Army Horses in Queensland

A couple of articles published in the Northern Miner in mid-November 1914, concerned the breeding and purchasing of remounts for the A.I.F. As Light Horse units trained and departed, countless horses were required to accompany them onto ships and off to war.

On the 11th November, the Northern Miner published a long article which reported a recent deputation from the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies to the Minister for Agriculture, requesting that the Minister introduce legislation to prohibit any person from offering any stallion for public service unless it conformed to the Government standard of type and soundness. The QCAS also suggested that premiums should be granted to approved stallions standing for public use. The deputation was supported by Mr. Harry Baynes, a well known breeder and judge of horses, who contended that horses in Queensland were deteriorating in both size and quality, and felt it was difficult to secure the class of horse common 20 or 30 years previously. Other members of the deputation also contended that the use of inferior stallions was the cause of the deterioration. The author of the article felt that in North Queensland at least, the class of stallions used on most stations was very high, although he admitted there were 'many poor specimens of nondescripts to be seen about our goldfield, which could, with benefit, be gelded or done away with'.

The article suggested that 'with horses playing such an important part   in the European war, and the "wastage" assuming such gigantic proportions, horses are sure to command better prices in Australia'.  The author also pointed out that 'Australian authorities were slow in recognising the position or in pressing the advantages offered by Australia for the establishment of a huge Imperial remount breeding depot. We have country with remarkable low rentals, the stallions and mares and the men to control such a venture'. He suggested that Queensland Government should emulate the Canadian model, and encourage the establishment large holdings dedicated to the breeding of army horses. In the meantime, attention to subsidising high-class stallions would be a good start.

A second article, published 14th November, contained Charleville Notes, and provided news regarding the comings and goings of drovers and stock in Charleville in early November 1914:

Colonel King, who has been here all this week, has purchased some very fine horses for the Army, the animals had to be of the right height and age, otherwise there was no sale.

Several drovers who are camping here, waiting until the weather breaks, sold their horses, and got real good prices, some got as much as £18 per head, whilst one agent got as high as £25 for a charger. The storms of rain expected all the week, turned out to be storms of sand and, in consequence the graziers and housewives got much disappointed, as all the town tanks are about empty. The Western Workers' Union is now endeavouring to rise the female cooks wages up to £2 10s per week here, and barmaids up to £2 per week.  

Drovers are in large numbers here from all parts of the States, and never in the history of Charleville has there been such a large number of boss drovers out of work. Drovers William Easton and Tom Hackett has arrived here, and turning plant horses out on grass. Mr J. J. Keenan has arrived at Augathella with Alice Downs sheep.  

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