During my lifetime I have read many books on the activities of the various breeds of the horse, but none before this volume has captured so many `split seconds’ in the life of an equine as are to be found in what must surely become a collector’s item.
In the spread outwards from Sydney town in 1789, along the trails with the early explorers from east to west, from north to south, through deserts and steamy rainforests, through snowfields and along sandy beaches, the horse has played a vital role in the development of our land.
In those early days of colonisation it was the horse that played the vital role in transport and in communication that made our commerce possible at a time when railways, motor lorries, telegraph, wireless were unknown.
Today there are some 1,200,000 horses in Australia, providing – through their need for food, shelter and maintenance – much needed employment for many thousands of Australians, particularly the young. Today Australia has Pony Clubs with over 82,000 members who enjoy clean and healthy exercise in the open, so essential for the well-being of our future generations.
Today, after 120 years and just as our forebears did, we still gather to recall and enjoy the greatest occasion in our folklore – `The Melbourne Cup Carnival’. There we recall the myths and truisms of our country’s past, recalling and recreating for future generations the story of how the horse has developed in Australia’s history. Some say the days of the thoroughbred are numbered; it will be a sorry day should this be true.
In conclusion, I congratulate the photographer and the author for producing not only an outstanding contribution to our bicentenary celebrations, but for a tribute to the noble animal that has served Australia so well.