You are in site section: Online features

Homemade packsaddle

Homemade packsaddle

An A-framed wooden packsaddle with
Packsaddle made by Charles Carter, 1930s. Attached to the saddle are items including a stirrup, enamelled mug, tins and tools. Donated by John Swain. National Museum of Australia. Photo: George Serras.
Postcard title 'Australian Series: Bringing in a brumby'.
Postcard titled 'Australian Series: Bringing in a brumby', around 1910. National Museum of Australia.

The advent of brumbies

As pastoralists moved on to new stations in inland Australia, horses escaped, became lost or were abandoned. Their descendants formed herds of brumbies, or feral horses.

Today there are around 400,000 brumbies across the continent. The majority live in central Australia and around 10–20,000 live in the High Country, the alpine regions of New South Wales and Victoria, where they have long been regarded as a significant part of the local culture and economy.

Charles Carter's saddle

Born in Melbourne in 1872, Charles Carter moved to the Snowy Mountains in 1898, and led a solitary, self-sufficient life trapping brumbies and mining small deposits of gold and tin.

Carter used the brumbies for transport, as a source of income and probably for food. Once a month he rode into Jindabyne with a packhorse carrying this saddle to get supplies and publish his thoughts on spirituality, medicine and politics.

Carter occupied the Tin Mine Huts on Ingeegoodbee River from 1933 until his death in 1952.


People and the Environment

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.