Letters

The brumbies

Ed,
Congratulations to Danielle Bilson on her prize winning painting of the last of the brumbies (CVI 12/7/17).
There is much folklore around the origin of the coastal brumbies and much of it is just that..folklore. I would like to add a little extra speculation and, of course it is just that …speculation.
On the 8/12/1886 just off North Solitary Island the 784 ton steam ship ‘Kielawarra’ collided with a smaller steamer the ‘Helen Nicol’ which had just left the Clarence and sank in seven minutes. Over forty people lost their lives and a maritime inquiry followed. Much of the ‘Helen Nicol’s cargo including several seasons of small landholders’ sugar production, was jettisoned and she finally limped on with survivors.
On the Kielawarra were two racehorses bound for Rockhampton. The story goes that while one drowned the other fought its way shoreward, made the beach and set off into the bush. You can see what’s coming can’t you?
I remember a conversation from a very long time ago in which a wise local horseman, Austy Ryan offered an opinion that the local brumbies showed thoroughbred qualities which surprised him.
Is it drawing too long a bow to suggest that one of Wildfire’s progenitors may have been a Kielawarra escapee and survivor?
Gus Plater,
Brooms Head

 

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