Posted May 05, 2017
Camping in Goldsborough Valley, Wooroonooran National Park
The Goldsborough Valley camping area is located on the banks of the Mulgrave River and is surrounded by rainforest.
Camping permits are required and fees apply.
A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
This is an e-permit camping area—all camping must be booked in advance; self-registration is no longer available.
Camping is only permitted in the camping area/camp site(s) you have booked.
There’s nothing more magical than a brumby stallion and his mob galloping across the landscape. A snorting stallion trotting back and forth around his mares is a real treat to the eye. And to be able to experience this sight virtually in your own backyard is quite amazing.
No, you don’t need to go to the Australian Alps or the Northern Territory. From Gordonvale, drive about 7km to the Goldsborough turn-off at Peet’s Bridge then another 7km to the next bridge called Fisheries Crossing.
Just after Fisheries you will nd evidence of the different brumby mobs. Piles of manure from the stallions marking their territory are scattered on the road between Fisheries and the next bridge, Goldsborough Bridge, also known as Stallion Pocket Bridge and in more recent times as Arnold’s Bridge. The Goldsborough brumbies roam between the Fisheries, the bottom of the Gillies Range, the Bluff and Toohey’s Creek.
Currently there are at least three mobs between the two bridges with bay, chestnut and skewbald horses in them. The skewbald mob is the largest and the most skittish, with a very protective stallion. The brown and white colours of the skewbald mob stand out against the forested background making them more visible.
This stallion’s desire to be free is strong and his drive to protect the mares and foals means they are constantly on the move.
Interesting recollections of locals from fty or sixty years ago riding with well-respected horseman at the time, Mookie Trevor highlight how times have changed. Austin Trevor, Graham Stroud, Rusty Williams, Ralph and Eric Baker have described how they would go to the movies at Nelson Theatre on a Friday night and tie their horses on a g tree in Norman Park, then ride three hours to camp at Goldsborough.
In those days there were taffy, roan, bay and chestnut coloured horses. The stallion of the roan mob was called Roan Bull and he was ercely protective of his mob, snorting and whistling, biting the rump of his mares and foals moving them to safety. Swimmers at Fisheries Crossing were more than startled to see Roan Bull gallop up over the bonnet, roof and boot of their Falcon car and away leaving hoof prints in the bodywork.
Using yards and snares, Mookie Trevor and his crew would spend their weekends trying to catch the brumbies. Sometimes, they got the brumbies into the yards and the brumbies just jumped out. Many a Goldsborough brumby was broken in and used by the boys at the Gordonvale Pony Club. Horsemen riding mares in season would occasionally be followed home to Gordonvale by lone stallions. Following the mare straight into the yards, these brumby stallions were easily captured. Brumbies are known for being incredibly faithful and a strong connection can develop between horse and rider.
Brumbies being sure-footed, versatile and intelligent, suited the speed and agility of pony club events. Fond memories of Mookie’s chestnut brumby, Snip are still shared between those men. Rusty Williams who broke in Snip, feels he was the best horse he ever rode. Snip was used by the Clerk of the Course on Gordonvale Race Day. The origin of the Goldsborough brumbies is not certain. J. Scanlan in a Cairns Historical Society Bulletin (July, 1969) states that his people owned the Goldsborough property (1918-1923) with the Goldsborough homestead being located close to the river near the third crossing. His family introduced a horse from Brisbane and a pony from Sydney to improve their own stock on the property, with many of these horses being used as cab horses and van horses in Cairns. J.Scanlan writes, ‘My people used the Goldsborough property also to turn out fty or more horses they used on their White Rock farm during the off season on the farm’. The next owner was a horse dealer Apps, who sold the property to Jack Trevor. Jack Trevor was Mookie’s father. Trevor’s also introduced new stock.
Mr Kearney (Carney) owned the adjoining grazing property beyond Butcher’s Creek and was a keen horse breeder. Kearney’s Flats was named after him. It is possible that some of the brumbies originated from these horses and also the horses left over from mining days when they were used to haul dray loads of quartz with gold along with mining machinery and supplies for the miners.
New stock has been introduced since 50 or 60 years ago as the skewbald brumbies were not in existence way back then. Eric Charlton leased Kearney’s Flats for a number of years. His mares would breed with the taffy brumby stallion there at the time and Eric would break in the offspring using them for polocrosse, mustering, endurance riding and general riding. If you are keen to observe a brumby, slip out to Goldsborough early one morning.
Photo Courtesy of Nick Wardrop