Brumby Heritage

Brumbies are an integral part of Australia’s social history and hold important cultural and heritage value: 

Each Brumby population area across Australia and overseas is unique in that they can be traced back to their original founding stock through social history and genetics, and have evolved and adapted to the seasonal extremes of the locations where they are found.    

  • The ancestors of today’s Brumbies arrived with the First Fleets to Australia and were valued as an essential and versatile work horse. 
  • Ancestors of the modern-day Brumbies served during the Boer War and the two World Wars.  
  • Brumbies have become iconic to Australia, for example, the naming of rugby teams, army units, on paper currency and of course the film The Man From Snowy River which celebrated the heritage of Brumbies in Australia.  They also featured at the opening of the Sydney Olympics viewed by people from all over the world. 
  • Brumbies bring tourists to each area they are found with many local horse and adventure trail operators dependent on Brumbies remaining in the wild. 
  • The Australia ICOMOS 2013 Burra Charter explains that cultural significance enriches people’s lives, providing a deep, inspirational sense of connection to community and landscape, and to past lived experiences.  Cultural significance embodies expressions of identity and experience, reflects the diversity of communities, tells us about who we are, the past that formed us, our landscape and that they are irreplaceable and precious. 

Wild Horses represent living heritage values but tragically, they face mounting pressure to be removed from many parts of Australia, and in Victoria they face imminent, complete extinction. 

This must not happen. The following information will help inform the general public, and in turn the government, environmentalists and park managers, of WHY it is vital to retain Wild Horse populations in sustainable numbers for future generations to see and value.


Australian Alpine National Park

Guy Fawkes River National Park

Report of the Heritage Working Party on the Horses of the Guy Fawkes River National Park, 2002 – Vol 1 Final Report

Report of the Heritage Working Party on the Horses of the Guy Fawkes River National Park, 2002 – Vol 2 – Background Information including genetics

Kosciuszko National Park

National Cultural Heritage Values Assessment & Conflicting Values Report
The wild horse population Kosciuszko National Park December 2015

Kiandra Greys – Short history of High Plains Wild Horses from Kiandra to Peppercorn by Ted Taylor PDF

The Ngarigo, Djiringanj and the Brumby By David Dixon 
“The word’s been passed around about the Men from Snowy River Their story wasn’t forgotten and not allowed to wither
For a wise and strong Bugeenj woman who listened to her Elders Nurtured the seed of future story tellers.” – David Dixon

Barmah National Park Timeline & Activities
Horses were amongst animals imported by the colonists. The first horses to pass through the Barmah area were most likely those which belonged to the pastoralists in the 1840s, such as Edward Curr who came to the Barmah Forest looking for summer grasses for their sheep.

The following documents were initiated by the ABA and have been substantially updated by the Barmah Brumby Hay Angels.

Assessment of the Cultural Heritage Values of the Australian Alps National Parks
The Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) has commissioned research and preliminary assessment of the non-Indigenous, or historic, cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks. This will form part of a wider assessment of National Heritage List (NHL) values associated with this suite of protected areas that spans the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria.

Brumby Founding Stock

This document has been created with help from ABA supporters conducting interviews with people whose ancestors worked the Victorian Alps, information gleaned from literature on the history of the Victorian Alps and online archives.

The key purpose of this document is to illustrate the heritage attributes of the Bogong High Plains and Victorian Eastern Alpine region Brumbies.This document is a living document, and will continue to grow as our knowledge expands and we learn more from relevant key sources with deeper local knowledge and heritage skills.

The ABA encourages anyone with oral history, family records or other relevant information in relation to the Brumbies of the Eastern Alps and Bogong High Plains to contact us. This ABA document will be used to begin the process that can inform future work to secure the retention of sustainable Victorian Alpine Wild Horse populations.

Mountain Cattlemen Association Victoria (MCAV)

Mountain Cattlemen are angry with the Government’s announcement to exterminate every Brumby from the Bogong High Plains.

“The Bogong High Plains are vast and iconic.  The small mob of Brumbies that run on the Plains (estimated less than 100) cause minimal impact to that vast area but are a significant part of the heritage that makes the Plains so special to visitors”, Graeme Stoney, President of the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV) said today.

Read Press Release showing MCAV support for Brumbies


Thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Geography University of Melbourne, 1980. This thesis considers aspects of the historical and political geography of high country grazing in Victoria, and includes how original settler horse breeding links directly to the Bogong High Plains and Eastern Alps Brumby populations today.

Download Peter Cabena thesis from High Country History Club

The Burra Charter

The Charter sets a standard of practice for those who provide advice, make decisions about, or undertake works to places of cultural significance, including owners, managers and custodians.

The Charter can be applied to all types of places of cultural significance including natural, Indigenous and historic places with cultural values. Co-existence of cultural values should always be recognised, respected and encouraged. This is especially important in cases where they conflict. See Article 13. Co-existence of cultural values.

Heritage Brumby Gallery

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