The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival

The Man from Snowy River Riley
Jack Riley – The Man from Snowy River ???
The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival
The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival

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The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival

is held annually in Corryong, Victoria in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains halfway between Melbourne and Sydney.

The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival was established in its current format in 1995, when promoter Jonathon King celebrated the centenary year of Banjo Paterson’s poem “The Man from Snowy River”. This was a celebration of bush folklore, skills and traditions based around the icon Jack Riley and all he represented. For historical information please refer to The Man from Snowy River Museum.

It is a unique bush gathering of mountain riders, poets, artists and lovers of the Australian High Country and pioneering spirit. Held every April, the Festival brings together people from around Australia as well as international visitors to celebrate traditional high country and bush culture and in particular the imagery created by AB Banjo Paterson’s and Australia’s most famous poem “The Man from Snowy River”.

The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival recreates the fun and excitement of a bush gathering where both new and old friends come together to have a yarn and a beer, to enjoy traditional bush tucker and, of course, kick up their heels.

The Festival offers contestant and visitor alike a unique opportunity to be part of the celebration of traditional Australian Bush skills that remain an essential part of Australia’s heritage.

The Man from Snowy River Challenge, Art and Photography Exhibition, Bush Poetry and Music The Re Enactment of Banjo’s famous poem, Aussie Bush Idol and Ute Muster have grown to be events listed on calendars all over Australia.

Riley’s Ride

Riley’s Ride 2013 & 2014 are fully Booked:  Next Ride avaiable is 2015.  A limited number of bookings for the 2015 Ride can be made at the 2014 Man From Snowy River Festival with the balance opening at a later date in 2014. This date will be announced at the 2014 festival.

Each year prior to the Festival, horse riders set out on a four day trail ride through breathtaking scenery which leant poetic inspiration to Banjo Paterson. Known as ‘Riley’s Ride’ the event is an essential element of the Bush Festival. It traces the last journey of legendary Upper Murray stockman Jack Riley who met Banjo Paterson in 1890 and is locally regarded as the inspiration for Paterson ‘s famous ballad, “The Man from Snowy River”.

Follow the footsteps of the Man from Snowy River, meet new friends and have a great time whilst enjoying the scenery of the magnificent Upper Murray.

The annual ride is held to commemorate Jack Riley’s life, and the part he played in the early days of this district, and also to laud the efforts of those who selflessly sought to rescue him under harsh and trying conditions. Jack and his meeting with Banjo, is reputed to be the inspiration which led to the penning of “The Man From Snowy River”, Banjo Paterson’s epic ballad. Riley’s Ride was instigated in 1989. The ride offers spectacular views and the chance to meet people from far and wide, who may come from many different walks of life but share a love of the Australian bush and deep respect for the pioneering families of the area. It is a challenging ride and a character building experience.

Please remember that the 4 day trail ride does cover mountainous terrain with several very steep climbs and descents. You and your horse should have a good level of fitness and be well prepared to limit the chance of injury. You will be travelling through remote and difficult to access, other than by horse or foot, areas. You must have current ambulance cover.

We travel on average about 30kms a day. You can expect to spend between 5 to 8 hours in the saddle each day. We break into groups of about 8 horses for most stages of the ride.

Waltzing Matilda …

Not sure if this is Western or not … I just found it darn interesting:

Paterson’s “Waltzing Matilda”
by Steve King

From Today in Literature:

On this day (Feb 17) in 1864 A. B. (“Banjo”) Paterson, the Australian bush poet who wrote “Waltzing Matilda,” was born in New South Wales. The story of the creation of Australia’s unofficial national anthem is an engaging one, a convergence of history, politics, biography, etymology and irony that unravels in all directions. In 1894 Paterson was a thirty year-old city lawyer with a distaste for both cities and the practice of law. He preferred horses, history and his outback home, and writing ballads about them. While on a visit with his fiance to Dagworth Station (large ranches, originally run by the government on convict labor) in Queensland, Paterson was taken with a nameless tune that he heard his hostess play on the piano from memory. Having decided to set words to it, Paterson immediately found his raw material in his host’s guided tour of the Station, which included a description of those events surrounding the eight-day Shearers’ Strike several months earlier. The “swagman [a drifter or itinerant sheep-shearer, carrying his swag or blanket-roll] camped by a billabong [waterhole]” was Samuel “Frenchy” Hoffmeister. He was a militant member of the Shearers’ Union, thought to have been the one responsible for burning down the Dagworth woolshed, killing 140 sheep. He was not relaxing “under the shade of a coolibah [eucalyptus] tree” but hiding out. If “he sang as he watched and waited ’til his billy [tin can of water] boiled,” it would have been very softly. When the swagman “stowed that jumbuck [sheep] in his tucker [food] bag” he was adding the fuel of poaching to the fire of political and class war. When “up rode the squatter [wealthy landowner], mounted on his thoroughbred,” backed by “the troopers, one, two, three,” it was a contest no swagman — least of all a militant unionist-arsonist-poacher — could win. When he suicidally “leapt into the billabong,” crying “You’ll never catch me alive,” it was the leap of a cornered, outback, underclass, convict-bred martyr, to the cry of ‘up yours, mate.’

“Frenchy” Hoffmeister, the historical swagman, shot rather than drowned himself, and was from German stock, as was the expression “waltzing Matilda.” Auf der walz means to ‘go on the tramp’ or hit the road, used in Germany to describe traveling workers or soldiers on the march; a Matilda came to mean those women who followed the soldiers, to ‘keep them warm.’ Eventually the soldier’s greatcoat or blanket was a Matilda. Thus Paterson’s swagman-hero was not only without justice, or food, or a way out, but a woman’s warmth. And the nameless tune that Paterson first heard at Dagworth Station and took for his swagman turned out to be a version of the “Craigielee March,” which was itself taken from a century-old Scottish air called “Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielee.” There may be older, less direct roots for the tune that Paterson made famous, but “Craigielee” was written by Robert Tannahill, a lonely, semi-cripple who would escape to the woods, and whose final relief was to kill himself by drowning.

waltzing matilda a b paterson 1

Dusters Down Under: Part 8: The Man from Snowy River: Part 2

The Man from Snowy River (1982): Part 2

The Man from Snowy River / Main Theme. Bruce Rowland composed the music for the film, and also conducted the orchestra during the recording of the album. The powerful, brilliant soundtrack drives the film

The Man from Snowy River banner

The Man from Snowy River tagline

The Man from Snowy River / Jessica’s Theme

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The Man from Snowy River posters

Notice anything about these posters? Kirk Douglas – among the greatest Western Film actors of all time, and who has an important and prominent role in the movie (two roles in fact!!) receives next to no Billing or on the posters. ????

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The Man from Snowy River review rotten tomatoes The Man from Snowy River review imdb

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The Man from Snowy River kirk douglas
Kirk Douglas … the one and only
The Man from Snowy River kirk douglas 2
Kirk Douglas … Role 2
The Man from Snowy River tom burlinson
Tom Burlinson
The Man from Snowy River Sigrid Thornton
Sigrid Thornton
The Man from Snowy River thornton and burlinson
Thornton and Burlinson

Dusters Down Under: Part 8: The Man from Snowy River: Part 1

The Man from Snowy River

Between my work schedule I’m trying to get something done here daily basis – but I’m losing ground.

But I ran into another interesting snag. Remember that I said that when you dig around a bit Down Under you never know what you might uncover. it’s a bit like flipping a rock over and finding a gold nugget underneath. Lots of nuggets. Such is the case with the The Man from Snowy River. It has lots of nuggets – that I just can’t brush by.

For example:

– Did you know that story of The Man from Snowy River is based on a poem by a guy named A. B. Paterson?
– And that A. B. Paterson also wrote Waltzing Matilda? – the ‘Unofficial Anthem of Australia?’
– Did you know that The Man from Snowy River seems to have been a real person?
– Did you know that Australians have it’s their rodeos and authentic Western style culture? – very similar – if not identical to rodeos in the US and Canada? Yet not a copycat.


So the first part of Snowy River is about this guy called to A. B. Paterson.

A B Paterson

“Banjo” is a writing pseudonym that Paterson chose for himself – named after a horse of his.

A B Paterson The Man from Snowy River

A B Paterson statue
One of several statues of A B Paterson .. an important man in Aussie History.

What we will ultimately – and clearly – discover in The Man from Snowy RiverNed Kelly and Mad Dog Morgan (and others) is that Australia has it’s own authentic, genuine and distinct Western style traditions and culture.
In that sense Quigley Down Under is a bit of a Wanna Be Western whereby an American is imported to Australia to make a Western  – a good movie, but completely unnecessary really. Australia has it’s own thing going – and as of yet not yet fully explored or exploited.

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A B Paterson Snowy River

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Australia Map

Snowy River map

The Man From Snowy River by A.B. Paterson (1890)

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses – he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.
There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up-
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.
And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony – three parts thoroughbred at least –
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t say die –
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.
But so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, “That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop-lad, you’d better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.”
So he waited sad and wistful – only Clancy stood his friend –
“I think we ought to let him come,” he said;
“I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.”
“He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.”
So he went – they found the horses by the big mimosa clump –
They raced away towards the mountain’s brow,
And the old man gave his orders, “Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.”
So Clancy rode to wheel them – he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.
Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their sway,
Were mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, “We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side.”
When they reached the mountain’s summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.
He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat –
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.
He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.
And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound in their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.
And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.