The Yarrangobilly Campground is at the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park. The park is better known as the venture playground for Winter sports enthusiasts and hikers, it also hosts campers at ‘primitive’ campgrounds.

Primitive means few if any facilities but there were long drop toilets. Campsites are not marked but campers tend to find a site by the provided fire pits. Primitive also means no lights other than those cast by camp fires making the night skies so intense you feel you could touch the stars. Fireside away from life’s hustle under a natural canopy of fairy lights – its the best place to be.

Tootsie warming in the fire’s glow

Set in woodlands, we camped beside the Yarrangobilly River and stoked the fire with the last of the wood we’d carted half-way around the country. There aren’t many campsites that permit fires and those that do provide fire-pits.

Cotterill’s Cottage, Yarrangobilly Village – the original homestead built 1898

Kosciuszko has been at the centre of a long-argued debate between ecologists and those who advocate for Australian wild horses, known as Brumbies, who inhabit the national park. Brumby is an Aboriginal word meaning wild horse.

Ecologists have called for a 90% cull of the animals who are said to cause irreparable damage to natural vegetation and are a pest. Then there are those who defend the animals citing them as being a national icon.

A group of three Brumbies and a foal grazing the area around the campground

A third group has emerged recommending mustering Brumbies to retrain them for useful purposes. It is an emotive topic that rarely makes the general news but has simmered in the background for years. Emotions run high when animals are shot from helicopters and left to rot on the grasslands. It doesn’t seem humane.

In 2018 the New South Wales Brumby Bill overturned a previous 90% cull agreement. In essence the state government has back-flipped and has come to regard Brumbies as animals of national significance. I daresay the debate will continue. In the meantime visitors to the area enjoy seeing horses in the natural environment.

The last word goes to Banjo Paterson (Australian Poet) who immortalised wild horses – and those who would tame them – in his poem Brumby Run.

It lies beyond the Western Pines 
Towards the sinking sun, 
And not a survey mark defines 
The bounds of “Brumby’s Run”.

On odds and ends of mountain land, 
On tracks of range and rock 
Where no one else can make a stand, 
Old Brumby rears his stock.

A wild, unhandled lot they are 
Of every shape and breed. 
They venture out ‘neath moon and star 
Along the flats to feed;

But when the dawn makes pink the sky 
And steals along the plain, 
The Brumby horses turn and fly 
Towards the hills again.

The traveller by the mountain-track 
May hear their hoof-beats pass, 
And catch a glimpse of brown and black 
Dim shadows on the grass.

The eager stockhorse pricks his ears 
And lifts his head on high 
In wild excitement when he hears 
The Brumby mob go by.

Old Brumby asks no price or fee 
O’er all his wide domains: 
The man who yards his stock is free 
To keep them for his pains.

So, off to scour the mountain-side 
With eager eyes aglow, 
To strongholds where the wild mobs hide 
The gully-rakers go.

A rush of horses through the trees, 
A red shirt making play; 
A sound of stockwhips on the breeze, 
They vanish far away!

Ah, me! before our day is done 
We long with bitter pain 
To ride once more on Brumby’s Run 
And yard his mob again.

A.B. Banjo Paterson


Day Twenty-five of the 2019 A-Z Challenge in which I am participating during the month of April. The challenge is to post six days a week, Sunday respite or catching up with other participants and their posts. Each of the twenty-six days represents a letter of the alphabet and while each post stands alone they form part of a loose theme reflecting our retirement trip around Australia. Today our posts are relevant to the letter Y.

4 thoughts on “Yarrangobilly

    • Haha, you’re right it gets more difficult with age and we’re realising the next big road trip may be our last. We’ll do shorter trips and enjoy the comforts of caravan parks. Linda


  1. Ah, the fire pit and the camp under a canopy of stars! Love your description of the “primitive” campground. Yarrangobilly–you Australians have plenty of names for every letter of the alphabet and then some!
    The Brumby debate was interesting to read about. There are similar debates here, which get quite bitter, about wolves and other wild animals in the National Parks.
    Banjo Patterson wrote “Waltzing Matilda”, didn’t he? That’s the only poem by him that I knew, so it was fun to read another one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Camp fires make camping what it is. Sadly not everywhere permits them especially during warmer months when the fire danger is high, which is about 9 months of the year. The Brumby debate was new to me but fun to research as we were in that part of the country and yes Banjo did write Waltzing Matilda. Linda x


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