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Horse heritage from our streets

A post topped with a carved horse head. A ring hangs from the horse's chin. - click to view larger image
Hitching post, before 1900

Hitching posts were commonplace in the main streets of cities and larger towns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

They provided places for private and commercial drivers to secure horses while conducting business.

Horses were often fed while waiting in the street, with city authorities eventually mandating, in an effort to control the mess, that horses in the street could only be fed from nosebags.

By the early 1950s, the number of horses in Australian cities had plummeted, falling, for example, from 20,000 to 500 in Melbourne in 50 years.

Electricity and the combustion engine rapidly replaced horsepower in transportation and construction, although horses continued on delivering goods in suburban areas for several decades.

Much of the horse infrastructure, however, remained in place, and hitching posts, tether rings, watering troughs, remnant stables, street names and buildings with signage connected to equine trades and activities are just some of the horse heritage that can still be found in Australian cities.

Explore more Spirited: Australia's Horse Story

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