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At the farm

Spirited: Australia's Horse Story

At the farm

Postcard, 'Disc Ploughs, Scene in Australia' about 1924.
'Disc Ploughs, Scene in Australia' postcard, about 1924. National Museum of Australia.

In the early decades of European settlement, farmers relied on people working with hand tools to plant, harvest and process crops. Horses and bullocks were in short supply, as was equipment for them to pull.

Then, from the 1830s, draught horses and lighter workhorses became increasingly available and equine muscle became the key form of power on Australian farms.

For more than a century, horses coupled to an expanding range of machines worked the land, helping to drive agricultural expansion, defining farm life and reshaping the land.

Explore some of the stories and objects

Spirited: Australia's horse story
McCormick advertising sign

Tin sign promoting horsedrawn farm equipment.
A chaffcuttter
Chaffcutter

Harrison McGregor & Co model used to turn hay into chaff.
Spirited: Australia's horse story
Cowey family photographs

Life, work and leisure on a farm in Victoria in the early 1900s.