, was a strong piebald of 15 hands for a drum horse for the Indian Army. 

In December 1926 he travelled with horses on the Sirdhana and other traders Dick McKenna, Dick Gilder and Jim Love - the ship was going to Calcutta. Baldock generally went to Calcutta for the Christmas festivities, balls and cocktail parties, and racing and polo, then daughter Valerie went to compete in the Delhi Horse Show and Robert and wife followed the social season to Bombay, where he met up with his horses, all rested and in good care. He was the biggest single supplier of horses to Bombay from Australia, importing a minimum of 1,500 annually for native and British mounted regiments and artillery.

Baldock Brothers

Other Baldocks traded horses - notably Christopher Godrey Baldock  and William Carey Baldock, who were brothers.

Their father was Colonel Robert Walters Baldock H.E.I.C.S (Honorable East India Company Service) who migrated from 'St Heliers', Jersey, U.K. to South Australia in 1854. Children born on Jersey, probably raised in India. They started horse trading in the 1850's. 

Colonel Christopher Godfrey Baldock was Colonel Robert Baldock's brother - also from the East India Co. forces - who'd also migrated to S.A. A real military family who knew India well. The son was hence named after his uncle. (hopefully got a handle on the family tree, apologies if not).

Christopher Baldock (son of Robert) was racing a chestnut mare, Jessie, in the Hack Stakes in 1856 at Goolwa near Port Elliot, S.A. In 1861 it was Minnie in a match race, 1862 one called Gingerade, in 1863 his Aberdare and Minnie both won; in 1867 it was Highflyer.

William arrived in Adelaide from Port Louis in 1860 with a Mr Demazures; and returned from Port Louis again in 1861, both times returning from taking horses over. It was reported he taken several loads of horses to Port Louis (Mauritius) from South Australia. In 1861 not all sold as supply outstripped demand, so he'd put 26 onto a French vessel and gone on to the Isle de Bourbon (Réunion) to sell successfully them there.

In that year, 1861, Colonel Robert Baldock's property Woodlands, 450 acres at Port Elliot, was sold. The Colonel had served with the 46th Regiment of Infantry (and other regiments) and was 75 at his death in 1859. His wife Susannah died soon after him in early 1861. So the B
aldocks came from a good military family that knew India and were also pioneers in the S.A. horse trade. After the death of both parents a move was made.

At some stage Christopher and William moved to Melbourne; there's a record of William going from Adelaide to Melbourne on the White Swan in 1862. The brothers may have stayed a while in both states as they seemed to be working in both over the 1860's, although settling in Victoria. In the mid 1860's Christopher was buying good gallopers in Melbourne for top prices, and he was trading horses to India. In 1865 they sent a big load from Melbourne to Calcutta.

In 1869 Baldock and Macklin sent 133 horses to Calcutta on the American clipper Montana from Adelaide. It was reported Baldock had made the trip many times with horses, and knew the market. This must be one of the brothers, as they travelled form Vic to S.A. trading horses frequently.

Christopher Baldock lived at "Currawa," Windsor, Melbourne. At times he was reported returning from India with family and servants. 

In 1873 Christopher and William and R.C. Mitchell took 244 horses on the Lanarkshire to Calcutta, via Fremantle. In 1877 it was reported a daughter was born to William's wife.

In Christopher 1899 Christopher travelled over to Bombay with his wife, daughter, son and another horse trader R. H. Glasscock. One daughter had married that in May that year, and in September he sold up at Currawa including 'art furniture' and a beautiful phaeton and fine harness, to move to India.

The Baldock Brothers bred as well as buying, racing and showing good horses. Christopher got a prize  showing a draught colt in 1868 in the Murray Valley. He raced horses in VRC meetings. The brothers went over to India each year. A few of their trips... (heaps more)... 

In 1869 a Mr Baldock from Melbourne was going over to Calcutta with a load of 122 horses, including several well bred gallopers. The news report said they were the finest horses ever to leave the port, and that Baldock had taken horses many times to Calcutta.

In 1883 the brothers took 360 horses over to India on the Gulf of St Vincent.

William Baldock died on board the mail ship Ballarat in 1885 en route to Melbourne from Adelaide, a 'known shipper of horses to India', he was returning from India with his brother C. G. Baldock. He was buried at sea - this indicates he may have had a notifiable disease, probably caught in India, such as typhoid. A risk for all going to India with horses. 

In the 1880's Chrisopher raced a good horse named Wellington, selling it for 1,000 pounds with 100 pounds annually for the rest of its life.

A Victorian report in 1886 refers to Christopher Baldock taking 360 horses to India, travelling over with them, and was reported to have greatly improved horse shipping by the loading methods, adding to improvments made by horse trader Mr Warren, who set up a system from rail to ship, and deck to deck, of high sided walkways. 

Mostly their horses went to Bombay, occasionally Calcutta. In 1888 Christopher sending horses over including a much admired lot for the trams of Bombay, matched carriage pairs, hacks and chargers, a few gallopers and a few racing ponies.

In 1890 it was reported in Victorian papers Mr Baldock had been shipping horses to India a very long time, he was going over with Mr Weekes, also a horse trader, both taking horses.

The Baldocks shipped horses overseas from 1860 and probably earlier through to the twentieth century and were active in racing and riding and showing. Pioneers 
of the trade, especially for South Australia, fabulous traders.

Frank (Francis) Beazley

lived at Emerald Queensland. He bought and traded to India and also bought for other traders , and officers such as those from Java who came here for horses. He bought big numbers, one of Queensland biggest buyers.. He went up to Mackay for several hundred a season, and out to western Queensland. He had his own depot at the Duck Ponds, Comet, near Emerald, where basic handling such as tying up, teaching to lead, and grooming was done, as well as sorting them into classes regarding quality and intended use, before the horses were sent away. He usually had about 1,000 horses there which were sent away in two or three batches. One of his drovers was named Hoey, Hoey took horses from Emerald down to Moree in NSW for Beasley, buying a few more along the way for him. Frank sold his property at Emerald, Langley Downs, in July 1927, although he still had a lease on some land in the area. He went to India with his horses and spent up to 6 months there. At Rockhampton Show he provided cash prizes for the winners of the cavalry horse class. At times he went buying horses around Queensland with his friend the horse trader J. O'Donaghue, who had a strong Irish accent and forthright manner of speaking. They both went to Rockhampton in 1931 for example. Frank also judged at Rockhampton Show. He could afford a chaeuffer to drive him about in an A model Ford to horse sales and properties selling horses

Frank was from a very horsey family, his father A.W. Beazley was a big horse trader as was his brother Tommy. He lived at Rockhampton for years, then moved to Vaucluse, then Double Bay Sydney.

Sometimes spelled Beasley in old newspapers.

A. W. (Arthur Frederick William) Beazley 

Buyers for the India Market
Standing: Messers Margrets, Krerouse, G. Kiss. A.W. Beazley.
Sitting: Messrs R.Gilder, Reynolds, J. Gove, R. McKenna.
Australian Town & Country Journal, 4th September 1907 

This was a massive horse sale at Bourke, 1,900 horses sold. More changed hands privately. Hundreds of horse buyers - all the big names.

Know as A.W. Beazley in most accounts. Beazley lived on Jingellic Station, Upper Murray. Horses were his living, he was a big trader and bred a lot of horses too. His wife was Christine (nee Holman, of Clear Springs Station, Upper Murray before marriage to Beazley); their children were Thomas Arthur Beazley - also a big horse trader; John and Francis - also a big horse trader. 

Fantastic horse family who bred, bought and sold horses for generations. Also involved with racing, owning many good horses. Arthur also took out leases on blocks of land about the place to spell horses en route to sales such as at Wodonga and Berringa. Also up through NSW and Qld.

He was away from home a lot, buying and selling horses. For example in 1904 up on the Darling River buying all the good horses he could get. He traded thousands of Walers overseas including to India and to Japan for the Russo-Japanese war. He attended many horse sales such as Wodonga in 1886 where he sold 40 medium and heavy draught colts and fillies, and sold 109 draughts there in 1901, and Wagga in May 1913 where he and Kidman were the biggest sellers. Many more.  He supplied many sales with horses, including good artillery types (which fetched good prices, several getting 40 pounds each at a sale at Inglis' in 1905 and a draught stallion bringing 64 pounds) - often he had 500 to 600 head per sale, most aimed for the farmer market. Interviewed in 1913, he said remounts were by far the biggest demand and always sold well. His horses went to all our big horse markets, notably India. He was also a big customer at the Kapunda sales. 

Beazley droved his horses from Jingellic into Wodonga to sell. He bought in three states and paid drovers when he couldn't do it himself. In 1911 for example, Beazley droved 120 horses from Emerald to Norley (may have been Frank). His sons were brought up on horses, helping with the family horse trade.

Sydney Mail & NSW Advertiser, 2nd November 1904
Record horse sale at Bourke. Beazley sold a lot of draughts, one pair topping the price. He also bought horses. These successful sales were started by John Patrick Martin.

Arthur was athletic too, and when young competed in foot races - in 1887 he won 20 pounds in one race. It was a good way to make some money.

As well as trading, he owned some handy racehorses, his Floater won the VRC Grand National Steeplechase in 1898, and his Neptune (by Trident) won the Commonwealth Steeplechase at Moonee Valley in 1905.

In 1914 Jingellic, of some 4,000 acres, was split up and sold.  Born in 1858, A.W. Beasley passed away in 1930 in South Yarra, Melbourne. 
His wife Christine passed away in 1939.

                  Thomas (Tommy) Arthur Beazley
Thomas was the son of Arthur (above). A horse trader all his life. He lived in the Upper Hunter for many years, then Albury, then Wagga. He traded to India and Java and other places. He married and had children Francis, RAAF, Kevin, AIF, Bede, AIF, Claire (Presentation Convent) and Mrs P. Backhouse (at time of his passing). 

Thomas also raced horses successfully, winning many races, including at the popular race 1890's meetings on Jingellic station. He was a popular racing man. His three sons were all involved with horse racing. 
He passed away in 1945 aged 62.

William Locke Brockman

William Locke Brockman.   Robin Hutton photo
Brockman migrated in 1829-30 to the Swan from England, with his wife, baby, seven servants and a flock of merino sheep. He started farming from Herne Hill, his property, and was soon exploring - looking for more arable land - becoming one of the biggest landholders in W.A. 

William imported many good horses, and soon gained a reputation for breeding and showing top quality horses. In 1845 he presented a huge silver cup to the winner of a race for non-Thoroughbreds, for horses under 5 years old. Horses by his stallion Margeaux were eligible. Perth races in the 1840's were an annual event.  

He started exporting early, one horse (with other stock) to Mauritius in 1848. A load with Colonel Irwin in 1850 on the Scindian to India. In 1855 he and his family went to Madras with a load on the General Godwin, including some of Wallace Bickley's horses. They got good prices. Brockman met the Governor there and tried to establish a contract for the army buying Western Australian horses. From India they journeyed on to England. Thomas Sleddon sent what was called the first load of horses to Singapore (probably the first from WA) in his own ship the Mary Queen of Scots, loading to sail the same time as as Brockman.

In 1849 he chaired a public meeting to start a horse trade company for India, asking for a government grant of 80,000 acres for horse breeding. This idea was a Mr Yule's, and opinions differed over where the land should be, as it seemed certain persons wanted it next to their own stations. It was established next to one of Brockman's properties.

In 1857 he chartered the Elizabeth and took a load to India, with his family going along too. In 1863 a horse he'd sold to India won all its races with great ease, in Madras, and they were run over 2 mile heats. It was not a Thoroughbred. 

In 1864 he sent horses over on the Lord Dalhousie, with some from Thomas Sleddon and Mr. Phillips. He kept exporting horses until 1871, the year before his death. The 1871 load was taken over by his son Henry and met terrible weather on the way, all but 2 of the horses dying. 

William became a magistrate (for 42 years), J.P and M.L.C, was on the Agricultural Society board etc. William died in 1872 aged 70, his wife returned to England to see out her days there. Their nine children, most married, remained in W.A. 

William (Billy) Burgess 

Lived and traded from South Australia, being a regular at Kidman's sales. Invariably took a shipload of about 60 over to India most years, such as in 1900 and 1901 on the Darius, which carried other traders and horses. Like Lamotte's specials they were carefully chosen, top quality horses and ponies. He supplied super polo ponies. In 1902 he took 40 over on the Fortunatus on one trip. 

He did often did 2 trips a year to Calcutta. In 1903 he was returned from his 12th trip to India and reported the army had decided to buy only from 16 or 17 regular traders, and tested each horse by a vet inspection, trotting in hand and being swum to test its wind. He had taken 39 over and 38 passed these tests. Many horses from others did not pass. He reported the market was very strong, big numbers were coming in (about 3,000 to 4,00 horses) and good prices were being paid, top prices for strong artillery horses. All artillery horses had, as usual, to be "most active" including the heaviest, those for howitzers. In 1903 he'd bought at the record Kapunda sale, and was photograped in the group portrait of traders with Kidman (in this blog).

Bill, often called Billy by his mates, also brought good horses back from India, often champion pony Arab stallions for breeders such as Stephen Ralli.

In October 1904 it was reported in the Chronicle (Adelaide) he was on his 14th trip to India with horses and ponies, that year he was taking 61 on the Umpta, with other traders and their horses and ponies. His load were not remounts but polo ponies, hacks, matched carriage pairs and paper-chasers. In 1913, 1915, 1917 he was still buying for India in South Australia, plus other years just adding dates when found in archives.  He deplored weeds and squibs.

James Cavanagh

Philip Charley

Photo from the Hawkesbury Herald, 25th Sept. 1924.
Philip Charley of Broken Hill Company fame, is worth a mention for bringing so many top coaching and roadster stallions to Australia for India breeding. He also brought in many top class Cleveland mares and Hackney stallions. His horses won prizes at countless shows.

J. and A.C. Chauncey

Victoria, Bought for Adamson, Strettle & co.'s Horse Bazaar in Melbourne, also on their behalf bought and shipped horses from Qld. Bought widely across Qld., drove them himself to railheads and sports. Also bought in NSW.

Fred Christey

Specialised in buying top class racing thoroughbreds and race ponies  for the Straits Settlements and India. Also sent remounts, griffins, gallopers and square trotters to Java and elsewhere. Said to be the biggest horse exporter pre WW2. 

He'd sent 25 racing ponies to the Settlements in 1916, on a commission. They were so successful - one named Ipoh becoming a champion - more were ordered, and exporting as well as trading within Australia,w hich he already did, began in earnest for him. He sent more in 1916 too, for a Mr Bowen, born in South Australia but who'd lived in Singapore for years, who had come to Australia for horses. Christey got them for him, and aquired the appropriate horse export permit. All that were permitted to be sent were horses under 14.2hh of any colour, and those over 14.2hh had to be piebald, skewbald, greys and creams (which meant duns, buckskins and palominos then). This was to prevent any military horses going away, in case we needed them - war was on. They got between 60 and 70 horses altogether, some were show harness horses, some were pacers, some ponies. Bowen was friends with the Sultan of Johore and went hunting with him; he presented Christie was an extra large tiger skin, he had shot the tiger himself (yes not good but it was that era).

In 1925 he sent trotters and gallopers for hacks, to the Philippines.

He'd been horse trading for sometime, for example in 1913 he was at a draught horse sale at Mudgee where his opinion on horses and prices was sought. In 1909 he was selling horses at a big sale at Wellington NSW. 

In 1914 at Five Docks in Sydney was a carnival for the Patriotic Fund, to raise money for the war. Christey took a team of 6 skewbald draught horses, that caused a lot of attention for their good looks.

Sending racehorses to Singapore in 1941, he said racing there had not been affected by the war, the prize money was as good as Australia, and other races were held up country. Among the horses was a top race pony of 14.2 hands, Eager Fox.

It was said Fred Christie had more racehorses than anyone in Australia, because he was always buying them to send overseas. Sometimes he gave them to Ted Hush to try out for a couple of races before shipping, invariably they won, adding value. 

In 1944 his property at Blacktown was caught in a bushfire. Christey risked his life to save a colt he'd bred. The colt was in a yard, and while everything was blazing, Christie ran through flames, getting burns himself, to let the 7 month colt out to run to safety. The fences were on fire. The dam, Leone, had won 29 races for him. Leone was in another yard that Christey was unable to reach for flames. Luckily the mare had the sense to run to her feeding spot, which was bare earth, and remain there until the firestorm passed, she survived. Christey house also survived although he lost a lot of other things. He named the colt Lucky Escape, and the following year it won a race for him, his first as a breeder. His trainer was Ted Hush, and the Christey-Hush combination was a potent one. 

Leone was Hush's first horse when he started out as a trainer. The Lucky Escape win was sweet for both of them, and Billy Cook rode him a treat in a near run thing, almost a dead heat. When ted was able to buy himself a property at rnadqwick, he named it Leone Lodge. The little mare had set him up as a trainer, and brought in the biccies for several years. Leone was not a registered Thoroughbred. She was probably a Waler.

Christey was also sought after as a show judge, usually for horses and hackneys. He was described as the best judge in Australia by the Wellington show committee. 

He bought and sold thoroughbreds within Australia too. Christey often went over to Singapore and Java with the horses.

Sir Rupert Havelock Clarke, Bart

Born into wealth which included several large properties as well as inheriting a baronetcy, Sir Rupert was as enterprising as his ancestors. He tried many ventures - among them the India trade.

Clarke in the uniform of his family's Rupertswood Battery of Horse Artillery.

The Leader, May 1897.

His grandfather was known as "Big Clarke" - Sir William was the biggest landowner in Australia at his death in 1897 - physically slim, the name purely referred to his land holdings. Born in Australia, Rupert was educated at Oxford, inheriting the title the year his father died.

In 1899, interviewed as a load of his horses was shipped for Colombo, Rupert said government army buyers in Madras got all their horses from three major Australian horse traders; hence his market was private sales to Indians, which exceeded army sales anyway. Initially annoyed at this form of monopoly to the army he worked his way around it with aplomb.

Rupert's horse trading to India got bigger in 1898 after the Victoria Racing Club rubbed him out as owner - through no fault of his own. They scratched all his horses in forthcoming races such as the Grand National. The VRC was ruthlessly making a monopoly, barring all who raced ponies and horses at unregistered meetings. This led to Thoroughbreds being the only horses allowed to race. Rupert bought two ponies, Metallica and Silver Bell. Unknown to him Metallica had formerly raced at unregistered meetings, and Silver Bell too, a day or two after he bought her. In fact - he didn't know he owned her - an agent of his, T. J. Burke, an honest man, bought her among others for India, a term being she was allowed to run a race she was already entered for.

The VRC re-instated Rupert after half an hour, but spitefully, his horses remained scratched. He was quietly disgusted, withdrew his committee nomination and vowed never to race a horse again in Victoria. He was a man of his word. As fate had it, his father Sir William, also a great horseman and horse breeder, had turned his back on racing after decades dedicated to it, and sold up his stud, after a similar experience (in his case, his horses being used without his knowledge for race fixing).

Rupert sold Metallica and Silver Bell to India. They did not travel alone. He sent shiploads over. The VRC caused the loss of top bloodlines, much lamented in Victoria. Burke who took Rupert's horses to India, bought two expensive Arab stallions there - Hussar, bought from Sir Mansfield Clarke, and White Czar, which had won many races.

Then Burke died unexpectedly in Madras, before the horses were sold and the Arabs sent to Australia. Much upset at the loss of this good man, who had also been fluent in Hindustani, Rupert went over immediately to support Burke's wife, and sell the horses, and arrange the homeward journey of his Arabs. His next load went with horseman Harry Looney, an employee on his estates who was the coachman, a hunting man and member of his Rupertswood Artillery. A team of six matched creams and another of six matched greys were in the first load of 220 horses sent in

July (he sent two loads that month). Another load went over in December. In time the two stallions Burke had bought proven successful, their progeny gaining top prices for Rupert, when shipped to India.

In late 1899 Glasscock acted as his agent and travelled to Madras with his horses to sell. At least half the horses Rupert sent away, he'd bred himself. He liked stylish horses. He sent two loads a year over for several years, all top class. The discerning and wealthy Nizam of Deccan was one of his customers.

Sir Rupert Clarke in later life.

Photo from Table Talk, May 1917
Clarke was invalided out of the army from active service in Greece, and sent home. He'd tried to join up here but was refused on medical grounds - malaria, congenital bad hip - so traveled to England to join up, determined to help in the war. He served until they decided he was too ill.

Rupert had a Yorkshire Coacher stallion on his Victorian property Rupertswood, for breeding India horses - he found matched carriage horses of about 16 hands fetched the very best prices, followed by hacks and smart cobs. He sent teams of six-in-hand horses away, many bred by himself. He was a keen hunting man. He showed a Roadster stallion named Bounding Willow in the 1898 Melbourne Royal, and got first prize. It had so much style crowds rushed to the rails when it was trotted around. In 1897 he showed a heavyweight hackney stallion named Courage, second to Charles Glasscock's The Squire; and showed a light hackney stallion named Trooper, second to Charlie Gidney's. Hence only just beaten by two of the best horsemen in Victoria - both India traders.

Rupert eventually moved to Sydney. He went on an exploration of New Guinea in 1914 where he contracted malaria, it affected him for the rest of his life. Sometime after WW1 he moved to England. While his home there was being built he went to his house on Monte Carlo, also for his health. He died there on Christmas Day, 1926, of a heart attack, aged only 61.

Rupert always gave generously to charity and personally helped many people when down on their luck; it was said his hand was always in his pocket. The Clarke family were always very generous both personally and to charities and good causes. Rupert had many interests, among them sailing and the theatre, and was a good business man. He lived life to its fullest.

A marvellous family. The horses Rupert shipped to Colombo and India were described as the best ever sent from Australia. High praise indeed!

Matthew Horace Combe

One of the most versatile sportsmen of his day. Educated at Geelong Grammar School. On coming to S. A. joined the firm of McCulloch, Green & Co., express carriers and customs agents. Later became proprietor of this firm.

Photo : M.H. Combe. Chronicle, Adelaide, 11th March 1954.

In 1908 he was elected to the Unley Council as a representative of the Fullarton ward. He relinquished his commercial interests to travel abroad; on his return he purchased Karaka Station near Morgan.

Later acquired Crofton Park, near Kanmantoo, and also property at Swanport near Murray Bridge. After many years on the land, Mr. Combe returned to commerce and founded the Mutual Hospital Association Ltd., which he subsequently managed for several years. 

A great horseman, he was a foundation member and oldest life member of both the Adelaide Polo Club and the SA Jockey Club, and at his death retained his membership of the main racing dubs. 

In his younger days Mr. Combe bred and raced thoroughbreds and won many prizes with his Suffolk Punch stock. He lived in Glenelg.

He also purchased and shipped hundreds of horses to India for the Army. Probably the best known horses raced by Mr. Combe were The Arab, Disowned, and Topaki, which won the Viceroy's Cup in India. Mr Combe was also a keen athlete and won many trophies for foot running. He also took an interest in coursing and was a judge for many years. Mr. Combe died in 1954, aged 93; survived by a widow and a daughter, Mrs. Gordon George, and a son, Mr Harvey Combe, a member of the panel of SAJC stipendiary stewards.

Alfred John Cotton

was an extraordinary character who became a horse trader. Born in the English Channel on Jersey Island, moving to Essex while he was a pup, his first memory was hugging a horse's leg.

Due to a sudden change in family circumstances he was sent to sea at age 14 and had 6 years working on the briny.

A.J. Cotton.
Queensland Country Life, October 1909.

At age 20 he arrived in Australia, penniless. He went jackarooing and book-keeping on Yalleroi Station in NSW and became a great bushman, soon he was droving cattle from northern Queensland down to NSW, and employing others - having several mobs on the move.

He'd learnt valuable horse skills and all his life held great affection for Yalleroi. A fearless rider.

He worked hard and prospered. He got into cattle mustering on contract. By 1886 he had a property lease. In 1890 he married Annie Bode. He eventually bought, leased and had shares in dozens of stations. 

When the Boer War broke out he mustered brumbies and sold them for remounts, making 8 pounds a head. Many he bought from breeders, taking saddle types, light artillery and heavy artillery types, he bought for John MacFarlane and Co. He also bought and exported them himself. He cleared out Cairns and other areas of suitable horses, he bought so many, usually paying 7 pounds a head. When the Boer War ended he went to South Africa and bought many horses back from the British army at 4 pounds a head, brought them to Australia, and sold them on to India at a profit. By the time of the Boer War he was on his own property and sending horses from there too. In 1902 one of his horsemen, Silas harding, went over on the Maori King with a load from Hidden Vale. Some were ponies 14.1 to 14.3 hh. One was Cotton's own prize polo pony, a creamy. Others were for Horse Artillery and remounts. By early 1900 he was so much into the swing of buying horses for South Africa, he had six buyers scouring Queensland for them, as well as himself. He sent many thousands over.

His property start was a partnership in Bromby Park near Bowen, Queensland - the property of his in-laws. Then he bought Goorganga station near Bowen. Next it was Jost Vale Station, re-naming it Hidden Vale and building a gracious two storey house with wide verandhas - the new family home. Based at Hidden Vale, he got stuck into dealing in stock and property. He went over to London in 1905 for several months to float a company to buy Gulf stations.

Other properties bought and sold were Inkerman Station, Goomally, Lorn Hills, Bauhinia Downs, Springfield Station, Redcliffe, Maryvale, Canobie Station, Canobie West, Mt Spencer, Woodstock, Punjaub, Fiery Downs, Lawn Hill, August Downs, Powlathanga, Coalbrook (Hughenden), Langi, Pinetree and finally a half share in Brunette Downs; but Hidden Vale was his home - it was near Grandchester in Hidden Valley, only 44 miles from Brisbane, and covered 10,000 acres. His other properties covered thousands of square miles.

At Hidden Vale he ran several stallions - many Suffolk Punches, several Thoroughbred stallions and big mobs of mares. He bred utility horses and top army horses. He did nothing in a small way, turning off scores of grand horses annually. The same with cattle - once he had 58,000 cattle on the road when he had 81,000 to move for a bank contract.

In the Boer War he lost 5,000 pounds on one load of horses but nothing daunted him. He did everything to his utmost. He kept going and made a good profit there - he supplied 1,000 horses at a good price to the Imperial Yeomanry, paid for by Lord Rothschild. They were closely inspected before leaving, went over on Dutch steamer the Folmina and were again inspected on arrival - all the horses met with great approval - resulting in him getting a contract for a further 10,000 horses for that war. 750 were saddle horses, 150 were heavy artillery horses. He sold a good lot of cattle there too.

He got another good contract at the same time for 2,000 horses for the Germans at the Boxer Rebellion - every one of these had to be ridden by the Germans who'd come to inspect them, hence had to be broken in. Mr Pillar from Dalgety's, Mr Kermode and J.B. McDougall helped source these horses.

He filled all orders. His horses were so good they were the only ones not to be left in China after the Boxer Rebellion - the Germans took them home. A.J. Cotton always paid his horsemen more than others did. He appreciated their efforts which created better profit.

He bought artillery and cavalry horses and refused to buy pure Thoroughbreds as army horses. If he or his agents saw extra good Waler types but were on a budget, they'd tell the owner not to sell to them but wait until someone who could offer a better price, its true worth, came long - A.J. Cotton never ripped anyone off. The bulk orders did not pay huge prices. J. O'Donahue and Elias Harding also sourced horses for him for this order. Some of the horses went over to the Germans on the steamer Duke of Argyll.

He improved horses on all his properties - to Alfred Cotton we owe the goodness that is quality Suffolk Punch influence in many Waler lines. He sold horses all over the place, and put good horses on his own places. As a bushman he knew the value of a good horse of stamina, sound conformation and brilliant cattle sense. He detested weeds and liked plenty of bone, saying so in several interviews.

Alfred Cotton showed horses with great success. He greatly admired the horsemanship skills of his good friends Elias and Silas Harding of Ipswich. He liked good company and enjoyed being a member of the Queensland Club.

In 1900 his imported Suffolk Punch stallion Pluto by Wedgewood was greatly admired at Brisbane Show - described as having the best movement there and being the best for getting farm horses.
In 1903 he showed one named Ben Lomond and another named Grandchester. He was in possession of Pluto's half brother that year, a Suffolk stallion named Saturn, the champion of England.

In 1904 his blood stallion Elected won champion at Sydney Royal. In 1905 his Suffolk stallion Mariner came second in Active Farm Horse at Brisbane Show and his mare Cora won the Active Farm Mare class. Mariner became famous. His stallion Windermere won the draught class at Brisbane in 1908. His show wins with horses are too numerous to list.

At times he bought for others - in January 1900 he was at Rockhampton buying for John McFarlane & Co. In turn as a trader he employed others to help him get horses, for example in April 1901 Elias Harding bought him 119, there was a heavy demand for horses and Cotton himself was sourcing horses elsewhere, he'd already sent a shipload off.

In February 1902 he sent 170 horses to South Africa on the Maori King, 80 were the "little big horses" - that were most wanted there - strong galloway size... "... bearing the well known FH7 brand. They are the best type of Walers, in splendid condition, well mannered... " Quote from the Brisbane Courier, 14th Feb 1902. The rest were horse artillery horses, but he had trouble finding any with the right touch of draught for field artillery.

On the same trip Silas Harding took expensive polo ponies to sell in South Africa, including one of his champion cream mares. Cotton sent Frank Nott, veterinary surgeon, with the horses and to see them right once there too. Cotton always followed up on his horses, getting reports on them. He was proud to send the best, have them valued, and doing their job well.
Like many migrants he felt drawn back to his origins - he'd kept up family contacts there through mutual business dealings - in 1908 he decided move back to England and sold his home, Hidden Vale, although kept various other propertes here.

The horse sale on Hidden Vale alone was amazing - 21 Suffolk Punch stallions, 11 blood stallions and 395 head of other horses. He sold all his Shorthorn cattle. Alfred thought it was best for his children to finish their education in England - as he'd become very wealthy cost was no barrier.

They had a house in Brisbane which was base until they set off for England. Rather than go to the UK by luxury cruiser, Cotton went over on a trade steamer with 1,000 cattle to sell! They went on a 6 month tour to Canada and North America where he studied horses and cattle raising, being very impressed by Canada. He went to the Dublin horse show and Olympia horse show in London and toured about the UK in a motorcar, saying when he got back to Australia, that horse cabs would soon be extinct - yes, he didn't stay there long! He headed back to Australia after less than two years in England.

His children attended school in England and Alfred returned to Australia - his grazing properties being managed he took up his love of sailing, moving to Tasmania in 1912. He had the beautiful yacht Canobie built in Hobart. He competed keenly in yacht races, winning many cups. The Cotton Cup was named for him. He was President of the Hobart Regatta Association for some time. In 1914 he visited Queensland again and re-purchased his old home of Hidden Vale. He returned to Hobart to sail for a while, and alternated between Tasmania and Queensland. Winter in Queensland was better. In 1919 Hidden Vale house burned down. It was insured but he lost more than the insurance worth. He moved into Brisbane for his Qld trips. A son managed Hidden Vale and re-built. By 1920 Alfred moved back to Queensland to live, but paid regular vists to Hobart and Kettering nearby to watch his old yacht race, having sold her on, being there for the sailing season (summer) of 1920 and 21. He was still President of the Regatta Assoc and helping officiate at races in 1921.

Horse trading was over for Cotton but he still needed horses for his properties. His breeding ideas and bloodlines had made a huge contribution to improving horses over a vast area. He got about the vast land of the north to manage his properties - in 1928 with one of his sons he drove in a motorcar from Darwin to Townsville in less than a week - a record for the time! Even into the late 1930's when he was old, he was travelling tremendous distances in by car to oversee his properties. He was a frequent visitor to Hidden Vale. In 1923 he took his daughter on a full year holiday to England, his son Sidney had moved there to live.

In 1937 he went to New York when Sid was there for a time.

Alfred John Cotton in later age, photo from Queensland Country Life, 1st May 1941, from
which a few details here are drawn.

Brunette Downs was to destroy him financially. He had a half share in the lease. Cattle prices slumped and he had to fight legal battles over improvements as part of the lease, and invest in sheep - an experiment for that country. He sold all his property to put into this project. Perhaps he was too stubborn and should have walked away but he wasn't the sort to give up. At the same time in 1929 the stock market crash took all his other investments - he went from being a multi-millionaire to pauper. His wife Annie also died that year - a terrible time. Fatefully, his father had gone from boom to bust (causing his death) and son Sidney was to suffer the same fate. Three generations of mega riches to nothing in old age.

A.J. wrote a great book, With The Big Herds In Australia, and rollicking articles about his experiences cattle mustering, for newspapers such as The Queenslander. When his fortune went others did not see this as failure - A.J. was a man with better values than money. His dauntless courage, great horsemanship, warm friendship and sense of humour got him through anything and made him loved by all who met him. He was universally respected, and Australia was still a country a person was respected for themselves, not their material worth. It must however, have been a tough time for all his family. Alfred moved from Southbank to South Brisbane.
In 1941 Alfred Cotton died in Brisbane aged 79 after an amazingly full life, survived by three sons and a daughter. Another little girl had died at only 7 months old. His son Sidney had become a famous spy and aviator - James Bond was modelled on Sid - author Ian Fleming being a friend, but it was Bond, tame Bond, compared to Sid Cotton!

One lovely obituary for A.J. by a friend told how Alfred valued courage, honesty and comradeship, which he called Australian bush values, over wealth and material success.

A great Australian who helped open up the north, put quality and bone into the genesis of our Walers, and helped forge their reputation by supplying, showing and breeding top quality horses. A story of material tragedy but personal triumph. A great man, brave enough to have a go, brave enough to fall - and having a jolly good time along the way! A great horse breeder, a great Australian.

Daniel Munro Crawford

Also known as Daniel Crawford. Traded to Java. Also to Malaya, principally racehorses. In 1907 was a court case brought by him against John Duval, to recover costs over some horses bought for Duval which were for Penang Race Club. 

His brother James Munro Crawford lived in Melbourne. Daniel died 3rd November 1934, in Liverpool Hospital.

Edward Crooke

Went from England to Canton to work in the family business, then emigrated to Australia in 1838. He went share farming with ups and downs then selected and leased land at Omeo, putting two thousand cattle there on his first trip; one of the first pioneers there. He had several runs in the area, at one time 100,000 acres. A self named squatter, although he had properly selected some, and took out pasturing licences on others, he made several indignant public outcries as the government sold off bits of what he regarded as his land, which saw him move to Lucknow station in Gippsland; dividing his time between there and Melbourne. Punch wrote an article sending up his surname, land dealings and presumption of ownership. He had lived for some time on Holey Plains, Gippsland, where his son Harry died aged 18 months. Edward's wife was Maria.

Edward raced horses and had some good sires. He raised cattle and horses, and by the mid 1850's sending good numbers of horses regularly to India - the family business was also in India and helped him with contacts - his father was Nicholas Crooke of Liverpool, England. Edward exported many good horses. He sent loads of horses to New Zealand regularly, as well as cattle. He often sailed with them, for example to Bluff Harbour NZ with a load in 1869. To help in this trade he bought the 300 ton barque Rebecca, in 1863, and put an experienced skipper, R. Adams in charge of her - Adams had an excellent reputation in the Port Albert trade, safely conveying cattle and horses for years. Few of Crooke's loads made the news, being shipped out of town mostly. In 1872 40 of his horses were bought by Mr. Rutherford for Cook and Co. Calcutta - the giant horse bazaar people - and shipped over.

In 1865 a load of his good horses to Calcutta redeemed the reputation of Australian horses after a couple of bad loads had arrived there. Crooke always bred good horses, took care shipping, and hired the right people. 

In 1867 a big load on the St Vincent had a tedious trip of 88 days but arrived in excellent condition - the Standing Remount Commission bought 36 straight off the boat. He got very good prices for the whole load. Crooke died at Rockley, Toorak, in 1876, his home.

C. Dallon

Dallon shipped horses from Queensland. In 1894 he formed a company with friends and they all shipped 10 horses each to Batavia on the Mombassa from Rockhampton. The others were Dunn, Kelly, A. Henderson and R. Duncan. Dallon went over to sell the horses and assess the market, and had arranged the grooms to take board.

Henry Dangar (senior), Henry Dangar (son), Richard H. Dangar and Albert Augustus Dangar

Famous for bringing so many Suffolk Punches to Australia, the Dangars also imported Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Norfolk cobs (roadsters) and more. As breeders they chiefly supplied the sales where India traders bought - and occasionly sent horses directly to India themselves. Their horses were always snapped up by other breeders too. A. A. is revered by Suffolk people.

They bred Walers, using the best of the best, as well as pure Suffolk Punches and Thoroughbreds. It was the Suffolk Punch and roadster in their horses that made them so valuable and popular.

Photo : A.A. Dangar, Farmer & Settler, July 1943.

As early as 1845 Henry Dangar exported two good horses to Calcutta on the William Metcalfe - Waverley and Young Muleyson - getting very high prices, being sent with a letter of recommendation from Joubert and Murphy - Joubert was incredible at promoting trade.

In 1899 it was reported R.H. had sent a Thoroughbred to a friend in India, and that his mares and geldings by the Norfolk cob Cherub and out of Arab and TB mares were fetching top prices there and demand exceeded supply. They sent many TB's there over the years.

The Dangar clan was a big one. Henry (senior) migrated from St Neot, Cornwall, with his 5 brothers William, Charles, John, Richard, Thomas and their sister Elizabeth (who married a Cook). Henry took up Neotsfield but as he was busy surveying uncharted country for the early years, including an arduous crossing and re-crossing of the great Dividing Range, the property was managed by William. 

In 1827-28 on a trip back home to Cornwall, Henry married Grace Sibley. Their surviving 7 children were William John, Henry Cary, Frederick Holkham, Albert Augustus, Francis Richard, Margaret and Florence. The family had extensive pastoral properties, and many other businesses, the in-laws being involved too and firms thus founded. Henry Cary became another big horse breeder. 

A.A. (Albert Augustus) was a tremendous proponent of the Suffolk Punch. He imported and bred many good examples of the breed, and used them to breed India horses.

In 1869 Henry imported two Thoroughbreds from England, a chestnut colt witha  white face and a chestnut filly, and an Arab which he'd bought from the King of Wurtemburg which was a 'beautiful bronze-brown with a white face but in head and colour not like an Arab.' 

In 1873 Henry bought the imported Arab (imported from India thence Araby sic, being one of the Anezeh breed) named Shanghai, a 'golden chestnut with a white face, winner of races.'

more to do on Dangar entry, updating. 

Frank J. Donovan

In September 1931 he took 780 horses to India. One, Ballon King, was a racehorse, 144 were polo ponies, the rest were remounts. It was his third trip to the east with horses. Previously he had been interested in music.

John 'Jack' A. Duval

Born in Nundle NSW, he became a champion jockey in NSW then began training and horse trading. He started as a jockey very young, and rode in countless races - there were pony races every day of the week in those days, and several tracks around Sydney, most unregistered (the horses did not have to be registered Thoroughbreds).

In 1895 he was riding at 8 stone 10 pounds (55.3 k's). In 1899 he was hospitalised after a bad fall from a horse. He rode in pony races as well as horse races. He started trading, probably while still a jockey, a wise transition, as was the move into training. He was an ace trainer.

1907 he sent 21 horses to Singapore. He supplied top quality horses and ponies to many places. He also kept up training racehorses. In 1910 he sent 8 horses over. In 1911 he came over from Singapore to buy horses. He'd been back and forth, based by then in Singapore.

In 1912 there was a divorce application. Divorce was granted, he got custody of the sole child. It was mentioned he'd spent some time in Singapore when married, went back there while separated; and liked to gamble.

A racehorse was named after him, and a race pony - both called Duval, and both good runners. In 1915 and 16 he was training racehorses in Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

He sent polo, race and cavalry ponies to the East, also racehorses and hacks and he travelled over with them usually.

1928 he took half a dozen racehorses, 5 top ponies including Dolly Kenilworth and carriage horses to Singapore. 1928 he also went to Siam and China with a load of 12 for Bangkok and 17 for Taiping. He was taking two special horses for the Sultan of Johore, Malaya, on that trip too. There were polo ponies on the same load going over for others. At times he sent horses to Madras, possibly other India ports.

He moved to Singapore but came back to Sydney at times buying horses, he bought 25 in 1933 on a trip back. In 1935 he was training a team of 40 horses at Kuala Lumpar for A. van Tooren, a multi-millionaire, and doing well in the Malay states, based at the Selangor Turf Club. They trained and raced griffins, ponies and horses, having great success.

Duval was winning more money for his owner in 1939 that any other - leading trainer. As trainer, Duval won the Singapore Cup 1930, '31 and '36. In 1934, 5 of the ponies and horses one at one meeting.

He was the brother of well known jockey Frank Duval, they had Aboriginal heritage. Frank too travelled overseas to work, to Africa 2 years and India 4 years, ending up in S.E. Asia for a time then returning to Australia. He'd met up with Jack in South Africa and rode for him. Jack also trained in India for a time with Frank riding. Frank also traded the occasional horse, in 1919 he sent two to Singapore on the Houtman.

Jack Duval is buried in Kuala Lumpar. Great Australians. Jack supplied top horses and had an excellent reputation, he supplied horses to the Sultan of Johore among others. There was an article on his brother Frank in 1951, Frank was 70 and still training a horse, his whole life had been spent with horses. In this interview, he said there were 11 children and their parents died when Frank was aged 3. Frank broke the high jump record on Landlock, jumping 7 feet 4 inches at Quirindi show; also an ace cross country rider. more info

Joseph, John & Charles Evans

Joseph of Redcamp near Moyhu, Victoria. Pioneers, properties such as Redcamp, Whitfield (after which Whitfield was named; often spelled Whitefield in old newspapers), Laceby, and some big land interests in the Riverina. For a time had shares with 2 others in a large property called Conoble, where they bred a lot of horses, as well as other stock. When they all gave the property up for being too dry, he overlanded a mob of about 40 of the horses back to Whitfield. Sold a lot of TB's. Won a lot of 1sts at shows with the stallions. Also had Hackneys. 

In 1884 Evan Evans droving 50 horses from Roto station to Whitfield. E & J Evans sold a lot of Tb's at the sales.

An auctioneering company called Evans & Langford of Wangaratta sold horses among other livestock, and horse only sales for WW1.

Joseph's son Charles became a stock and station agent, traveling on horseback and by buggy; by 1910 working f0r Dalgetys out of Albury, was commissioned to buy remounts for WW1 for which he travelled widely in Vic and NSW - based in Melbourne.

John Evans of Whitfield had horses bought in 1875  by William and John Learmonth, which went to Bombay on the Cardigan Castle, most being Thoroughbreds by Atheling. 

John Joseph (Jack) Fanning

Jack came to Australia from Ireland, as a child, with his family. They settled at Bowen where he was raised. In Bowen, he was known as Johnnie, from childhood, but elsewhere and for the rest of his life, he was known as Jack.

He began showing horses early, competing in the high jump - in those days massively high. He showed all his life. He also raced a few horses. One of his buggy ponies was a famous show champion. He showed many good pony mares too, some being champions. Several in the under 12 hh class.

Jack had a couple of jobs then started work for an insurance company which he did until he died. For many years he was based in Townsville. As a field agent he was hugely popular throughout the outback, an intrepid traveller and charming, fun companion with a lively wit.

He was transferred to Brisbane in 1929 and died there at his home at Auchenflower, in 1931, of diabetes. It was unexpected, he was to go judging at two Queensland shows. He was greatly missed in Townsville. He was on the show committee and in the turf club and part of the soul of that lively town in those times. He was a judge at many shows, said to be every show in Queensland! including at Warwick and Townsville; also Royal Sydney. He exhibited widely including at Brisbane.

All his life he was a keen horseman, horses were his passion. He often attended horse sales with Jim Love. For some years Jack sent horses away, often to Manila, Philippines. He often went over with them. In 1908 he was showed about by Major Brown, notorious here for his horse buying exploits and double talk. Jack was diplomatic but mentioned cholera, many Filipino prisoners and the various sights as well as his 'amusing' time being 'examined' by customs officials. It put him off going back. Jack married and had five daughters and four sons.

Arnold and Seth Ferry

Born in 1868, Arnold lived near Adelaide. He was a keen rider over jumps including cross country, eventually  becoming a professional jockey, horse trader and vet. He bred jumpers too. A steeplechase was named after him. A tremendously horsey family.

Arnold rode winners in tough cross country events in India. He won the Indian Grand National on Irish horse Wanderer, for the Maharajah of Patiala.

Arnold, Seth and Sid Ferry. Seth was the father of Arnold and Sid, all were noted horsemen, Arnold also took many horses to India.

The Observer, August, 1919.

His father Seth Ferry was a raconteur, grand horseman and great South Australian character. He also sent horses away ocassionally - in 1870 for example he sent 6 horses on the Sea Gull to Calcutta.

Seth was a horse dealer for some years, also sending horses overseas, then went into auctioneering, forming a firm. He was Master of the Adelaide Hunt Club, keeping their hounds at his own expense; and rode winners at their race meeting.

Seth, son of a schoolmaster and well educated, was born in London in sound of Bow Bells, migrating aged 11 with his family. He was one of the founders of racing in S.A., he trained racehorses - it was said he could train carthorses to win steeplechases - perhaps as he always drove himself to the races in a carriage with four in hand - then to the consternation of many there, would unharness the horses and lead them to the stables to be saddled - at least two being his runners!

He rode in the first Hunt Club Gold Cup, winning it. In the same race was poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon. He judged horse classes at the Royal and other shows.

To one and all, Seth was known as "The Master." A horsey family. Arnold was brought up on a horse, firstly on the family pony Ripple - on which he won his first race, then weighing 5 stone - and rode work on several horses in the early mornings before going to school. He once rode four winners in five races he rode in (riding over 11 miles!), in an Adelaide Hunt Club Meeting - so they made a new rule saying this was professional status and he was no longer considered an amateur, hence could no longer ride in their races. Arnold got his jockey's license.

For a time he went up country, as a stockman on Stuart's Creek. He played the piano well and had a fine baritone voice. He loved telling stories and was known for his wit and dry humour, entertaining those on ship and in port when he went away with horses - racehorses, carriage horses, artillery horses, polo ponies, pig-stickers and remounts. He too became a judge at horse shows.

Arnold made many trips to India with horses, and was a good friend of Stephen Ralli, who he hunted with and invariably beat at the end of season races. Much respected, he was asked by a young man at the races once where to put his money - Arnold replied 'in your pocket, if we can't make money who own them, you can't make money backing them.' The young man became a racing journalist and said he never forgot that advice and never gambled.
In 1897 Arnold took a select load of 460 horses to India with business partner on that trip Mr. Frank Savage. Arnold rode some there in races. He won some top races including the Indian Grand National, on an English horse, and a maiden steeplchase chase on one of his. He also took a starting machine, invented in Broken Hill, which was superior to the one used at Calcutta but that one was installed so ours didn't get a look in, although Arnold used it at some races while over there. They sold horses to Ceylon and Madras en route to sell the rest at Calcutta. Arnold always brought back a few quality horses bought while in India, on that trip they included a grey Arab stallion, 13.3hh named Gundageen aged 7, from a stud which bred champion racing Arab pony, Blitz.

Arnold stayed with the Maharajah of Patialia and the Sultan of Johore among others, whose hospitality and patronage he greatly appreciated.

After a bad smash in India where he broke a leg badly (thigh) that didn't mend properly, he studied veterinary surgery and became a vet - going to India with horses in this capacity, and being a much loved vet at Adelaide racecourse. Arnold often sent reports back to the newspapers about the horses he cared for on board ship to India, with honest accounts of their health, and entertaining accounts of people and places.

A grand horseman, Arnold passed away in 1926, aged 58 - he'd been ill for some time. The Master outlived him, passing away in 1932 in his 93rd year.

Jules Gascard

Jules Samuel Gascard was born in Switzerland about 1836. He migrated to Australia and lived in Victoria where he married Jeanette (known as Janet) Barr, born in Scotland 1837. They had four children, Hannah, Augustine, Samuel and Jules. They lived in Gordon (there's a Gascard Lane there) where in 1866 Jules leased out a hotel he owned, then moved to Flemington Road, North Melbourne. Jules senior as well as being in the horse trade, was also a wine merchant.

Jules Gascard's son, also an India buyer - from left, front row on chairs - E. Krerouse, F. Howell, R. Glasscock, H.J. Gidney, Sid Kidman, R. McKenna, J. Gascard, C. G. McMahon.
Photo was taken at the 1903 Kapunda sales, where 2,300 horses were sold. It was reprinted in the Advertiser in August 1932.

Jules bought widely in several states. A few examples: in 1875 he sold draughts, medium draughts and light harness sorts, a total of 62 head, at the Royal Horse Bazaar (Melbourne), they'd been overlanded from S.A. In 1876 he was buying the same types over at Kapunda sales, 50 head, plus another 74 at a country sale, etc. In 1885 at Herggot (S.A.) he bought 138 horses from the Beltana Pastoral Company and sent them to Port Augusta to be shipped on the Bucephalus to India - thought to be the first shipment of horses from that port. 

In 1886 J. Gascard and Son bought in Qld, at Dalton Station, 150 head. In 1887 he shipped 178 horses from Blanchewater and Myrtle Springs, from Port Augusta, on the steamer Port Jackson. Various other loads to India. In 1886 he was out at Hutchinson's station bidding. 1886 at Adelaide horse sales, draughts, mediums and stock horses, all to be overlanded to Victoria. He also bought at Bourke, etc etc. Every year the Gascards traded horses - it was their livlihood. The boys also showed horses, winning with hackneys, buggy and carriage horses and hunters. Son Jules became a judge at horse shows too.

Jules the father was of 'Herculean' build. He'd sent horses to India, then identified a new market over west - he went over to W.A. in the early 1890's, making a move there for work in 1892 (one might call it 'sail-in, sail-out'). In his travels buying and selling horses, a few stories came to light about women he knew - obviously a bit of a lad.

In 1892 he held a big horse sale at Geraldton, it ran over two days and all horses were sold at good prices, some had arrived on the S.S. Flinders from Melbourne while another 142 head arrived on that great horse ship the Clitus, which had as many horses again to carry to Mauritius. The trip from Melbourne to Geraldton had only taken 10 days, and the Clitus at that stage, drawing 21 feet, was one of the biggest ships to trade to Geraldton. Captain Frith spoke highly of the harbour. They were draught types but not pure draughts - good artillery types. Another load arrived on the horse ship Bucephalus, described by the West Australian's Geraldton correspondent as 'small and nuggety, well suited to the work of the district', and better than another load for someone else which arrived on another ship at the same time, which were 'too heavy for the work'. Gascard knew his market, in the same year, 1892, he'd sold fifty draughts in Perth for top prices.

He brought several shiploads of good work horses, mostly draughts and coachers, to W.A. In 1893 he held another successful sale in Geraldton, 40 of these horses had arrived on the s.s. Eddystone, others on the Nemesis. Jules himself went over to Victoria to select the horses, and papers were full of praise, calling them the best W.A. had ever seen, on arrival there. Many others brought horses in to Geraldton but Gascards were regarded as the best.

There was a massive demand for horses as iron ore was carted from the Weld Range to port- over 400 horse teams were used. They needed to be powerful. There were big gold rushes on and mills needed to be carted too, all sorts of machinery and goods.

Jules set up business in the small town of Cue, 45 miles from Mt Weld, where he had livery stables and a horse bazaar (included stables, fodder, saddlery, wheelwright, blacksmith's shop). His massive coaching stables were in Robinson Street. Gascard set up a famous coaching business which in 1895 also took the mail when he got the contract for 10,000 pounds, the run between Mullewa and Cue. He became known as 'The King of the Road' along the Murchison.

His coaches were soon breaking records for time on runs (Geraldton to Cue 3 days laden, return 41 hours, coachman Richard Webb), and being praised for their splendid teams of horses, and good coaches of Cobb and Co. build. He staged well - changed horses every 15 miles so he could get along at a smart rate - and his feeding methods were also praised because his horses were always in prime condition. W. Grey managed the coach and camel line for some time and was highly regarded.

Gascards coaches carried a ton of mail, literally, each trip, then there were passengers and baggage. A lot of the mail was machinery, gold, ore. To do this at a gallop over dusty roads requires powerful horses.

Many hopeful prospectors got to the Murchison Gold Fields diggings on his coaches, some returned with pockets literally full of gold, including one of my great great uncles! His big run was to Peak Hill, 180 miles away. through Jack's Well, Tuckanarra, Stake Well, Nannine (no Meekatharra then) and Abbott's to Peak Hill; they also did the run to Lawlers, Lake Way (Lake Austin), Yalgee and Day Dawn. He had several mail/coaching runs. His carrying business and livery hired horses and camel teams out.

In 1895 his run from Cue to Mullewa employed 30 people and 100 horses, no grass en route meant he bought fodder. Other runs used more horses - in 1896 he had 400 horses in use. The mails Gascards line carried were then the heaviest in eastern W.A. - usually about a ton per coach - on top of that were passengers, baggage and other goods. Horses had to be strong. When rains meant no coaches could run from Geraldton to Cue, Gascard's camels took people and goods through.

He also bought Annear Station on the North Murchison for horse breeding and a horse depot. In 1898 newspapers reported bodies of two of his drovers were found, perished (died of thirst) and a third one found barely alive. Jules himself hurried to see what had happened, found his three drovers perfectly safe, and that bodies and rescued person were unemployed men looking for work, who'd sadly died trying to get to Peak Hill.

In 1897 Arnold Ferry bought 70 horses in India for Jules Gascard, to be delivered to Fremantle, buit the ship was forced to take the horses to Melbourned instead, as India had bubonic plague at the time quarantine stopped them landing in Fremantle. They probably went to the Gascard family in Victoria and were re-shipped. Ferry took a lot of horses to India and often bought a few quality horses to bring back too.

He died in Geraldton in 1899 of heart problems, aged 66 (although one death notice says 62, so birth dates etc would need verifying); and was taken back to Victoria by his family for burial. A great character, Jules Gascard did much to improve the horses of the area and was very popular, 'a good boss' and much missed.

Lawler coach arrives at Cue. 
source: the Leader, 1898. 

Jules the son was also a horseman, buying for India and local markets and breaking horses to add value. He was also a Councillor for Ballanshire. In 1901 he bought several lots in S.A. and railed them to Victoria for shipping. A regular at the Kapunda sales. Also, judging carriage and buggy horses at Melbourne Show 1909, horses and ponies in 1917. He lived at Ballan. Sadly his brother Samuel died unexpectedly in 1898, although he'd been ill, at Bourke, while there with Jules for horse sales. Samuel and Jules had become 'Gascard Brothers', trading to India; Jules setting up one of the neatest horse training establishments in Australia at Ballan. The family were known for giving generously to charity. Jules' house and gardens were also landmarks of Ballan; he also enlisted and went to WW1 on the ship Shropshire. From 1905 young Jules had held monthly horse sales at his Ballan property. In 1891 he showed a light chestnut roadster stallion that was praised in the papers. In 1903 he paid 100 guineas, a huge price, for a pony stallion named Kentucky. A great Waler family.

Henry (Harry) J. Gidney 

was from Benalla, Victoria. He was in partnership with Tom Derham. They were two of the greats of the trade. Harry was the son of famous horse breeder and trader to India, Isaac Gidney.

When judging on the behest of the Defense Dept at the 1924 Sydney show, Harry refused to hand a ribbon in the remount class as none exhibited were up to remount quality, being fine Thoroughbreds. He also liked good Shires, being proper four square harness horses, not bred for ploughing like Clydes which went narrow behind, hence being cow-hocked, nor having the 'bottom' - endurance - of a harness horse. He recognised the Shires that were dual registered as Clydesdales to improve that breed. He knew Clydes as his father Isaac had imported Clydes into Australia, and other draughts

photo: the Age, Melbourne, September 1938.

Harry first showed ponies at Melbourne Royal when he was 12 years old, and gained first prizes including jumping, the start of a long show career. He became a judge in 1886 at Corowa Show NSW and was soon judging at the Royals, being the only person then to judge at them all - Perth, Adelaide, Sydney (5 years straight), Brisbane and Melbourne (many years) and this judging career went on for the rest of his life - as well as his busy horse trading to India. He refused to take fees for judging and was proud there had never been a single protest against his decisions. He judged at the Benalla show for 40 years straight.

He took his first load of 400 horses to India when he was aged 19, on a sailing ship. He was said to have bought more horses at Kirk's Bazaar - a famous horse sale in Melbourne - than any other person. He had such a good eye for a horse he was made a government buyer for our own army for WW1. He leased Lima Station near Benalla in 1880, in 1900 he bought a half share in it. He built a beautiful home and the whole property became a showpiece, a big horse breeding property, also Herefords and sheep. He bought more properties as he prospered.

Gidney with his partner Tom Derham were big traders. They set Jim Robb up in the business, and opened up South Australia for horse trading by buying there and trucking (rail) horses to Melbourne to be shipped to India. Eventually Port Adelaide woke up and started shipping horses direct to India which made life a lot easier for Robb who bought on behalf of Gidney and Derham until he struck out on his own. Harry's sister Ada married his partner in business Tom Derham. Harry Gidney died in 1947, aged 83, leaving a son and grand-daughter. At his death he was living at 'Bangalore', Bay Street, Brighton, Melbourne. A grand horseman.
Note: There was a Sir Henry Gidney of Bangalore in India, an outstanding soldier, horseman, politician and eye surgeon, who left a legacy in the form of an award. His father was John Gidney and his mother Margaret David, a brilliant Anglo-Indian scholar (they married). Any relationship would be distant but it's probable they met, having the same name, and as the Australian Gidneys traded to Bangalore a lot.

Isaac and Charlie Gidney

Famous India trading and horse breeding family. Harry (Henry) Gidney, above, is the same family - son of Isaac and brother to Charlie. Although he worked independently the family kept close ties; in 1893 for example Harry sent 253 horses to Madras and Isaac 53 horses to Colombo, both on the Booldana. 

As well as the two sons, Isaac had three daughters, two remained in the trade so to speak - one married Tom Derham the famous horse trader, and another married Krcrouse, another trader the other daughter married a Blackburn.

The father, Isaac Charles, was known as Isaac and his son by the same name known as Charlie. 

Charlie Gidney at the Wodonga sales.
photo: the Australasian, March 1900.

Isaac Charles senior died in January 1894 after a brief illness, he was aged 66. At the time his two sons were in England on horse trading business. All were India traders; horse buyers and horse breeders of note. Isaac took the boys from early childhood to Adelaide and all over the place buying horses for India, and good breeding horses for their own place. 

Young Charlie was a big buyer for the Boer war as well as India. Isaac senior left property including the house 'Stratford Villa' in Dry-burgh Street, North Melbourne to his wife Mary Ann, and two large farms to his two sons - Rockbank also known as Spring Farm to Charlie, and Woodlands in Gippsland to Harry.

The Gidneys all bred horses and often did their own overlanding of horses to sales. They also bought to sell to India. In 1900 at a large horse sale at Wodonga, Charlie paid a record 100 pounds for an outstanding pair of carriage horses, unbroken, for the India market. These two were part of a draught of good horses bred by P. and W. Mitchell of Brigenbong Station. J. Mitchell of Khancoban also had a fine draught of horses suited as remounts at the sale. Charlie was there spending up getting remounts for Africa.

The Gidneys bred top carriage horses, coachers, hunt horses, remounts and gunners, using trotter (Norfolk roadsters) and draught blood mostly. In 1884 Isaac sold his imported draught stallion Young Paragon for 460 guineas, having bred well fom him, and bought a replacement - an imported stallion called Cromwell, paying 600 pounds for him. Cromwell, bred in Lincolnshire, no doubt having some old Lincolnshire Black in his blood, was by Thumper out of Diamond and got into the Australian Draught Horse Stud Book posthumorously - Volume 1 being released in 1910 by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. At least three other stallions Isaac had owned got into this studbook posthumorously (47 horses thus included), being Young Conqueror, Young Topsman and Ben Lomond.

Isaac senior topped the sale price in Adelaide in 1873 for a horse that went for 82 pounds. His draught of 27 were said to be superior to any other horses sold there, and were described as Tasmanian cart horses. All were named (such as Kate, Jessy, Blossom, Duke of Edinburgh etc), some being Clydesdale crosses, a couple pure Clyde (or cart horses indeed, the old name for Shire). In 1885 he showed a stallion, newly imported, named Handsome John at Melton - it already had a full book for the season.

At the National Agricultural Society of Victoria's annual Stallion parade in Melbourne, the Gidneys took stallions. In 1876 for example Isaac took a stallion named Young Conqueror. In 1885 he had an imported draught named Handsome John he took to a stallion parade at Melton. 

In 1889 Isaac showed two hunter stallions, Merrythought - this horse was said to be one of the best sires for remounts for the India trade; and Merryspeed, at Bacchus March - both by his imported Norfolk roadster stallion Merrylegs, which was showed at Melton in 1882 among other outings. In 1881 Merrylegs came in for great praise at the 9th annual stallion parade in Melbourne run by the Ag. Soc. in St KildaMerrylegs, was said to be the one of the best coaching stallion in Australia and was sold to Western Australia in 1884. In 1890 at the Melbourne Show, Merryspeed was said to be the best stallion there was for getting cavalry horses for India. In 1895 Isaac sent 210 remounts to Calcutta on an order from the Indian government.

In 1882 Isaac took a draught Young Topsman to the parade.  In 1879 Merrylegs won the coverted J. Wagner Cup at the Melbourne Show for hackneys, trotters and carriage horses. He threw excellent carriage horses. The Gidneys took their horses to many shows. Isaac was also a judge at shows in Gippsland and Melbourne, referred to as 'Isaac Gidney of Kirk's Bazaar'. He bought leased and bought land in Melbourne to stage his horses to sales such as Kirk's Bazaar, or to docks, and for going to and from parades and shows. 

In 1877 (he was living on his farm in the Melton district then) he showed a draught, Ben Lomond, at the stallion parade, and a Norfolk roadster called Flying Perfection. At the Melbourne Show is 1876, it was reported there was a rush to the rails of the ground every time Flying Perfection was trotted around. He came equal first with another Norfolk trotter/roadster.

At Traralgon Show in 1890 Isaac got a cup for his horses along with two other Roadster entires (Cannoneer, Royal Stranger and Merryspeed) for horses most likely to get good cavalry horses for India.

Isaac eventually moved from Hotham to North Melbourne. In 1892 he built Bangalore (another name from India), an opulent house in Canning Street, which also housed his business office. 

The Gidneys are great examples of breeders and traders striving for the best, by using the best in breeding, and getting their horses out and about. Top traders, with the respect of all.

Richard (Dick) Gilder

 Gilder lived in Muswellbrook, NSW where he was a Member of the Upper Hunter Amateur Race Club. He loved racing and good horses. He traded to India and the East and his opinion was sought often, and he judged at many shows including in India. He was great friends with other horse buyers with whom he often travelled to India. He died in 1936 aged 65. He was born in Sale, Victoria. His horse business was conducted with his brother Alfred, who moved to Muswellbrook with him. He began exporting to India in 1891, his last trip ws 1931, and known as a practical jester and always ready to do anyone a good turn. In the last few years of his trade he partnered with McPherson for horse exporting. A horseman himself, he also trained many race winners. Both brothers also liked coursing (dog racing).

Alfred (Alf) Gilder

Above, business with brother Richard (Dick). Alf started the business some years before Richard got involved, he began exporting horses to India and the east in 1880. Alf bred and successfully showed hackneys in harness at Sale and thereabouts, it was said the leg action of his horses couldn't be bettered. He began judging on request from show committees in 1895. He had property at Sale and bought young horses all over the country. On his property he let them mature and fill out, and have some basic handling. In 1898 a wild young horse in a crush injured him badly injured. He lost partial use of his right hand and arm and his face was disfigured. He specialised in good gun horses. In 1907 he bought up 140 horses in the Stratford area. He employed the same three grooms to care for the horses en route to India, for many years. He was an accredited buyer for the Indian government. In later life lived he on the same property as Dick and his family.

Alfred E. (Alf) Glasscock (pronounced Glaz-co)

was a good horseman with a great eye. He judged at horse shows - for example in 1920 and 1922 he judged the Draught and Roadster classes at Adelaide show. He always travelled to India with his horses, and lived in Melbourne. He attended the Kapunda sales and sales in Qld, NSW and Vic and was good friends with other buyers, e.g. travelling with Jim Robb in 1933 to India with horses on the Nirvana; travelling back in company of Steve Margrett's son-in-law W. Murray-Smith on another trip, 1938. Harry Gibney praised his eye for a good remount. 

Glasscock had many years exporting horses, in 1937 he took 50 polo ponies and some racehorses to Calcutta, described as the oldest Commonwealth horse trader of them all. He travelled over with Jim Robb, no spring chicken himself, on his last trip there.

The Glasscocks were a very horsey family. Alf's father Arthur and uncle Charles Glasscock had traded horses to India in the days of sail, pioneers of the trade, continuing into steam days; and had famous livery stables in the Royal Horse Bazaar complex - better known as Kirk's Horse Bazaar - taking the place over in 1870, and holding horse sales too. It was a Mecca for horsemen and sportsmen, the place to be seen. All great characters of the horse world were seen there at one time or another. Arthur had migrated from England in 1853 with his brothers. Another brother Robert (Bob) was a renown coachman. Alfred E. Glasscock of Glasscock Bros. Kirk's Bazaar is reported as dying from a kick from a horse at the Bazaar, in 1895. The names Arthur and Alfred are interchanged in the press, so one presumes this was Arthur, and Alfred was his son and lived decades after this date. It is possible the names are mixed by myself, father Alfred and son Arthur.

Hence, Arthur's son young Alf grew up with horses - becoming a major trader to India and elsewhere.

Glasscock senior's livery stables in Melbourne

Alf Glasscock also showed his horses. At the 1933 Melbourne Show for example he got 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the class for wheeler Artillery horses, and also gained the first three places in the Remount class.  A man who knew his horses, had been at the trade all his life. In 1919 he was living at "Poona", Gurner St., St. Kilda, Melbourne. He was married and a baby boy was born that year. Another of the horse trading greats. 

In 1876 his uncle George Glasscock was showing horses (won hunter stallion class with Compton) at Melbourne Show. George also worked at Kirk's Bazaar in the family horse business, sadly he was gored to death by a cow there in 1891, aged 59 years. George was immensely popular, he bred and raced steeplechasers and gallopers, had been an amateur jumps jockey and hunted - one of his hunters, The Squire, was known to all. He'd worked running horse teams to the goldfields when he first arrived, and for Cobb and Co., also spending some years with the firm in NZ; then working at Kirk's Bazaar in the family horse business.

Above. A. E. Glassock, insert, about to make his 49th trip to India with remounts, polo ponies and racehorses on the Nirvana. Photo: the Argus, 14th November 1933.

James Gosper

of Windsor Farm, Windsor, NSW. Racing & generally horsey family. Bred TB's & trotters; spelling farm for TB's. Excellent stallions. A very good horseman. Rode in races, showed at the Royal with great success. Had pony stallion Cambria. 

Sent at least one to India however doubtless more went with traders; adding as at least he bred the right sorts and sent one away so had an eye to that market too. James died in 1932 in his 79th year. Survived by a married sister and three brothers. He had never married. Philanthropic - very generous.

Julius Gove

1854-1922. Gove had his own company, Julius Gove and Co., and specialised in shipping to Bombay. He created such a sound company, it traded on long after his death -  with A.E. Young doing a lot of the work including training the polo ponies in India reported going there in 1929 and 1931 with horses, and as late as 1947 Mr. E. Whitlock Jones sent a consignment from Adelaide to Bombay on the Umaria, among them 15 grey officers chargers, the horses bought from Paratoo Station for the company. Another shipment had just left for the company on the horse ship Querida. Julius' son Robert Gove was working for the company too - about 1933, in the depression, the Maharaja of Bharatpur swapped him a luxury automobile for a good horse; the car, a Horsch, caused a sensation in Melbourne. In 1935 Robert Gove said the company was sending between 800 and 1,500 horses annually to Bombay. 

Julius Gove would go to sales and select about 1,500 horses at the start of the season, and travel over with a load. From the port of Bombay, his horses were sent by train to his own lands and stables a few miles from the city. In 1929, A. E. Young, one of his company, said they sent 1,500 horses that year to India - one third as polo mounts and hacks, one third for the native regiments in the Indian states and one third for the British army.

Gove drove a hard bargain and wouldn't budge on price whether selling or buying. His motive was always profit and he worked hard for it. He and Jim Love were the two hard men of the game. However Gove had immense respect and also made sure his family shared his wealth. They moved in the highest circles in India and Australia. Originally from Gippsland, Gove travelled within Australia, buying India horses in South Australia and racing some there too. 

Two of his sons were in the Bombay Light Horse - the youngest son Captain Robert Vivian Gove married Alf Glasscock's youngest daughter, Hope June; they lived at Malabar Hill, Bombay: another unification of horse trading empires through marriage. 

All Julius Gove's children grew up playing polo with their father and training ponies to sell - another son became Prince Charles' polo coach. Tragically, there was also family grief.  One son, Charles Clitus Gove, was kicked in the head by a horse in Queensland, a bad injury. When he recovered he sailed to India but died there not long after arriving, of infection after an appendicitis operation, in 1922, he was aged only 33; he left a widow Daisie and child Charles. Charlie had been a pilot in WW1. 

Julius himself didn't live to see this tragedy, he'd died unexpectedly himself in April - he'd been to the races to see one of his horses run on Saturday, and died the following Sunday morning at home, Canterbury Road, St Kilda.

He'd raced horses and had some handy jumpers and runners. He had an excellent reputation for supplying top racehorses to his Indian customers too.

Julius Gove bought a house in Canterbury Street, Flemington and built these stables in 1903 (house now gone). photo source
Like most traders he made sure his horses got used being confined, and to the feed they'd have on ship, as well as eating from troughs and haynets, and drinking from buckets, before they were shipped.

In India he owned a commercial set up for selling and training - Gove's stables were said to be the most palatial and most modern in all western India.

Here the horses were given time to recover and stretch their legs from the long voyage, then a team of syces set to work sprucing them up for sale - they were described as "equine Beau Brummels." Once ready, they were presented to visitors. Polo ponies, pig-stickers, remounts, carriage horses - he had a reputation for the best. Buyers came from all over India for his horses and he got tremendous prices, army buyers and private.

Gove shipped regularly to keep a good supply in his stables over the season. If he sold out, or was about to, he'd send to other buyers in Australia for more, trusting implicitly in their judgment.

Gove himself trained polo ponies while in India, to achieve better prices with game ready mounts. A.E. Young was part of the company and went to India with the horses too. He also trained polo horses. They stayed in India several months over the season. Gove bought horses off the track in India if they could turn a profit - either re-trained for polo or selling to studs. He had a good eye for a horse.

His wife Catherine died soon after Julius did, and a month after their son Charlie; in January 1923, at the marital home, Claremont, Canterbury Road, St Kilda. It must have been a tough time for the family left. Five children of the marriage were Theo, Daisie, Charlie, Cyril and Bob. When Julius died in April 1922, he was 67 years old. A grand horse trader.

Henry, Jim and William Hegarty

Hegarty Brothers exported a lot of horses, mostly from Queensland. They started in Dunedin shipping horses to Calcutta, then moved to Queensland and flourished. They shipped entire loads from Gladstone at times; they sent several loads away every year. In November 1914 Thomas was filling a contract for 2,000 horses for India. At times he chartered horse ships with Jim Love. Many fine horsemen worked for them sourcing horses, at times going to India with 
them, such as Tom Harte, Mickey Barton and Charlie Pascoe.

R.J. Hunter

Woodstock, Victoria. A good sound horse trader, Hunter was much loved in Queensland, being one of the first southern traders to go up there for big orders, and when India slapped a ban on Queensland horses when news of tick broke out, Hunter was one of those who worked hard to bring about a solution.

He was another busy in 1904 and 1905 buying horses, when both Japan and India wanted a lot. He was a professional and sought good horses. Hunter also bred horses himself for India.

Hunter almost always went to India with the horses, and usually bought something to bring home - usually quality Arab stallions. He used some on his own property Woodstock Farm, and sold others at the bazaars, always getting huge prices.

Robert Jenkinson

Born in Geelong in 1854, Bob started in the India trade young, going away with horses as early as 1877.
He first worked for Mr. Baldock of Melbourne, then Mr. Wilson of Wilson's Circus, then with the irrepressible Teddy (Edward) Weekes.

Tragically, Bob died young, aged only 34, leaving a widow and three children; poignant death notices show he was deeply loved. His brother W. Jenkinson was also devastated. Bob died of 'inflamation of the lungs', and had not long returned from a successful trip to India with horses for Teddy, and had just purchased a good steeplechaser with other horses, for his next trip.

James A. Johnson

of Woodend supplied horses to India, in particular to the Maharajah of Patiala, from 1910 to 1914 supplying all his polo ponies. In October 1914 the Maharajah's ADC, Captain Jaswant Singh, came to Australia and stayed with Johnson while osternsibly buying horses for the Maharajah. Johnson also supplied horses to the Australian Expeditionary Forces, for example 200 in one order. Johnson had stayed 8 months with the Maharajah in 1914 and had made such glowing accounts of our country the Captain had chiefly been sent to see if it was suitable for the Maharajah and his retinue to visit, this was much hoped for as it would be a lucrative visit in luxury accommodation, and trade may ensue. Sadly the war stopped it going ahead. In October 1914 Johson sent 400 polo ponies over to India However Singh also brought a lot of valuable military information for our military intelligence. In 1908 Johnson sent a load to India, some were government remounts but most were for Indian princes. Theere were matched teams of piebalds, skewbalds, greys, blacks, browns, roans and bays 'of every shade'. Four perfectly matched dark brown pony mares and a pony stallion were sent to the order of the Ameer of Afghanistan, a few trotters and 3 gallopers. They were said to be the best load seen in years. Johnson showed buggy horses with great success and was also a judge for horse classes.

William A. Jones

A veterinary surgeon of Melbourne, he shipped race and polo ponies away, to India  Siam, Java, Singapore, Hong Kong, the South Sea Islands including New Caledonia etc. He travelled over with them at times. Still actively shipping in the 1930's. 

He bought in Vic, S.A., NSW and Queensland. In a 1922 interview when he shipped 400 horses to Madras, he explained the Indian market and how polo ponies were sold by being ascribed a number, and members of the regimental teams pulling numbers from a hat to determine which pony they got - there was a flat club price; a subscription ballot. Polo clubs also held gymkhanas at which the ponies were raced, among other activities.

Charles Joseph "Hellbent" Kenyon

Charles Kenyon, 1883-1944, had three and half acres at Whinstanes, Eagle Farm, Brisbane; his place on Eagle Farm Road named Fawley. He and his wife showed horses and ponies and he trained racehorses and race ponies. Obviously Charles had land elsewhere or agisted as he had about 80 horses and ponies usually.

He also bought horses from the Darling Downs to ship overseas, shipping them from a private wharf on the Brisbane River.

During WW2 he patrolled on horseback - his main mount was a skewbald - between the American camp at Whinstanes and Doomben, keeping the peace. This was a dangerous job as the Americans here were violent (our law didn't apply to them and as they were all press-ganged soldiers - conscripts - a serious crime here was often a one way ticket out of the army and sent back home). Charles however was a fearless sort of man, nothing scared him - hence his nickname. In 1939 Charles' son A.F. (Tony) Kenyon, an experienced horseman and bushman, joined the mounted police in the N.T. Then joined a mounted unit of the army in the NT. After the war he managed big pastoral stations in the Gulf such as Van Rook for the Kidmans.

Charles was a very experienced horseman and bushman, he contracted to bring cattle from the NT to Brisbane, one mob was 1,000 head and 40 horses in the plant, other times even bigger numbers and a plant of 50 horses. He took his own wagons and plant horses from his place at Eagle Farm to go on these big droving trips. Charles Kenyon also started a horse and cattle auction business, Kenyon & Co., in Gayndah in 1910. It was very successful.

Charles, born in Liverpool NSW,  died in 1944 in Brisbane. He was 61 or 62. Wife was Amy Elizabeth Jesse Kenyon (nee Missing), they married in 1914. A son born 1916. Possibly two sons. A wonderfully horsey family and it continues to this day. Thanks to Greg Geeves for some details.

Sid Kidman

Sir Sidney Kidman, born in 1857, is the subject of books, as he should be, having worked his way up from nothing to being the biggest land owner in the world. He started a coaching line in partnership with Jimmy Nicholas which broke the monopoly of Cobb and Co - he knew his horses. Soon he got into property.

Sir Sidney Kidman

While running coaches in NSW, SA and the NT he bred and bought many coach horses, having up to 1,000 on his runs at any one time. His brother Sackville was in the coach business with him (and cattle). His other brother Charles was too; Charlie went over west and ran the Cobb and Co. there (it had been bought by the Kidmans) which mostly ran to the goldfields; like Gascards horses over west, their horses were known for their hardiness. Then Charlie got into training and owning racehorses which took over as his life's work. By the end of the 1890's Sid saw coaches were on the way out as rail took over, and got out of the business.

Sid was a true cattleman and horseman. He harnessed up green horses often on his coach runs, and got them into shape. He'd been around horses all his life. He never raised his voice to horses.

Some of the properties Sid bought had India horses on them, so he decided to see what they were worth. Indeed, he bought Owen Springs solely for its horses. Thomas Elder had put Suffolk Punch stallions on there and good broodmares, to breed up. Sid mustered the lot, 3,000, and sold them for India horses. He started a sale at Kapunda to sell his horses to India buyers and whoever else wanted them. It turned into an annual event and Kidman found good horses could be worth as much as cattle, sometimes a lot more. Of course, he bred hundreds of thousands of cattle, and there was no way that many horses would sell annually, so horses remained a fun sideline that was lucrative - and he had a great social life with the horsemen who came. 

He also sent horses to the Barker Brothers sales, and anywhere horses were sold - sales throughout Queensland, W.A., South Australia, NSW and Victoria. His properties were vast and had countless horses and he cashed them in when-ever he could. He added good blood back to keep up standards.

Kidman was a teetotaller and didn't smoke or swear. He gave generously to charity but was frugal otherwise. He stood 6 feet tall, and was affable, much respected among bushmen. He sacked anyone who hurt a horse.

He rode tremendous distances to see his property managers on various stations; and put a lot of bores in across country to make stock routes. He used to ride a skewbald pony down the street in Kapunda in the 1880's, standing on its back, he could make it lie down with a single command, and rise again when he commanded, and he remained standing in the saddle. His cheerful banter at sales was a great attraction and made it a lot of fun. When a weed came in (light sorts) that wouldn't sell, he'd run around after it, calling out 'sixpence for charity!' Several light sorts all named Charity were thus bought cheaply - and he always gave the proceeds to charity. Artillery sorts got top prices.

He made many friends through the horses, and the sales helped the career of many traders. He went to India with them for a jaunt, and improved the horses on several of his stations, getting excellent prices for them at his sales and supplying various orders. He bought Eringa where another Suffolk stallion of Thomas Elders had run and the horses were extra good.

In February 1908 he had Colonel Goad of the Indian army staying with him, and took him to some of his stations to see the India horses he bred. He had over 7,000 horses on Norley and Bulla alone in Queensland, and branded over 2,000 foals while Col. Goad was there. Kidman expressed his view the best horse country in Australia was between Hergott Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges. The Colonel had proposed a controversial horse buying plan to our government; Kidman was not phased by it.

In 1908 he generously gave 100 good horses to the Government of India when there was a relief fund going that many donated to. He paid for the horses to go over too. India after all was the main customer for his horses.

In 1905 he went to a sale of Dangar's Suffolks in Sydney and bought an expensive colt, this was taken to Eringa Station. Kidman also bought the thoroughbred stallion Lucknow. Lucknow was by Strahan foaled in 1889 - from there his breeding was unknown. He also bought Light Artillery for 150 guineas, and other winning TB stallions such as St Carlo, Sir Simon, St Spasa (a success at stud), Denacre, Inchaquire, Aides and Passing By. Aides was bred in Hungry and cost 3,500 guineas, it stayed on the stud where it died suddenly in 1924. He owned several TB mares of good race lines and bred them to top stallions for racers; his TB stud was called Fulham Park stud. His imported bay horse Silvius won some good races. He put Light Artillery on Coogy station to breed India horses, where it eventually died in 1909. Kidman's TB bloodlines went through central Australia, S.A., the N.T and Qld. Jim Robb for example bought a lot for Lambinna.

Sid bought the Banzai TB stud at Hilton S.A. when it dispersed and sent the stallion Banzai and some good mares to Norley station in Queensland, retaining other mares for his own stud. Bloodlines of his horses also went to his stations, Passing By (a solid horse) and St Spasa descended mares went to his stations to breed Walers for India, their lines much favoured. He liked racing and was a good sport, pleased when his friends won instead of himself. He lost interest in it eventually, in his later years passing the racing and TB stud to his son and son-in-law.

On Mundowna, usually spelled Mundownda (using old news account spelling) 20 circus ponies/horses, bought when Ireland's Circus folded up, had been put to breed up. They soon multiplied and were good sorts. Kidman bought the station, ran them in and sold many at Kapunda. They threw to the blue-grey and white colours of the originals. The colour was popular with drovers as they could be seen on nightwatch and were sold around the area. Some went to Kapunda to the sales.

In 1909 he returned from a trip to the UK and the continent, he decried the long working hours and poverty there. He brought back several omnibus drivers as workers, all good horsemen, they'd worked 18 hours a day in England for a pittance. He also brought back 4 Welsh pony stallions and two Thoroughbred stallions, one French; the stallions went to his stations.

Kidman was a breeder rather than a direct trader to India. After all he was a busy man. He bred and sold. His horses were bred for that trade and thousands went there. In 1910 for example, Gove - one of the important India traders (bio in this blog) - went with a shipload of top class horses to India on the steamship Satara. Gove had bought the horses from Kidman. Countless shiploads where the majority of horses were "Kidman horses" - either bought at Kidman's sales or directly from him. If Kidman sent his horses directly to India as a licensed trader, he'd have been the biggest trader in Australia. He bred and sold tens of thousands of horses. Many of his horses of course, went to the domestic market.

In 1910 2,400 horses were put through his Kapunda sales, the largest number at a sale in Australia. Excellent prices were obtained.

In August 1914 he gave 200 top class military horses to the Commonwealth Expeditionary Force, as well as 100 frozen bullocks. The horses were from Norley station. He also offered the govt another 1,000 good military horses he'd just mustered in Queensland, for cost. All horses needed breaking. The govt said they wanted the horses broken in and delivered to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane or would prefer money instead - so Kidman donated the value of the 1,000 horses for the war effort. He also donated 3 ambulances, 2 fighter planes, wool and more meat. He promised all his workers their jobs back when they returned from war, if injured he gave them a pension, if killed he paid a pension to their widows. He knew what it was like to be a poor child with no father for support. He started a fund for displaced Belgium farmers. And more. He donated to the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Royal Flying Doctor service throughout his life.

In 1919 he said horses were overstocked in much of Central Australia, a friend of his just shot 2,400 there. Horses were trapped, shot and left to rot, Kidman said it was a waste of hundreds of thousands of horses that could be sent as meat to countries like France where they eat horse. Horse numbers needed to be managed. There were several horses sales in Adelaide that year, prices were moderate. Kidman sent over 1,000 horses to several sales that year to reduce his numbers and got fair prices.

Kidman supplied buyers who came directly to him such as Philippines based North American army officers, and our army. When he moved into Adelaide Sid donated his substantial house at Kapunda, "Eringa," to the government for a public high school. The next day he was knighted.

Sir Sidney Kidman died in 1935, leaving a wife, three daughters and a son. A great Australian and wonderful man, who did an immense amount for our horse industry and left a great legacy with his property empire. Sid's Will is a testament to the man indeed - a long list of many charities left substantial sums and his old employees also left a very generous amount. Millions in today's money. A toughie, who knew that if you look after the little things, the big things will work; a good man.

George Kiss

Legend in the horse trade. George Kiss senior (1830-1882) started the famous Kiss Horse Bazaar in Sydney. From Hampton Lodge, Warwickshire, he emigrated in 1853 after meeting John Fairfax the famous newspaper owner. Fairfax helped him set up a hackney cab business on arrival. Soon, he imported the first Clydesdale into Australia (so the story goes, although it may have been the first registered one).

He was auctioneering by 1871 and set up his Bazaar. He became a councillor in 1875 and the Mayor of Randwick 1877- 1878, then a councillor again until his death in 1882.  Son George also became a councillor for Randwick.

It was the oldest horse bazaar in the colony by the time son George and his brother took over in 1880. George (son) was often mentioned in the press, going to sales such as Kapunda and throughout NSW, Victoria and Queensland and buying up horses for India. In 1908 for example he drove from Sydney to the Thargomindah district in Queensland and bought remounts for India. 

The Bazaar was a landmark of Sydney, with spacious stables and yards. Tall four storey buildings. 

There was an entrance off Castlereagh Street, and another off Pitt Street. Livery stables were built. All buildings were solid and made of brick and stone. Horses could be baited there while people attended business at the Bazaar or in the city ( to bait was to feed and water a horse). Part of his buildings are now the George Hotel in Sydney ("Kiss's Buildings" is carved onto the pediment), in George Street. 
Ventnor in Avoca Street, Sydney.
George senior bought a famous house named Ventnor in Avoca Street in
1876, elegant Georgian sandstone. As well as horses and cattle, they sold vehicles and harness. Single buckboard buggies were delivered free to the train. He also held sales at Camperdown, and being an auctioneer, was available for sales at other places. He didn't just wait for horses to come to him, he went up country buying himself, for example in 1908 he was at Thargomindah in Queensland buying remounts for India, returning home by motor. 

Kiss's horse Bazaar was world famous. He also auctioned cattle.

Edward Kerouse / Krcrouse

Worked with Henry Madden, buying horses for India - chiefly remounts but also top racehorses. Kerouse himself imported one of the biggest horses ever to come to Australia in the 1880's, named Big Gun. Although called a Shire it was refused registration in the Shire studbook as it had a bit of Clydesdale blood. 

Sportsman (Melbourne), August 1899.

In November 1901 it was reported Madden and Kerouse had sent 1,579 horses to India and 4,762 to Africa - total 6,841, in that year alone. In 1904 and 1905 they supplied Japan (Maiden and Morton being the main suppliers, Kerouse and Madden also did a lively trade there, several thousand head). They leased a property called Helensville Estate as a remount depot for their horses awaiting shipment. Rajah's bought from them. 

They shipped to Madras often - where they had stables among the biggest in the world - 400 loose boxes, none smaller than 12 x 12 feet, all made of brick with tiled roofs. By 1899 Donald McKinnon was working with them. 

In 1885 Madden and Kerouse/Kcrouse sent over 600 tram horses to Bombay between January and November, of superior quality and the required age of 4 to 5 years, and height 14.3 to 15.1 hh. 

In 1905 he was described as the biggest remount buyer in Australasia, while attending the Charleville horse sale. He paid 37 pounds and ten shillings for a gunner there, a big price, among others (The Northern Miner January 1905).

Robert Benjamin Lamotte

Lamotte was a keen rider - on the flat, over jumps and at shows - he really knew his horses and showed breeding horses in hand too. He was the third son of Frederick C. Lamotte of Glebe Point, Sydney.

Robert sent small shipments of "specials" to India - top quality horses selected for polo (he bought to 14.1 hands), hunt, race and saddle horses. At times he sent more - 200 remounts, hacks and ponies on the Virawa from Newcastle for India on one trip, he'd been to several properties buying. He regularly supplied top class chargers to officers in India.

In 1894 he and W. Dodd were in charge of a shipment of horses sent to India. Lamotte enjoyed his 'voyaging' and his friends remarked on his love of travelling to India and back. In 1898 he took a late load over, and barely made a profit. People had wanted light horses when he took a previous load over, but now he said the market had swung back to big wheelers. He would not take a late load again either! He enjoyed reading in between breaks on the ship. He recommended lucerne chaff and molasses to other shippers, in small amounts, to prevent colic.

In 1899 he bought the good hunter and champion hack of Sydney Royal, Maroo, for the wife of Calcutta's Chief Justice, Lady Jenkins, a top rider. She wanted Maroo to ride in the Calcutta Hunt Club paper chase. 

Lamotte also bought race Thoroughbreds at times, and showed horses. He had entries in the weight-carrying cob class and pony stallion class at Singleton in 1900.

In 1902 he sold a little Tb named Lucy Glitters to Earl Suffolk in India, the Earl hoped she'd make a pony chaser, but she was a fraction too tall, a tad over 14.2. He sold her to Dr. Hossack who won the 1902 Paper Chase gold cup on her, and rode her for years, saying she never once let him down. 

Lamotte rode in this race in 1895 and won it for a Mr Tougall on his horse Hayti, Tougall gifted Lamotte a silver mounted, inscribed riding whip for his great ride, a gift he always treasured. He was not young then either, but very experienced, having ridden at home including at Randwick.

Lamotte bought several offspring of the well known Welsh cob stallion Cupid, which was sold from NSW to Queensland, Lamotte recommending him as having a very good temperament and good solid build; in the paper he was referred to as a well known India buyer. He also went in showjumping classes in the Hunter. He showed polo ponies.

Based in Sydney, he imported top quality mares and stallions from England to breed racehorses and chargers.

He spent part of the year in India, like most professional horse traders. In India he was a keen rider too, entering steeplechase races for hunters, and paper chases. In 1903 he won three paper chase events with his gelding named Perth.

In 1907 he was judge for blood horses at Singleton Show. 

Tragically, Lamotte had an untimely death, although not young, he had been in fine health. Early in 1909 he died of cholera in Calcutta; he'd had it only 12 hours. This was a huge risk for all horse traders. A great loss of a popular and much loved man. Many traders lost family members to this disease while on business in India. A good TB, Rosanule, he'd imported, was sold for his estate.

Horses in the Kapunda saleyards, 1909, 
source Kapunda Herald, Oct 1909.

Lane and Dawson

based in Sydney, shippers of horses from NSW & Qld early twentieth century mostly to Bombay for ppl such as R.G. Baldock; also sent horses to order bought by themselves - mostly remounts, some ponies, racehorses.

James Simpson (Jim) Love

concentrated on horses in Queensland where he lived. He eventually bought and had interests in 14 large properties. His business was called Indian Remounts Ltd in India, and Egera Pastoral Company in Australia (company still 
going to this day).

Photo from the Townsville Daily Bulletin November 1933. 

He owned Egera near Chartres Towers and Butcher's Hill west of Cooktown, his main horse depots and horse breeding properties (also cattle). In the 1890's he put ten Clydesdale stallions and as many Thoroughbred stallions on Butcher's Hill - after a big cull of 500 out of the 800 horses already there; he cut their jugular veins. Well bred stayers had been put there but breeding not controlled. He sold Butcher's Hill in 1925 as he thought the market was dropping out (indeed, mechanisation was coming into force). The book 'The Battlers of Butcher's Hill' by Lennie Wallace is a good read about that property's history. 

He bought other cattle properties, loved racing and was a fan of Clydesdales. No doubt as he was Scottish, but Queensland had some of the best Clydesdales in the world at Maryvale stud. These were sold throughout Queensland. 

A hard man, born in Scotland, who migrated here in 1879 when he was 16 to join his parents (he'd been left to finish school), Love prospered. He was hard on his Indian workers. He lived in Townsville, having married Mary Jane Gordon in 1886 he settled into family life early. From 1887 he was Secretary of the Townsville Turf Club for the next 38 years and had business interests. He bred horses for racing and the military, importing many TB stallions and mares from England, and Clydesdales. He also brought in a big French jack for mule breeding, which was unusual in Australia.

Sometimes shipped in partnership with Dave Cronin.

A Presbyterian, Jim Love left a huge amount of money in his will when he died in 1933, to be distributed to charities and causes that apply annually to this day - the only stipulation being that no Catholics get help. A scholarship for Queensland students only, is among the many legacies he left. A fortune made from selling horses, James Love is a good example of a successful horse trader in the days good horses were gold and there was a giant demand for military horses. He left three daughters, all living in England, when he unexpectedly died in 1933, aged 70. His name was a household word.

Sir Henry Madden

Madden's father John and mother Margaret (nee Macoboy) had emigrated from Cork, Ireland, to London - then Australia in 1857 - John becoming Chief Justice of Victoria. Henry was thus born into wealth - but made more than others of his family by selling horses to India. He was the youngest of four sons.

Sir Henry Madden.

He bought the house and extensive acres of Flemington House, renaming it Travencore, in Melbourne. Sir Henry traded horses to the fabulous Kingdom of Travencore in India, through the port of Madras. He and his brothers Sir Frank, Sir John (also to become Chief Justice of Vic) and Walter all loved horses. Frank did good drawings of horses.

Henry followed the family trade - a lawyer. He bred and raced his own racehorses when young, before his India interests took priority. In 1865 with Edward Krause (Kerouse/Krcrouse) he set up a business sending horses to India. About 1890 they took D.D. Mackin (who later joined McKinnon and Co.) into partnership. Kerouse did the buying, and Mckinnon the selling in India. Madden looked after finances. In 1889 they took T.J. Burke, a known hunting man, into the business for buying horses.

Kerouse was a quiet man and a top judge of horses, he bought the best. Maddens loads were always highly praised in the news. Rajahs and high ranking officials in civvies and the army ordered from him. The Director of Remounts in India, Luck, ordered his chargers especially from Madden. It was said Madden's horses, including teams of matched carriage pairs and fours, were better than the best class horses in England. Kerouse was included in the praise for it was invariably he who chose the horses.

Sir Henry Madden had a palatial residence at Holloway Gate, Madras. Here, his firm sold top class racehorses (Viceroy's Cup winners Leonidas and Mundera etc), polo ponies, hunters (the Maddens loved hunting) and remounts, being considered the premier supplier of horses for the government military buyers in Madras. Sir Henry Madden was also on the committee of the Moonee Vallery Racing Club. He died in 1928.

George Maiden

was experienced in pastoral businesses, starting as a drover -for the adventure of it all - he worked his way up steadily -becoming a station manager. 

A man who knew what it was like to live in the country, he always did his best for those on the land and was generous and public spirited, never afraid to cross swords with politicians if necessary to see things straight. He inspired confidence in all he met, a good capable man. Full of Aussie ingenuity, in 1888 he also exhibited at Sydney's Centennial Show a patent lever gate he'd invented - showing a child seated in a buggy could easily open and shut the gate without getting out of the buggy, and a person on horseback too, without dismounting. 

George Maiden
Australian Town and Country Journal, 
Sept 1905.

He set up a wool buying and stock business with others, then finally became manager of the firm Goldsborough Mort and Co., Ltd of Sydney. He'd been acting Manager of the firm in Melbourne before that and was called a 'fair and manly' boss and much missed when he left. The firm were stock and station agents and auctioneers. George was 'the king of auctioneers' and specialised in getting top prices for sheep and wool, and raised the profile of Tasmanian sheep especially (the 1,000 guinea ram from Fairfield in 1897 was a sensation!). He was born and lived in NSW, although had some years in Melbourne. When droving, it was said he knew every mile from the top of Queensland to the bottom of Victoria.

George had gone into partnership with Jack Morton to sell horses, chiefly to Japan, they selected good buying agents to purchase from outlying areas throughout Queensland, NSW and Vic., and abided by the opinion of Japanese officers with great respect - the Japanese knew their horses, were polite and professional, cared every step of the way with horse arrangements, and paid well. George got many glowing tributes when he died, a much loved man throughout Sydney and the pastoral world. He also collected for drought relief for farmers, and asked for government help for drought stricken farmers at times. A great philanthropist, he also started a public fund to help bushfire victims. 

He died in September 1905 aged 64 at his home in Manly, of a stroke, leaving six sons and two daughters. His son George also in the business, carried on the auctioning tradition and livestock trading. 

Steve (Stephen) Margrett 

had the military bearing and gunbarrel-straight back of a natural horseman. 

He lived in Melbourne - moving his way through the suburbs until he landed in Melbourne's most prestigious suburb Toorak, where he had a spacious mansion - by then horses had made him truly rich. He was a self made man - not bad for the thirty first child of thirty three in his family! Everyone loved and respected him.

Steve Margrett, photo Australasian (Melbourne) 1936.

Born in Cheltenham, England (his father had two marriages) he'd migrated to NZ in 1879. After taking a load of horses to India, he then moved to Australia, first working as a roughrider (breaker) for the police. He was an ace rider, and fearless. He'd hop on an unbroken horse at the sales to razz up the buyers. In 1907 he won the prestigious Tollygunge Cup for the best remount, riding in the Calcutta Stakes of Bengal, in India - ironically presented to him by horse killer Earl ("butcher") Kitchener.

The inimitable Steve Margrett was known as the Colonel for his dapper ways and neat military appearance. He was a good breaker. He was one of the great characters of the trade, feted by all. At Kapunda he loved to set off firecrackers to liven things up, some so big they were called bombs - thus people said Kapunda had two fireworks days - Guy Fawkes and Margretts. He went to India with his horses each December and had almost 50 years of Christmas dinners there. 

His first trip was in 1884, he was in charge of 198 horses from Port Chalmers, New Zealand, shipped in the sailing ship Night Hawk. They went in the hold which was dangerous. It was hard work keeping them on their feet. Hot conditions en route meant water ran out, and Margrett got the skipper to call into Cocos Island for water, where it was brought to them by punt. They had barely got some on board when a cyclone loomed and they took off for Madras. The horses had strict water rations and 10 died. All up a trip of 68 days, and an arduous one. Margrett learned much. 

Margrett was invited over to W.A to look at their horses 1919/20 and said he was delighted with those he saw, he went over twice, and bought some horses for India from the Geraldton area, shipping them from Fremantle. He encouraged the trade there.

He loved to go to the races in Calcutta with his close friend and fellow trader Dick McKenna. He went to Kidman's first sale at Kapunda and rarely missed another for over 30 years. His daughter Alice married Scottish born William Murray-Smith, who became Margrett's partner in the horse trade to India. Steve Margrett himself had married Tom Derham's daughter. Tom was one of the big men in the trade early on. A lot of inter-marriage went on among the horse trading families.

Steve Margrett died in 1946, he'd had over 60 years horses trading to India. What a man.

Joe Martyr

Photo - Joe Martyr aged 71
The Register (Adelaide) 1928.

Didn't sell direct to India but including as he was a good tough horseman and bushman, typical of the times - mustered and broke wild horses for discerning India buyers such as Stephen Ralli.

When no-one else could get horses in, in tough country, they called on Joe Martyr. 

Joe sent his bush horses to Adelaide by rail or droving. He did contract mustering and droving, both cattle and horses. India men, landowners and managers got him to bring horses in. He was a top breaker too, working at times for Stephen Ralli on Werocata Station near Balaclava, South Australia

He once mustered 5,000 excellent horses on Blanchewater Station, South Australia, after others there tried for weeks and only caught a mare and foal. He got great prices for the landowners, as he chose the best from the mobs and negotiated with India buyers for higher prices for these. Ralli bought many of the best and paid handsomely. Of those 5,000 horses some got 100 pounds - outstanding money. They were descendants of the famous TE horses there - Thomas Elder's original breeding. Joe also taught the horses to lead for a fee of two shillings and 7 pence a head, an offer gladly taken up. 

Joe was still riding at 71. He was interviewed at that age by the great horse artist Septimus Power. 

Donald McInnes 

led a most exciting life. 

Born in Taree NSW, at the Manning River, he was one of eleven children. He started work as a butchers boy, delivering meat by punt on the Clarence River. 

He looked for opportunity. It led him to the gold rushes in Western Australia where he supplied meat to the prospectors. As that looked like fading he went to Rand in South Africa, the wider area of Johannesburg, itself started by a gold rush - and imported stock including horses.

The Boer War broke out and he imported loads of horses for the British army, as well as more cattle and sheep. He raced horses in Africa, his runners did well at Johannesburg, one to his chagrin won the Jo'burg Cup but was running wide under the stand and wasn't seen by the judge. 

A big load of 60 cattle and 2,0o0 quality sheep he sent over to South Africa in November 1899, went on the steamer Warrnambool, the papers were full of praise for the personal expense and trouble McInnes went to, to build the animals roomy, well ventilated facilities and the best fodder. Don went on the steamer with them to supervise. 

His brother Colin McInnes served at the Boer war with the 4th Queensland Contingent (Imperial Bushmen), his lively letters from the war at times published in the papers, two in August and September 1900 furnished by Don who was at Chinchilla, Queensland.  

Don liked horse racing. He always kept his horse trading and livestock as the main earner, but it seems over the years his astute judgement charmed Lady Luck too.

Next he went to Manila in the Philippines. He saw horses were needed and opened a Horse Bazaar using William Scott Fell the shipping agent, to import his stock from Australia - mostly from Townsville. Jack Fanning in Australia selected most of his horses and ponies and sent them over. Every trip the steam ships Changsha and Taiyuan made to the east, they took horses for McInnes' Bazaar on the way. These ships did the regular run to China and Japan from Australia, stopping at the Philippines to unload McInnes' horses. 

In 1908 49 horses went over for him on the Gulf of Venice in September, shipped by Fell.

In 1909, sporting a broken leg in splints, Don travelled back on a steamship from Manila to northern Queensland. This may have been because his partner Fell had gone bankrupt in 1908 - nothing to do with the lucrative horse business - Fell made speculative investments which hadn't paid off, in commodities and shares (he came good eventually). 

Don sent occasional horses over to Manila from his new home at Townsville, going over with a shipment of 30 himself on the Changsha in May 1912. Shipments of 30 odd horses from Townsville to Manila were constant, McInnes sending from 30 to 90 horses a year over. He was the most consistent and loyal supplier there in those years. 

McInnes prospered in his few years in Manila. Clubs were hugely popular there and these probably gave him an idea for a business. On arrival in Townsville he bought a large property at Rosslea on the banks of the Ross River, and continued exporting horses to the Philippines with Fell, but it must have been difficult as Fell could not legally trade until 1911. Don, ever inventive and cashed up, turned to other pursuits - buying racehorses for himself and building business premises.

He raced horses at Townsville and was a keen proponent of unregistered racing which he ran at Cleveland for a while. His horses raced throughout Queensland, winning most top races including the Townsville Cup - and McInnes was also a bookie for a while! Some of his horses were household names, also winning in Sydney. He took up betting in a big way and gambled heavily on horses - one loss of 15,000 pounds, was won back in less than a week. He was one of the biggest bookmaker punters Queensland ever saw, legendary for decades, with agents in all the major Queensland racing centres. He'd charter a launch and go with sporting mates up to Cairns. To Cooktown with his wife and their maid. He went to Chartres Towers, Rockhampton, Hughenden, Winton, Sydney for the Easter Carnival - all over - wherever there were races and good horses. Gambling however eventually lost its interest for McInnes. In 1935 he turned his back on racing and went out west, back to his livestock, to live on Argyle at Julia Creek. He'd expanded his pastoral interests, buying several properties, which kept him busy. His two sons helped run the stations.

But before he went out west he had many years in Townsville, not just bookmaking - he owned the Tattersalls Club, his landmark building in Flinders Street, Townsville. It became known as the Tattersalls building, as he was the agent for the Golden Casket and Tattersalls lotteries for the town, and ran a tobacconist and hairdressing shop there, plus a large 4 table billards saloon; a genteel club-like atmosphere, it was the place to be seen; the best cigars and pipes smoked over a game of billards, dice or cards.

In a room behind the billiards room games of chance were played such as hazard - a popular game from Regency times. No gambling was officially allowed, but it would appear from a couple of news items that wagering on cards was de rigeur. Charges on one occasion were dropped. In 1921 McInnes was fined for running an illegal betting shop.

Other shops in his building were rented out. Don McInnes had the handsome building designed by architect S. Harvey and built in 1916 - it was one of the most admired street front businesses of the town, and became known throughout Queensland. It had electric power from its own big generator in the basement.

In 1927 a drunk patron was asked to leave the billiards room by another patron. It resulted in a revolver shoot out in Flinders Street. After going for more ammo, a second shoot out was held. Police arrived, the wounded were taken to hospital. There was more excitement in 1930 when "the fortress" - the basement - was raided by police. It was fortified with steel doors, the men running the business escaped through a secret trapdoor (later caught), but 24 others were apprehended - all working men of the town. It was an illegal gambling den, at the time they were playing fan tan. McInnes had let the basement, so was not involved (like a bet on that?!).

He was very popular, called in the papers The King of Townsville. He also helped arrange community sports, like running for the Irish Sports Association.

The building was burned severely and almost destroyed during the war years, in March 1943. It was never said how the fires started. Much looting and damage to businesses and homes including burning them to the ground (and far worse crimes) was done by American occupiers in Australia in WW2 - they couldn't be prosecuted by our law so had a four year crime spree. We had to open new cemeteries. It was unspeakable. 

It upset McInnes very much to have his building burned down - although not living there at the time, he loved the place; it was still operating as a club and other businesses. It was insured. His son, also Don, was away at the war. Nothing could be done until the war was over, it was too risky.

Don was overseeing the rebuilding of his beloved building when he died in 1947, in his 80th year. He was survived by a wife and four living children, one other daughter, Jesse, having pre-deceased him in 1942. His obituaries were full of the names of great horses he'd raced. 

A fascinating man, larger than life, who must have been great fun; ironically the most loyal trader to American occupied Manila of our horses.

Richard (Dick) McKenna

one of the great characters of the horse trade, was said in 1933 to have been trading to India longer than anyone alive. He'd had 48 Christmas dinners there.

He often travelled to India with his mate Steve Margrett and other horse buying greats, and was a great fan of the racing in Calcutta which he reported as exceedingly well run, in 1924 saying there were three stipendary stewards. In that year he and Margrett went to India for Christmas on a ship with 800 of their horses. 

Chicago, 1888 Caulfield Cup winner, trained by McKenna, painted by Frederick Woodhouse. 

McKenna tried to get quarantine rules changed so mares and stallions sold to India could come back, to continue their lines here. People were reluctant to let good breeders go away forever. McKenna had trained racehorses, he'd also been a jockey for a short time. He knew his Thoroughbreds, he trained a winner of the 1888 Caulfield Cup, Chicago, and among the Thoroughbreds he sold to India, two won the coverted Viceroy's Cup (Grafton and Great Scot). The Viceroy's Cup to India was like the Melbourne Cup to Australia. The bees knees. 

His main trade was in remounts and paperchasers. He advocated remount breeders choosing the best sires and dams, and was a great fan of staying types and horses with plenty of bone. 

Photo: 'Old hands at the Game', Richard McKenna, Sir Sidney Kidman, Steve Margrett at the Kapunda sales, 1932. Chronicle (Adelaide).

McKenna went to Kidmans first sale at Kapunda with his dapper mate Steve Margrett, one of the most famous India men, and never missed one after that for over thirty years. Kidman became a sound friend. In Calcutta McKenna stayed at the Continental.

Richard McKenna was another India trader whose social life was inextricably entwined with the trade. A sister married Steve Margrett, another icon of the trade; while in 1884 Richard wed Emily, the daughter of Tom Derham, another horse trader. 
He named his house after her.  Emilyville was a striking house with much admired stables built by McKenna.  In 1890 twin daughters were born. McKenna was a great family man, like many traders he frequently took his family to India on his trade trips. There were four daughters and two sons. He was always generous to journalists with his time on return, giving reports of the horse trade - information valuable to breeders and other traders - and general matters of interest in India. In 1910 they sold Emilyville and moved to Rothmaise, also in Moonee Ponds. In 1917 in WW1, his son Joseph was killed in France, on active service. Son Alfred also served in that war.

McKenna also brought good blood back from India, to sell on, including an Arab pony imported to India from Arabia, which won 19 races in India, then champion and first in his class at Melbourne Royal, named Zouroff. 

He retained a good eye and great fondness for ponies, as he raced them for years before racing thoroughbreds. One of his ponies, Billy Buttons, was a favorite with many. He was "a creamy with a black strip down his back" (probably buckskin). He won 10 of 11 races, losing once not due to his usual massive distance handicap, but to being startled by the starter's flag into rearing - yet only lost by inches. He could beat ponies in the 14.2 class despite being only 12.2 hands himself, and was once timed running half a mile in 54 seconds in the sand at Flemington. He was always ridden by one of McKenna's sons. Billy Buttons was also raced against runners (athletes) too, as running was very fashionable at the time. He won his supporters a lot of money.

McKenna rode in some races himself as an amateur, such as Melbourne Hunt Club races. He passed away in 1938, after  full life. A great trader and horseman.

Alfred John (Jack) Morton

A.J. Morton, right, at Sydney Royal show. 
The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 29th March 1902.

Jack was a top horse trader, a judge at horse shows and a great fan of Shire horses. He was born at Numba on the Shoalhaven River, the fifth of 8 children of Henry Gordon Morton, a surveyor and wonderful community man, and his wife Jane. The family thrived and were horsey. Three of his brothers subsequently entered parliament. One, Philip Henry Morton MP, was involved with banking and agriculture and bred remounts and utility horses with sound experimental breeding based on the best methods of creating Walers.

Jack was highly respected, being Australia's horse trade representative to Japan for our government - he did us proud. In partnership with George Maiden he sent countless horses overseas including roughly 20,000 to Japan, he called them Walers. Even in the midst of arranging purchase and shipping of the initial 10,000 ordered, he still found time to show his own hacks and to judge when asked. He was a fine judge, a true horseman.

In 1905 Jack said over 2,000 horses passed through the Toowoomba sales alone. It was a good year for the horse trade.

Jack also showed horses and ponies and raced gallopers. He travelled to Scotland in 1907 to purchase Ayrshire bull Remarkable for the Greystanes stud here, which he co-owned with Mr. Fraser. Jack won numerous championships with cattle as well as horses. He showed Remarkable in Scotland and England on the way home and picked up several big prizes.

As well as Australia's premier shows, Jack also judged at the best shows in India and England. He knew the remount and horse trade inside out. In a 1907 interview he warned the British remount buyers they would not get good horses if they kept paying low prices. In the interview he mentioned he'd judged in England, Australia and India and the horses he judged at Wagga were among the finest he'd ever seen for hunters and remounts.

He bought top Shire stallions while in Wales, one named Severn Marlow which was sold to the Young area, won first prizes every time shown.

Another brother, Henry Douglas (Harry) Morton, was a keen hunting man and famous show jumper - clearing 6 feet 7 inches at shows; at one show he cleared 6 feet 10 on his horse Commando. Harry Morton was based at Coolangatta, he and his wife also bred and showed ponies including harness ponies and hackneys. Articles about him were full of praise for Walers, calling them natural born jumpers. Many members of the Morton family were top riders including the women. Jack's brother Philip Henry Morton was a noted rider and whip, and showed Shires, ponies, jumpers and hunters.

Jack Morton's good friend and business partner George Maiden suddenly died of stroke in September 1905, as their horse trading business was in full swing. Jack faithfully saw out their contracts to the end and visited Japan to report on the horses there for our government, and maintain goodwill. He left Sydney on the E & A mail steamer Eastern in October 1905 accompanied by a Mr I. A. Morton, and returned in February 1906. On this trip he also visited Manila, Hong Kong and Shanghai and reported all places had a high opinion of Walers and except for Hong Kong, all wanted more. In Japan he was shown around the Emperor's stud (he didn't think much of the Anglo-Arabs there!) and government studs. He watched the cavalry train Australian horses and drill with them - rapt they were great horsemen, kind and patient, and stated Japan would have the finest cavalry in the world. In 1920 he sent 21 horses over to Japan (probably others, just adding as some crop up other than the 1904-06 horses).

Jack died unexpectedly, in 1926, at his home at Rushcutter's Bay; he was only 55 years old. Jack Morton was a great ambassador for Australia and a great purveyor of horses - an ambassador for the best - our mighty Waler.

Morton family

Several members of the Morton family were involved with the horse trade, both buying and travelling overseas with horses. They bred and showed horses successfully, and were highly respected. Some examples of export: K. Morton sent 30 horses to Singapore and R. Morton 46 horses and ponies to Colombo, both in 1913. R. Morton with Mr Dixon also commissioned the O'Donnell brothers to buy horses for them which were shipped in June 1914 on the Janus for India - Morton and Dixon may have been in India at the time.

John Sylvester (Jack) O'Donnell  
& the O'Donnell Brothers

World's best. Born in Melbourne, Jack was moved to West Maitland as a child, with his family. From a young age he started dealing in livestock - becoming not just Australia's but the world's biggest horse trader.

Eventually he bought a landmark West Maitland property called Sans Souci, renaming it Tyrconnell in honour of his Irish ancestors.

A regular at the big Maitland horse sales, Jack bought for India traders such as Julius Gove, shipping the horses over to him in India, and for those great horse traders A. J. Cotton and Rob Baldock who required big numbers sent to India, Japan, Africa etc. Jack gained a top reputation for sourcing quality horses in good numbers.

By 1896 he was exporting horses and cattle himself - to India, China, the Dutch East Indies, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Fiji, Noumea, the Philippines. Top quality. He bought all around NSW and Queensland, known for bringing quality horses and cattle from Qld into NSW for breeders too. He went into partnership with his three brothers, Michael (Mick), Frank and James trading as O'Donnell Brothers. They sent horses away F.O.B. for other traders. Japanese commissioners came directly to the O'Donnell Brothers.

In 1912 they were described as the biggest horse dealers in Australia. In 1917 as the biggest horse dealers in the world.

They supplied tens of thousands of horses to our Defense Department during WW1. They had up to 6,000 on agistment when there was not enough grass on their own place of 1,000 acres, in dry times, always keeping their horses in tip top condition. They filled small and large orders promptly no matter how short the notice. Their reputation for supplying good horses was impeccable. They employed horsemen but liked to do most of the buying themselves, Jack was also a recognised classer (for the British, Indian and Australian armies).

Jack O'Donnell on one of ten chargers he gifted our army in 1914. The horse he's mounted on, named Tyrconnel, was for the Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force. He was also photographed on one named No 1, of a good quiet nature, that was for the Commander-in-chief too. Below photo is of all ten. Sydney Mail, October 1914.

Sandy, the bay horse of Major-General Bridges, best known for being the only horse returned to Australia after WW1, was donated to Bridges by O'Donnells. These O'Donnell brothers had a brick making business in Tallangatta and were a different family to the O'Donnells who traded horses; this story is according to Richard Crispin whose great uncle married into the Tallangatta family (Nellie O'Donnell) - allegedly Bridges admired the horse, hence them donating it to him.

What is interesting however, is that Sandy was mentioned in Jack O'Donnell's obituary Obit for Jack in which Sandy is mentioned. This article also mentions O'Donnell Brothers bay horse is a favorite of Bridges 1915 article. One is inclined to think it was, indeed, one of Jack's horses. Major-General Bridges and troops with their horses, including Sandy, went to Egypt on the ship Orvieto. At the time Jack donated his chargers, Bridges was the Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Forces - and was the recipient of some of Jack's donated horses.

Jack bought horses throughout NSW and Queensland; much respected, he formed many friendships. He judged horse classes at many shows in both states. He enjoyed training and riding his own runners in amateur races - often called Corinthian races - a term from Regency days, corinthians being men of consequence and fashion who excelled at sport, particularly boxing and horsemanship - having several well known winners such as Prince Lyon and Demallion. He sold Demallion to Japan in 1905, when he was supplying horses for the Russo-Japanese war, said by the Japanese to be the number one of 303 stallions they bought at the time; they renamed it Maitland.

In 1928, three horses Jack sold the Japanese were taken to the Olympics, at least one of them went to the 1932 Games too (story in the Japan blog).

Jack died in 1932 but the brothers and some of the sons, including Jack's son John, kept the business going, getting glowing reports in the news often for their standard of horses. They bought at sales and from breeders ,their reputation was such that orders came from overseas without inspecting before purchase. Described as the biggest ever suppliers of Walers, O'Donnells were a truly marvellous business and family.

John O'Donoghue 

went to every single Toowoomba horse sale for 35 years straight, missing his first one in 1942. He lived in Toowoomba and travelled around Queensland buying horses, described in 1931 as one of the biggest horse buyers of the state. He bought for others such as Frank Beasley, Jim Love, Jack O'Donnell and A.J. Cotton. He was Irish with a strong accent. Spelling of his name varies so am unsure which is correct. At times in newspapers it was variously spelled O'Donohue, O'Donaghue, Donohue and Donaghue. Can't find him sending horses away himself, although he may have, but he bought for the big traders and knew his horses. He scorned weeds which he called Kerry goats. He sent top class ponies, hacks, draught crosses and light draughts to Toowoomba sales, and several other sales.

Stephen Stanley Ralli (1863-1941)

Stephen Ralli was educated at Eton; his business savvy family was originally Greek -  settling in France, then England - immensely successful merchants with connections to Calcutta in the family business of jute, grain etc. 

For two years after his education finished Stephen was a coachman - driving being highly fashionable he went into a coach partnership - running the coach from London to St Albans. Then he came to Australia.

Ralli became a jackeroo on Nockatunga Station in Queensland. An accomplished breaker, he broke in 100 to get his fare to England to ask his parents about buying Werocata Station in South Australia. When his parents bought it, Stephen rode down there from Nockatunga on a strong white cob named Moses - over a thousand miles. When Moses died of old age, Ralli buried the cob beside his home.

Ralli & Co. (name of his business).
Stephen Ralli and family in Adelaide, 1910
State Library of Victoria.

He introduced Shropshire sheep to South Australia too. Ralli raced a few steeplechasers (his Charcoal won the Great Eastern) but his main interest was breeding polo ponies - he used four Arab pony sires that became famous - Marvel, Snow, Grayling and the very popular Brat. All four had been brought out from Calcutta, The Brat and Marvel by Billy Burgess and Grayling by Jimmy Mullins. They all had plenty of bone (one wonders what the criteria of "Arab' was!)  

Horseman Walter Tidswell also trained horses for Ralli on Werocata. The property was 15,000 acres.

Ralli introduced English foxhounds to South Australia with his 'Werocata harriers' - green coat, red collar, red buttons. His full pack of 52 hounds were bought in Ballarat.  The property was set up with capped fences for hunts and great fun was had hunting. Queen Victoria's staghound master, Ike Theyer, came out to be his hunt club Master. Ralli also showed horses including jumping classes. He rode regularly with the Adelaide Hunt Club for many years. A steeplechase race was named after him, the Ralli Hunters Steeplechase.

The Brat, a chestnut, had raced in India for 10 years, winning 32 races. He stood 13 hands one and three-quarter inches (just shy of 13.2hh). One of his foals, Seelani, named after the Blessed Mare of the Prophet, won polo pony prizes, pony hack, single harness and finally pony brood mare classes in South Australia.The Brat won the St Leger of India - a mile and a half, carrying 10 and a half stone - amazing for a pony! 

Ralli sent shiploads of his ponies to India, at times with Jimmy Mullins, head stockman on Werocata, in charge. Jimmy Mullins was Clerk of the course for Balaclava Racing Club too. Ralli liked halfbreds and that's what he bred for India. Dan Vaughan and Charlie Greig were among his horse breakers, and Walter Tidswell.

As well as his own ponies and horses, he bought horses from other stations to send to India. His business was Ralli & Co. In 1890 he shipped 300 horses and ponies on the great horse ship Bucephalus, in Adelaide. All came from great horse stations. They were bought wild and sent to his station Werocata for breaking, which added value and made them easier to handle in shipping. Ralli employed 15 full time men on his station - all horsemen. Some of his men always went to India with the horses. At shearing time he had 40 working there. In 1892 he shipped a big load on the famous horse ship Clitus - remounts, artillery horses, hacks and polo ponies.

He was a good rider - in a race on polo ponies at the end of a polo season, he rode a friend's pony for him, Kitty - but unbeknown to Stephen, his friend, the popular Joe Gordon, had bet on another pony and lost 300 pounds when Kitty won! Stephen also found Gordon - a Spanish born Scot with the fabulous and unlikely name of'Jose Maria Jacobo Rafael Ramon Francisco Gabriel Del Corazon De Jesus Gordon y Prendergast - a great horse to take to the Boer War, which Gordon named Bismarck. Same family as the great Australian poet and horseman Adam Lindsay Gordon. Joe Gordon was a grand old horseman, loved by all except the bigwigs in our embarrassingly insular army of the time; no place for an intelligent man.

In 1900 Stephen was at Port Pirie buying horses but despite extensive searching, most were too weedy (demand was huge that year), and he only got a few there but at surprisingly low prices. Most years he sent loads away, all schooled beautifully.

Stephen did a great job of finding horses for our men going to the Boer War, and with his men was invaluable helping load massive shipments of horses onto trains and ships the Surrey, Manhattan, Maplemore and others, for South Africa. He worked in dungarees himself, with a knee heavily bandaged from a hunt accident not slowing him down when loading for the Maplemore - Ralli always worked as hard as his men, even in the smithy on his farm. The work of he and his team was greatly admired, professional and kindly to the horses with their welfare paramount. By the time the Manhattan docked and the horses were entrained from country yards, then loaded on ship, he and his crew were exhausted and put the last 40 horses on the deck for the soldiers to take to stalls themselves - after all the soldiers were getting paid and were fresh as a daisy. This apparently led to several loud 'soldiers prayers' for Ralli's men! Stephen donated 3 good mules for transport to a South Australian contingent. He also donated he and his men's labour at Boer War time. He paid his men out of his own pocket. Somehow he found time to run his station, continue horse trading and showing his horses and sheep!

Stephen's brother, Major Antonio Stephen Ralli, was at the Boer War with his English regiment, the 12th Lancers; tragically he died there of enteric fever, at Kroonstad in May 1900.

Stephen had an excellent eye for a horse and liked plenty of bone. He supplied top price artillery and remount horses, in 1903 being described as South Australia's largest exporter of horses. He generously donated 14 acres of Werocata to the local Agricultural Society, for holding the annual Balaclava Show, among other pursuits. It was the best show in SA outside Adelaide.

Daniel Walter Vaughan, the son of James Vaughan, an Angaston pioneer from England, did several trips to India with Ralli's horses. Daniel died aged 80 in 1944.

The horse trade with India. Mr S.S. Ralli's horses yarded for shipment.
Chronicle (Adelaide) 1903.

Ralli bought the first car in the Balaclava area - steered with a tiller - and took it to schools for children to have rides in.

He left Weracota in 1906, moved to Young in NSW for a time then retired to England; the country he originally came from when young. When he went to England, he married Miss Ada Beck, her father was Colonel Charles Beck of a famous regiment; the regiment that Stephen's brother had been in. He brought her out to see Werocata, which was sold by then - to his surprise she loved it and wished he hadn't sold it! They had three sons. Stephen died in England in 1941. His place there was Old Middleton, Westmeston, Hassocks, Surry. When old friends from Australia went over, they always dropped in for a welcome visit 

Mygeed 'Mick' Rasheed 

(spelled Rashid at times, he spelled it Rasheed himself), was born at Mt Lebanon, Syria. He migrated when he was 22 years old with his brother Sam. They lived in South Australia and became highly respected horse buyers, often seen at Kapunda and elsewhere.
photo: The Advertiser

Mick was one of the biggest horse buyers in the Commonwealth. He also traded sheep. He did very well, and bought the stations Moolooloo, Lake Torrens, Gum Park and a property near Orroro. Mick was known as "The Strong Man" as he liked to keep fit and display shows of strength such as carrying large weights - three sacks of wheat or something, and daring anyone to beat him. His feats of strength became legendary in South Australia. When he started buying horses, he sorted rude people by calmly putting them out a door - while it was closed - or into a horse trough.

He mostly traded horses from South Australia to Western Australia (went over by train) - several thousand a year - but also to the east and India. In 1907 the Japanese, great horse buyers, commissioned him to buy them 500 heavy draughts. Mick got the best, at several sales and properties. He attended a sale in April 1915 in South Australia where he bought several horses for the huge sum of 250 pounds as the money was donated to the Belgium Relief Fund, a war fund - he donated to many charities over his lifetime, a noted philanthropist.

The Rasheeds went far and wide to get good horses, for example in 1903 they were bidding at the annual Gladstone horse sales and got good draughts there, topping the sale price for one of them.

 In 1925 he took a team of extra good racehorses to Singapore and Java.He was also a racing man and bred his own runners. At a farewell for two young recruits in 1917, he promised them the best horse on his farm (one each) when they returned. After a successful medical operation, he went on a world tour in 1924, said to be reward for a lifetime of work without a day off. He visited his birthplace on this trip.

Mick became a government horse buyer for the army during the war (WW1). He travelled far and wide for horses including to NSW. He died in 1929, aged 58 - it was unexpected, he'd been to the Grand National in South Australia that afternoon. At one stage he went on a lengthy tour of Western Australia to see what they needed in horse power, and making good friends as he went. He was greatly missed and had fine tributes in the papers after his death.

Salem 'Sam' Rasheed 

Lived in South Australia, brother of Mick, (above).
Photo: The Advertiser, November 1932.

Sam was only 13 when he migrated here from Syria with his older brother. Their horse trading business was called Rasheed Brothers. The brothers traded sheep and cattle too, but horses were their love.

Sam became a racehorse trainer and India buyer; more of an amateur trainer as it was family bred horses he trained - his brother's mostly. He had a good horseman's eye and bought some racehorses cheaply when he started training, some already tried, but with patience and travelling them about the country to various races to suit, he did extremely well - soon they could branch into horse trading.

At one stage he got homesick and returned to Syria, but after 18 months he was back in South Australia. Sam was a popular Chairman of the Trainers Association. His lived on his property Minburra, 70 miles east of Cameton. Sam would often stop his car to admire good working horses.

He expressed how kind the people along the Murray were when he first arrived and was learning English, patiently helping him as he went about properties buying horses. It was not long until he could help back - like his brother, known for many acts of kindness. When he bought Angas Estate there was no school nearby, so he donated part of his land for a school. He kept fit like his brother, playing tennis and cricket, and rode a pushbike from Jamestown to Adelaide often. He lived in Jamestown for a time. His son Noel also raced horses. Sam died aged 65, in 1940. Tributes were full of praise, 'a quiet gentleman' was often said, his many kindnesses told of, his love of racing and keeping it clean and his great love for his family.

Hugh Rea

Rea imported horses as well as exporting to India. He imported excellent horses for many years, parading them at the sales at the City Horse Bazaar and always getting high prices. He imported to calss horses to breed his India horses.

He imported a good Irish hunting stallion, Treaty Stone, in 1895, by Old Victor which had won the Royal Hunt Club Cup at Ascot, out of a mare by Uncas. Treaty Stone stood 16.3 hh with plenty of bone, a strong weight carrier.  He imported several draught horses from England such as Torrence King, Grampian and Wallance, admired for their bone, feather and muscle. 

In 1883 he imported the draught stallion King of the West.  

In 1887 he imported coachers and Irish hunters. In 1889 he imported a cart stallion, Trumpet, not tall, solid, muscular, srong shoulders, powerful quarters, strong short legs of great bone. In 1890 he imported a strong Irish hunter named Robert Emmett, much admired for good bone, and a Yorkshire roadster stallion St Ives, also greatly admired for it's conformation and excellent bone, and a Cleveland Bay stallion. 

In 1891 he imported two splendid Irish hunters named Red Hand and Athlone. In 1893 in the Thermopylae he imported Clydesdales British Oak (sold for a sale topping 495 guineas by Campbell & Sons at the City Bazaar), St. Kilda, Gaviston Prince and St. Alexander. In 1901 he sold two brown Clydesdale colts, one named Talieri Chief, at the City Horse Bazaar, sold by Campbell & Sons. Rea died in 1901 aged 58, leaving his beloved wife, Mary.

Joseph G. Rowley

Joe Rowley took 15 jumpers to England for Sam Bradbury. He also rode them there - they did well. Joe branched into horse trading on return home and quickly acquired a good reputation. He began his many trips to the East with horses. By 1898 he was sending horses to the Americans in Manila, Philippines, a trade he kept up over the next 12 years or so -although like others, after 1905 he dropped that market pretty well although supplied them with horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and angora goats - on an official American govt order. He was the only one to get such an order - he wrote extensively about the Philippines, much was unfortunately racist, tainting otherwise lively accounts. He was not flattering about Americans either. He estimated from 1897 to 1908 he'd sold about 5,000 horses to the Philippines. 

He traveled widely delivering horses, and wrote articles on places he traded to in a series of 1908 articles with the heading "Around The World With The Horse"and subheading "In The Far East." One article was about China and Japan, describing the 1894 war and its causes, with reference to Formosa (Taiwan). He writes with an understanding of the issues of each country and an accurate analysis of their capabilities. He wrote lengthy articles on Japan, with all the intense scrutiny of the frequent visitor, lots of useful information, always interested in trade. The quaintness of his phrases however cannot hide his racism, that is a shame, and degrades his articles. In his Hong Kong article, he shows real regret at a close friend, Captain Page, who was lost with his ship in a typhoon while Rowley was there. His writings about China were a relief while he was enraptured by the scenery but as usual descended to his usual perjorative insults; after reading several of his accounts one begins helplessly groaning at the next sub-heading (City of Stink etc). Awful!

Based in Sydney, Joe bought throughout NSW, Qld and SA and was well known for decades about the Grafton area, along the Richmond River, often on buying expeditions there. He was doing so well selling South Australian horses to China, that the South Australian government set up two of their own citizens in opposition, Laurie and Holmes, giving them a 6,000 pound bounty. Joe still traded more than them.

He was trading for the Boxer Rebellion, selling horses to the British, Chinese and Japanese. During that time he also sourced the horses for our government's gift to Baden Powell in South Africa at the Boer War, and another 1,778 horses for that war, going over with them. When the Russo-Japanese war broke out, he supplied thousands of good horses and even went over with them, under fire at times during delivery in the war.

He went to Japan several times, taking extra good horses for the government studs, one, Diplomatic, was so good he said it was a sin it left Australia. He found the Japanese did not like foreigners, unlike other travellers there who found the opposite; his own attitude probably caused this! Japanese Fairs were held in Australia in those times, people were enarmoured of 'the land of the chrysanthemum' (which he did reluctantly cede Japan grew far better than Australia!) One of his horse trading rivals, Holmes, had done so well from horse trading he retired early to a mansion in Yokohama, and lived very happily!

Rowley traded to many markets and provided lively accounts. He did say the ponies from Sandalwood - now known as Sumba - were the best he'd seen in the world. High praise indeed, from a harsh judge, for these excellent ponies. Rowley always supplied good horses and always went with them. He was a fearless intrepid traveller, and politically astute.

James Edward (Jim) Robb

lived in South Australia. He'd migrated from Scotland with his parents, arriving on his first birthday. He started young in the horse trade - working for Gidney and Derham and accompanying horses to India at age 16 - they'd noticed his uncanny ability to train horses and employed him on the condition he finish his education at the same time. His daughter Maise Chettle (nee Robb) wrote a book about him "Jim Robb", published by Seaview Press in 1996 - lots of photos and a great look at the trade and breeding. He bred horses for India as well as buying them, having the station Lambinna. Among others he used at least six stallions of the Pistol line there (Pistol was by Carbine, one of the toughest racehorses ever, a true stayer; "Old Jack" was hugely loved in Australia and was sent to Britain in his old age). 

Jim Robb. 
The Express, Adelaide, December 1922.

Robb constantly bought good TB stallions and occasional draught stallions. He bred thousands of horses and culled heavily for type and temperment, shooting some at each muster and many more hundreds yearly after 1938 and the trade to India pretty well cut out. On a tour around Central Austalia in 1930 with C.A. Martin he was critical of many horses showed to him for sale (they were buying for India) and although they got 200 horses it was with a lot of travelling. Robb shot hundreds that looked "inbred and wretched."

One of the stations that was part of Lambinna is Granite Downs which now forms part of the vast Indulkana Aboriginal lands. Carbine's blood is in the Gardens station Walers we accessed. Some birdcatcher type marks (flecks etc) on the Gardens horses and tail colouring at the top of the tail are called 'Pistol Marks' from this influence, known as such in Robb's day.

Robb ran Thoroughbreds but also put draught through to get his types, his ideal horse early on having a 'draught grandmother'. His types soon bred true - heavy artillery, lighter artillery, remounts. Robb usually spent 6 months on his stations then the rest of the year in Adelaide where he had land for horses at Prospect, training horses ready for Ceylon and India. His son Walter became a good horseman too, sadly both he and Jim caught typhoid on one trip to India and Walter died there. It was his fourth trip to Calcutta and he was only 24. His mother and sister rushed over but arrived too late. His brother Alec with them, also a good horseman, escaped infection.

Robb also supplied South Australia's police horses. In 1937 he said all credit for their good reputation was due to Inspector Johns of the police, who made sure the semi-wild horses they got from Robb were carefully trained by the police.

In WW1 Robb enlisted and served from 1914 to 1918, became a Sergeant in the Army Veterinary section of the Light Horse but due to medical conditions (foot squished by a horse) did not leave Australia. 

Robb had 41 trips to India, the last in 1938 when his son died there, although he continued selling horses there - racehorses, remounts, field gun horses, polo ponies, private matched carriage horses, paperchasers (one to the Prince of Wales who came a cropper off it, Robb was riding behind him, in India, and said it wasn't the horses fault!), private riding horses. 

After WW2 he was still selling horses - to the Emperor of Abyssinia, India through Calcutta, and Greece, Turkey, Malaya and France. As the horse trade was decreasing, he went over more to sheep and cattle, in 1941 shooting 638 mares and fillies on Lambinna "to save precious water." Among his stallions then was Reno, a TB imported from Ireland. The stallions were not shot. One of South Australia's greats, and a natural horseman.

Wolfgang Schmidt

Theodore Adolph Wolfgang Schmidt, an enterprising character who migrated from Germany in 1904, was keen to make a living although at times he ran into problems. By 1906 he was being referred to as a well known fruitgrower and jam producer, his preserved lemon peel superior to any imported, even from Germany. Most of his produce was exported including to Hong Kong. He exhibited his preserves at the 1907 Castle Hill show but as there were labels on his jars, he could not be given a prize as they were commercial, but a special certificate was presented to him for their excellence.

In 1907 it was reported he was married, owned and played a pianola, was in partnership with a Mr Borneham and liked drinking with his German friends late into the night.

He was a good community man, going to fruitgrowers meetings, the races, being involved with the local football club, exhibiting at local shows, riding to hounds, and so on. 

In 1907 and 1908 he sourced a lot of horses for the German government. Perhaps he over-spent - for March 1909 he took up voluntary bankrupcy proceedings; in August he was declared bankrupt by the courts, being the owner of a providore in Baulkham Hills, Sydney. He was sold up to pay debtors at his place at Mt Pleasant, Windsor Road, Baulkham Hills; among the sale items were horses, cows, Berkshire pigs, quality sulkies, buggies and carts, harnesses, ploughing implements, chaff cutters, 400 dozen jamjars and a good lightweight hunter named Tranship. Tough time - he lost all means to make a living. In November that year he was found trading while insolvent and running up debt, so the discharge of bankrupcy was extended by 2 years. Also that year a pony of his bolted and his wife and baby were tipped out of the sulky, both were ok although Mrs Schmidt was badly bruised. 

In 1910-11 he was co-respondant in a divorce case, he was living with Elsie Tanner (nee Perriman) and they had two children, and he was described as a farmer and shipping providore. This was doubtlessly the woman referred to as his wife in the earlier reports as one of their children was 4 years old in 1910. It was a romantic affair. She left her shearer husband to be with Wolfgang, travelling over from NZ where they'd gone working, to Wolfgang in 1904 (they met not long after Wolfgang's arrival) - leaving her husband in NZ a note saying she never wanted to see him again and that he'd never find her. But two years later he tracked her down, hence eventually the divorce proceeded. Wolfgang was home when this husband turned up, which doubtlessly prevented violence.

Wolfgang also rode with the Sydney Hunt Club (one of his hunters was named Rocket, 1907), and his Tranship got glowing mentions in the hunt reports in the papers.

He worked hard, as well as horse trading he grew fruit and vegetables. He kept busy making his preserves. In 1912 at the Baulkham Hills show he exhibited a patent sterilising device, whereby he preserved fruit and vegetables in airtight jars, they being cooked in the glass as part of the process. This exhibit was the drawcard of the show. Wolfgang said he'd been sending jars of preserved passionfruit to Germany where it was very popular. 

Several times he acted for Germany to buy horses for them - he invariably chose Thoroughbreds rather than Walers, although he relented a bit - there were Walers among loads he sent to Germany in 1911 and 1914, the latter load being for their government army studs plus a few showjumpers. Obviously the Germans were breeding their own types and wanted TB's as sires. He also sent occasional horses to the Philippines and Dutch East Indies. It was reported he'd been an amateur jumps jockey in Germany where he rode in 311 races, 74 of them in 1902; also in England, France and Australia (Queensland 1904), riding at 9 stone 5 pounds; and had been a Lieutenant in the Germany army. 

For a time after arrival in 1904 he ran a riding school at Mosman in Sydney. In 1905 a fire broke out at his stables at upper Baulkham Hills, Sydney, a pony stallion named Little Joe and a sulky were saved, the stables and other effects burned, but were insured. 

Once WW1 came along, he was interred in Langwarrin then Liverpool prisoner of war/ enemy alien camp in Australia in mid 1915. The worst camp of them all, also known as Holsworthy.

A Theodore Schmidt had been naturalised in Queensland in 1904, his birth year was 1875, this sounds like our Wolfgang as in Sydney in 1904 he said he'd ridden a few amateur jumps races in Queensland on arrival. Hence, he was an Australian. His application for removal from the camp was ignored. He must have felt betrayed and terribly worried about his family. Usually these people were informed on by jealous business rivals, who told lies to corner the market and have their opposition locked up. One can imagine who informed on Wolfgang.

Sadly for Wolfgang life had been going well - he'd been trading horses, recovered from bankruptcy and getting good business with his preserves, but the war stopped all that. Australia jailed many people born in countries we were at war with, and many Australians born here with a non-English name - a cruel, stupid policy - conservative governments are thus.
Wolfgang Schmidt, photo taken by Holdsworthy enemy alien camp, 1915; despite him being Australian he was locked up there. National Archives of Australia.
e looks betrayed and sad; and slightly defiant. Wouldn't we all. Shame on us. 

It was a time many Australians Anglicised their Germanic surnames, or took new English names, to remain safe - although a law was soon made to stop this. A lot of places here had their names changed too; Blenheim became Collinsvale etc, many such changes.

What happened to Wolfgang after the war is a mystery; will update if found (info very welcome). Probably deported to Germany along with 95% of the men interred at Holsworthy. Only a handful had wives and children with them when deported, most never saw their family again. 

There are no more mentions of him in the news. He disappears. He was a good Aussie battler and he got our horses to some of the best studs in Europe. He sent at least two thousand horses away. Wolfgang worked hard and tried whatever he could to make a living, and at heart he was a horseman. He was as game as Ned and would get on anything, and an accomplished rider, especially over jumps. He was a good community man and family man. Everyone loved and admired a horseman. What happened to his family? A mystery.

In 1999 our Governor-General apologised to these people. We lost good people, ruined lives, for nothing. Hopefully Wolfgang found work and a home back in Germany, and his little Australian family were ok.

T.D. Scott

Scott took almost exclusively racehorses - Thoroughbreds - to India. Included here as he had so many high profile clients that also bought other horses from us - Scott opening up several sales for other traders. He also dealt personally with other Australian traders, at times in a brief informal partnership, such as ownership of a racehorse, both sides always keeping their word. He raced horses himself, in Australia and India - his clients were among the richest in India, being the richest in the world. It's said in money terms he was among the very top traders, if not the top. Viceroy Cup winners were among those he sold, and he also won top money in Indian racing.

Juwan Singh

 sometimes spelled Jewan, lived on his own farm near Blanchetown, upper Murray, South Australia, was a regular buyer of horses at Kapunda, for use and for breeding within Australia. He bred, bought and sold good horses being famous for good draughts. These were often used to breed artillery horses. He won first prize at the Swan Reach Show in 1913 with a draught entire, possibly the same one he sold later that year for an astounding 130 guineas, named Clan Macarthur. He bred good work and artillery horses. He is the sort of breeder and trader who provided good artillery horses for traders and supported other breeders.

Jewan, Bhagat, and Sidara Singh had a horse auction in May 1910 at Loxton, and sold 70 of their own horses at very good prices, Coles were the auctioneers; and another there in 1912. At Waikerie (Murray River) in 1911 he sold 40 heavy draughts at auction, in 1908 he sold a lot of horses at Moorook, Murray River, at auction. He bought 101 horses at the 1909 Kapunda sale. There were several other big sales and purchases and at all sales Juwan's hrose were praised for being in tip-top condition.

In 1917 Juwan enlisted in the Light Horse, and sold all his horses and horse equipment at a large unreserved auction on his farm at Nott's Well. He obviously returned safely and got a horse and cart, for in 1919 he met an accident when a horse startled and took off as he was altering the cart seat, a wheel went over his head. He was unconscious for some hours. In 1920, Singh sold his Nott's Well property of over 4,302 acres. In 1923 he sold a lot of jewellery and clothing, to the value of 500 pounds, and left Australia to retire in India. 

at Kidman's famous Kapunda horse sales in South Australia, 1918. Juwan Singh, noted horse buyer from Blanchetown on the right. The other is Kidman, who was 6 feet tall, so Singh was a good height.
Library of South Australia photo.

Curtis Skene 
Dealt in polo ponies to India, and trained them - discussed under 'polo' near top of page. He also shipped Walers to Malaya, Abyssinia and Siam after WW2. They were sourced throughout NSW, some from Scone area. He invariably chose lighter breedy types (a lot of TB and pure TB's).

Thomas Sleddon

Another early W.A. exporter of horses, based in Fremantle. Thomas owned ships and sold goods ranging from rice and sugar to Chinese and Indian furniture and 'curiosities.' He started including a few horses in his trips to Singapore and India, and built up to often send 20 at a time. 

He met with great misfortune when his 3 masted barque Mary Queen of Scots called at Port Gregory - on the W.A. coast north of Geraldton - to unload stores and take on lead, en route to Singapore in 1855, with 12 horses on board and many people (passengers, prisoners, ticket of leave men, grooms, crew). The harbour was unsafe, as weather blew in other ships left but her Captain thought she was anchored securely. There was also a strong current. She dragged anchors and hit a sandbank near the beach in immense swell and breakers, and broke her back,  springing severe leaks and rolling madly in the surf. It was too dangerous to get off. 

They hoisted the 12 horses from the hold by slings and put them overboard to swim for it - 11 made it to shore with immense difficulty. 

Captain Henry Sanford, stationed onshore in a govt. job, bravely swum out to the ship and was hauled on board by a line thrown to him as he was about to sink; another seaman from shore swam out with a line to a whaleboat on the beach. They helped save all the people on board. When the whaleboat was smashed on the beach by surf, a raft was built on board; Sleddon, the Captain, first officer and Sanford being the last to leave. 

Sleddon said the port needed buoys (safe moorings) to keep tall ships safe and should not be considered a safe port, government listings of such were misleading. An inquiry said the Captain had anchored in an unsafe place. Sleddon salvaged a little cargo and sold it, the 11 horses were found, but he was under-insured and lost heavily.

Sleddon sent horses away in 1855, 1856, 1857, 1862 (2 trips, one in the York and one in the Mary Harrison) and 1864 (probably many other times, listing as sighted). In 1856 he was thrown off a young horse and was knocked out for some time, but recovered. Yet to discover if he stayed in W.A. - he seems to completely disappear after 1856.  Messrs Sleddon left for London in 1869 in the Zephyr. It may have been he was one of them. 

Thomas Richard Smith
born 1843 Mount Druitt, died 1818. An early exporter, he travelled over to NZ for his father with their annual order of 100 cattle, 100 fillies and 1,000 sheep. Thomas was in charge of the horses on the farm and also sent out to buy them. He held various job, including being a carrier with 4 ten horse teams;prospered, returned to selling horses for a time as he enjoyed it so much, handing over his business to George Kiss.

Bill (Wilhelm August) Steinwedel

Breeder of horses. Steinwedel lived at Balaclava, South Australia. He bought and sold draughts and light types and bred for the working horse market, creating his own type that bred on. His draughts sold well. He was born in Australia, there was a brother H. Steinwedel and several sisters. His father immigrated from Germany, arriving 1852, becoming a well known wheat farmer in the days of horse power. He developed the Steinwedel strain of wheat which became the most widely grown in S.A.

Photo: The News (Adelaide), July 1949.

Bill held his own annual sale at Balaclava and bought at Kapunda when he wanted new blood; he also sold at Kapunda, Kadina and Riverton. In his late years he went into secondhand farming machinery and equipment. There were several family members, all involved with horse breeding, working horses, showing and racing in South Australia.  F. Steinwedel was with the 9th Light Horse in WW1. 

He showed horses and also wrote for the papers about agricultural matters including horse care. Although he doesn't appear to send any overseas, he's a good example of those supplying good horses for the traders with export licences, over a long time, and keeping standards up by showing as well as working his horses. He supplied a good 300 heavy horses a year to the market. When he died in 1952, there were thousands of out-moded wagons and horse farm items on his property. His wife Mary had pre-deceased him.

Henry P. Van Renan

of Bamganie, Victoria. Started early in the trade and was in full swing by the 1880's. Showed horses at Melbourne Royal etc. Often referred to by other traders as one of the first big men in the game. Early on he worked with Cavanagh. Bought horses to precise military orders and would charter ships to meet troops at Aden, Bombay, wherever needed. 

Imported several top Clydesdales e.g. 4 stallions in 1878. Bred and bought horses to send to India, Dutch East Indies etc. Consistent trader over several decades. For a short while he got out of the horse trade, but big financial losses in his other ventures saw him return to full time horse trading ny 1896.

W. Woods

Woods of Toowoomba was one of the last traders, trading well after the trade seemed over. He was an experienced horseman and judged at shows, for example at Warwick in 1928. He sent a big load to India in 1927, mostly from western Queensland, which he championed. He went to the Toowoomba sales every year, and most others throughout Qld. In 1935 he bought at the Longreach sales. In 1934 he bought a lot for India, acting as agent for some for trader Dick McKenna of Melbourne. Lots of other loads. Woods often bought for other traders. 

In 1927 Woods bought horse that had raced on the Darling Downs as a hack, named M.H. He was going to sell it to India but got a good offer and sold it locally (Toowoomba). Soon after, a horse named Shipper was winning races at Longreach. The Longreach Jockey's Club made strenuous enquiries trying to find out if Shipper was previously M.H. The affair remained a mystery, but the name 'Shipper' is intriguing and it was not allowed to race as a novice, M.H. having won far too many races!

Before the second world war he had a good trade to India and elsewhere. After, things drastically changed. He supplied racehorses where wanted, for example to Hong Kong, but chiefly Walers - remounts to India (1949 from the Nebo district), and hacks and ponies for sports clubs to Hong Kong in 1948, 49, 50 and 51. In 1951 he had to cancel an order for 200 horses to Siam as no ship could be found to carry them. It may have been he was getting old, as other shippers usually found ships to take horses, even in those later days. Times had changed and it was harder for some old hands to adjust.

He attended sales at Rockhampton, Chartres Towers, Longreach, Toowoomba and all over Queensland and said in several interviews he was worried horse breeding standards would drop as so many good horses were going for slaughter - he was always competing with slaughtermen at sales in those times. Horses were dirt cheap and Europe was starving after the war. The meat trade was huge, sending up to 1,000 tons of horsemeat from Queensland weekly to the UK and Europe. Many other horses were killed for pig and dog food. The inglorious end of a great trade.

Before the war he got horses in Springsure, Nebo, Clermont and Chartres Towers districts. After WW2 he had trouble filling orders as most had gone to slaughter. There had been 8 lean years for horse trading - commerical trade petered out during the war years, and for 3 years after he couldn't find a ship with free space to carry horses, as commerical trading resumed and ships were always full.

In 1952 he couldn't fill all of an order for New Guinea for riding and pack horses, and had to get draughts from NSW - Queensland draughts had been sent to slaughter due to mechanisation. Horses could no longer be loaded at some places, horse yards and ramps pulled down at the docks - he had to take them to Pinkenba or Gladstone.

So people still wanted horses although not as many as before - but breeders had turned to other things like cattle, ships too. Woods was one of the last to send our horses away, a good advocate for the trade and persistant in trying to keep it going. 

Albert Lodden Yuille
Became Keeper of the Studbook (Thoroughbreds). He created a system of closely inspecting all horses being exported. This did a lot to improve the trade to India of racehorses, as Australia's reputation had been diminished in the early twentieth century with some horses exported to India being suspect either by identity or by soundness.

The Yuilles were closely connected with racing. They had a horse bazaar for time, and set up a Thoroughbed sale which became a benchmark racing industry. 

William Yuille started the ASB. A. Lodden was his grandson. Not horse traders overseas so much as middle men and TB men. To them we owe the recording of so many of our early horses.


Tattersalls Horse Bazaar
Melbourne circa 1853. Lithograph by S.T.Gill.

Around Australia horse bazaars were famous landmarks. Dozens in each city. At least one in each country town. Horses were an important part of fashion. 

People liked to be seen at the bazaars - coffee shops, tea rooms, bars, boxing saloons, harness makers, carriage builders, blacksmiths, vets, livery stables, riding apparel shops, horse breakers - peripheral horse businesses were part of the bazaars.

The place to parade your driving skills and horses. Horses could be baited (fed and watered) - a handy service for those from afar.

Importantly, auctions were held regularly and horse buyers for the overseas trade were big bidders. Among the most famous were Kiss' in Sydney, Kirks in Melbourne, John Bulls in Adelaide and the Sovereign in Brisbane. Many people visiting from overseas went straight from ship to Kirks, it was so famous.

The biggest Horse Bazaar in the world in 1905 was Cook and Co. in India, managed by surgeon Dr. Adams. Australian horses were popular there.
'A Sketch at Kirk's Bazaar.'
Melbourne. Wood engraving by Alfred Martin Ebsworth, 1889.
Best coaching and harness horses in the world
at a time a man was judged on his 'cattle' and driving skills, and coachmen were revered - and young bloods everywhere tried to emulate the 'four-in-hand club' exquisites of London - Walers were the best.
Painting: "Huon Road in summer" (Tasmania) 1886. source
- Railways having superseded the coaching system in England, and most of the "whips" having, per necessity, adopted other methods of keeping the "wolf from the door," the well-regulated stage coach with its blood team, bright harness, together with the spruce coachman, and active well-dressed guard have vanished from the road-yet, what would some of the "ould hands," the drivers of the Shrewsbury Wonder, the Exeter Mail, the far-famed Quicksilver, and the celebrated crack whip of the Brighton Criterion, Sir Vincent Cotton, say, if they knew the speed of the Van Diemen's Land coaching, Mrs Cox's day coach doing the distance of 120 miles be tween the extreme capitals, Hobart Town and Launceston, daily, in ten hours and a half, the coach leaving Hobart Town at five o'clock in the morning, and arriving at the latter place at half-past three o'clock in the afternoon. Compare this with 150 miles as done by the Shrewsbury Wonder in 15 hours, with every advantage, all the teams consisting of the primest cattle (over beautifully macadamized roads) being changed every six miles, only one minute allowed by the proprietors for that operation, the average speed, while the wheels were turning. being ten miles and a-half per hour. Contrast this with the Van Diemen's Land coach in question, the time occupied in changing, the execrable fourteen miles of bad road, over Salt Pan Plains (a disgrace to the authorities who have the power, but lack the will to improve, not only that portion, but the line of road generally) and the superiority in point of speed, will be decidedly in favor of the Australian coach-for against all, and every disadvantage, its average speed while running exceeds twelve miles per hour; this speaks for the stamina, strength, speed, and lasting powers of our horses, or, as Mr Charles Apperley emphatically terms them, the "Walers."
Geelong Advertiser, November 1849.
"The Eagle Troop team consisted of three pairs of Australian horses of the light draught variety. There were three riders on the near (lefthand) side horses. If needful they were like the hammers of hell and a section of guns at full stretch was a magnificent sight. On one occasion the guns were coming into action at full gallop over an open piece of country. Suddenly a five foot ditch appeared in their path. They didn't pause. The lead drivers cracked their whips, and both teams surged towards the obstacle. There was no hesitation. Every pair of horses rose as one and sailed over the abyss, the guns and limbers bouncing high in the air as they hit the lip of the far bank. For co-ordination of man and beast, for sheer symmetry of motion, it is a memory to be treasured."
Francis Ingall, in his book The Last of the Bengal Lancers. 
Royal Horse Artillery 'N' Battery are Eagle Troop.



Waler Data Base ... website documenting the breed today, oodles of info -  plenty of photos - woohoo! :😊

Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788-1900) and the Serpent's Legacy. Keith Binney. Volcanic productions 2005. Must have. Brilliant.

Modern Pig Sticking. (book) by Major Wardrop, pub. 1914.

The Last of the Bengal Lancers, by Francis Ingall. Published 1988 by Leo Cooper Ltd. Top read.

The Life of Sir Halliday Macartney, by Demetrius Charles Boulger. First pub 1908, reprinted by Cambridge Uni Press. Fabulous read about the Boxer Rebellion. Macartney commanded Li Hung Chang's forces.

The Battlers of Butcher's Hill. Lennie Wallace, published 2012 Central Queensland University Press - recommended for those interested in the Qld trade.

Audio - ABC radio interview by Richard Fidler with myself and Ros Sexton about Walers,

The Waler - film, great doco.

Thoroughbred Heritage - excellent source for discovering what got into the early TB studbooks - ponies, Arabs, Galloways, Persians, etc

Page from the book Letters of Marque 
by Rudyard Kipling
published 1899.


Caveat Emptor... Once the market stopped, commercial breeding stopped. The Waler cannot be recreated - it's a breed. 

Crossing modern breeds doesn't work, they're different horses to the old days. They don't work for a living, and some founding breeds are extinct or not about, there's no roadster, coacher, Timor (almost wiped out), old Shire, Chile horse etc - the wealth of genes in true Waler genesis. 

DNA is crucial when buying a rare breedScientific paper on Waler breed DNA testing


© Janet Lane 2015. The images aren't mine; haven't used any that are copyrighted to the best of my knowledge."Apricot" is me, Janet Lane - started the blogs for poetry, under the pseudonym of Apricot, can't work out how to change it. Thanks for dropping by!

pleeeeeeease pretty please

Buy me a coffee you good thing you :)