The Australian version of the American cowboy is known as a stockman. Stockmen are responsible for the wellbeing of livestock on enormous pastoral properties. They care for the animals, treat their illnesses and vaccinate them, brand and tag them, weigh and feed them, muster and drove them, and deal with any predators that may threaten the stock.
Mounted stockmen became familiar figures on the Australian landscape after white settlers discovered rolling country west of the Blue Mountains in 1813. These early stockmen were instrumental in opening up the untamed wilderness of inland Australia as they drove their livestock through the bush.
With their intimate knowledge of the country, Australian Aborigines were also good stockmen. They played a key role in the development of the cattle industry in many regions.
The Australian stockman was known as a courageous and highly skilled rider, at one with his horse and always ready to take on man or beast. Despite being gone for weeks or months on end, the stockman packed lightly – a ‘billy’ for his tea, a ‘swag’ for his bed, and his saddle for a pillow.
Battling the elements and living off the land, the stockmen’s adventures inspired famous bush poets like Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, and left city folk in awe of this tough-as-nails character. The stockman’s iconic status in Australian culture and tradition was recognised with the opening in 1988 of The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre in Longreach, Queensland.
|DO THESE TERMS ALSO MEAN “STOCKMAN”?
- Ringer – alternative name for a stockman used primarily in the Top End of Northern Australia.
- Drover – typically an experienced stockman who transports sheep or cattle ‘on the hoof’ over long distances.
- Grazier or Cattleman – landowner who owns and runs a livestock business.
- Station Hand – a ‘jack of all trades’ involved in routine station duties.
- Jackaroo & Jillaroo – young male or female version of a station hand in training for a more senior role.
The Land Down Under – Australian Stockman
The third release in the 2014 The Land Down Under collector series pays tribute to the legendary Australian Stockman. Presented in clear Australia map-shaped latex cases, no more than 1,000 1/4oz gold coins and 5,000 1oz silver coins will be released.
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