In a new country
Horses arrived in Australia in January 1788 with the first British colonists, who had purchased at least seven light riding types at Cape Town, en route to Sydney.
For several decades, horses remained scarce and highly valuable. By the 1830s, however, Australia’s herd was growing steadily, as settlers imported mixed-breed horses from India and the Cape, and Thoroughbreds, Clydesdales and Arabians from England.
Explorers began using horses to traverse and chart inland Australia, and from the 1850s thousands of hopeful miners relied on horses to carry them to the booming goldfields.
Explore some of the stories and objects
Scrimshaw powder horn
An 1836 horn engraving depicting kangaroo hunting.
John McDouall Stuart's watch
Presented to the explorer in 1859.
Wire horse hobbles
Found at the site of Tommy Ah Toy’s goldfields market garden.