A bush rider's Olympic story
Neale Lavis is one of Australia's greatest equestrians. In 2013 as the National Museum started work on the Horses in Australia project, I learned from my farrier that he also shod horses owned by Neale, one of Australia's 1960 Rome Olympics three-day event champions. Now in his 80s, Neale was still breeding, riding and training horses at his Braidwood property. I was told that he was ‘one of the best blokes’ I was ever likely to meet, and a legendary Australian horseman. This film tells Neale's story.
This website features more of Neale’s story, told with the help of many of his beautiful photographs, including the biographical album presented by his family on his 80th birthday in 2010:
- A love of horses
- The road to Rome
- Victory in Rome
- After Rome
- Medals and mementos
- Filming Neale's story
The National Museum thanks Neale and Velma Lavis for their generosity and hospitality. All photos on this site are courtesy of Neale Lavis unless otherwise stated.
The Horse in Australia, Fiona Carruthers, Random House, North Sydney, 2008.
Trailblazers: Australia’s First Olympic Equestrians, Wyatt (Bunty) Thompson with Petronella McGovern, Rosenberg Publishing, Dural, 2008.
Our Solo: Bill Roycroft’s Gold Medal Horse, Joan Palmer, Maryborough, 1982.
This online feature is written by Carol Cooper, Senior Curatorial Fellow, National Museum of Australia. Horses in Australia is part of the National Museum's People and the Environment program. Discover more stories about people's relationships with Australia's natural and built environments on our People and the Environment website.